He didn’t know it at the time, but Bobby Goodwin’s engineering career actually began on an aircraft carrier.
He joined the Navy two days after graduating high school in Virginia, and he eventually worked with nuclear mechanics on an aircraft carrier for a year.
“I didn’t always know I wanted to be an engineer – in fact, in school I usually scored higher in English,” says Bobby, who was recently named WPX’s Appalachian Asset Team Director.
“But I really enjoyed working on the mechanical side while I was on board the ship. I would look around and was awed that it was someone’s job to design it all. The thought process behind that really inspired me.”
WPX Energy has 114,000 net acres under lease in the Appalachian Basin – more commonly known as the Marcellus Shale. The company’s record drilling time in the area – to date – is 10.8 days. WPX’s first-quarter Marcellus production of 74 MMcf/d was up 40 percent from the same period a year ago.
Bobby begins his new role in mid-June, which will take him from Tulsa to Pittsburgh. He has been with the company since 2002, most recently as production engineering manager for the San Juan Basin.
Bobby brings management experience in reservoir, production and completions engineering, and he has been a leader in guiding new engineers through WPX’s Engineering Development Program.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch Bobby grow into the fine engineer and leader that he is today,” says Bob Revella, WPX regional vice president.
“Bobby added value immediately when he joined our San Juan Basin operations in 2002 and has been doing so ever since.”
After the Navy, Bobby and his wife moved to Colorado where he was accepted at the Colorado School of Mines to study engineering. He worked full-time while attending classes.
“At first I wanted to go into mechanical or civil engineering, but I chose petroleum engineering because I felt there was more imagination there. The reservoirs are 5,000 or 8,000 or 12,000 feet under the ground, and you don’t always know what’s down there,” he says. “To me, that’s very interesting work.”
After graduation, Bobby’s career began in Farmington, N.M., where he worked for Burlington Resources for five years. In 2002, he joined Williams E&P – now WPX.
He continued to work in the San Juan Basin, where his staff received honors for improving production and lowering operations costs. Oil & Gas Investor magazine recognized these efforts in 2006 with an award for North America’s Best Field Rejuvenation.
“That was a true team effort – we called ourselves the POET team – Production, Optimization and Enhancement Team,” he says. “We were laser-focused on improving production, and we knew that there were systemic changes that could be made to help field operations.”
By alleviating bottlenecks in the system, such as adding additional line looping and compression in key locations, the team helped increase production from 70 million cubic feet a day to 84 million cubic feet a day – a 20 percent improvement.
“Our production just took off with very minimal costs – it was a great experience to be part of that,” he says.
Bobby plans to build on his experiences in the San Juan for his new role in WPX’s Marcellus Shale operations.
“I know it’s growing and there’s still a lot that we want to do. In the near-term, I envision my new position as helping managers, engineers and staff by clearing road blocks and listening to their ideas,” he says.
His new staff can also expect Bobby to be the first one in the office.
“Bobby gained focus in the military, and he is disciplined and self motivated, often arriving at the office at 3 or 4 in the morning,” says Bob Revella.
“I am going to miss seeing him every day in Tulsa. Mostly I’ll miss his sense of humor and his almost daily stops by my office to add a little laughter to the day.”
For Bobby, the opportunity to take on new challenges is part of WPX’s culture.
“I know that at WPX you learn new things every day. I thrive on being able to jump right in to a task and make a meaningful contribution. There is so much potential in the Marcellus that when the position came open, I knew I definitely wanted to be there,” he says.