Rest in Peace and thank you for what you gave.

March 27, 1954 - April 4, 2018

Buffalo-born geologist Paul M. Basinski has been called "one of the pioneers of fracking" or "one of the fathers of fracking" in news articles and energy industry publications.

One article called him the "mastermind" of the biggest fracking project in Texas history, the discovery of the Eagle Ford oil basin, which was one of the richest oil fields in the world.

According to family members, he was proud of his involvement with the fracking industry, but he also loved the outdoors and did everything he could to minimize the impact that his projects had on the environment.

"Paul once told me, 'Yes, I'm an oil man. But I try to do fracking the right way,' " remembered Thomas Basinski of Getzville, one of his three brothers. "He loved fly fishing, loved hiking, loved kayaking and whitewater rafting. He loved everything about the outdoors. He told me that if you dug a well the right way, if you did the cement work exactly the right way, you could limit the risk to the environment. Keeping the risk to the lowest possible level was important to him."

Mr. Basinski, a Houston resident, died April 4 in a Houston hospital, never regaining consciousness after a heart transplant. He was 64 and had battled heart trouble for years.

While many environmentalists decry fracking as a dangerous process that can cause water pollution, air pollution and climate change, his wife, Rene Basinski, said Mr. Basinski was a strong believer that the fracking industry is America's best hope to end its dependence on oil suppliers from other countries.

"His biggest project was the Eagle Ford oil basin in Texas. Paul was very proud of all the jobs and entrepreneurship that fracking brought to a part of Texas that was on a very serious downslope," Rene Basinski said.

He was a former Town of Tonawanda resident who graduated in 1972 from Sweet Home High School, where he was known to friends as "Buzzy." He was a fun-loving student who was a top performer on the swim team and was fascinated by physics, geology and other scientific studies. In 1976, he graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo's School of Geology.

He earned a master's degree in geology from the University of Nevada, and then embarked on a career in oil and gas exploration that took him all over the world. He worked for companies in Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, which led him to spend the last 25 years of his life in Houston.

But he always visited family in the Buffalo area once or twice a year, and often gave presentations to geology students at UB.

Mr. Basinski had most recently worked with a company called Burgundy Xploration, where he was the founder and chief executive officer. His last project was called "Operation Icewine," a huge effort in Alaska to begin fracking in a 700,000-acre site inside the Arctic Circle.

If the Alaska project was a success, Mr. Basinski planned to donate most of the proceeds to charity, his wife said.

"Paul did not care about money for himself," she said. "He believed in helping people. If this Alaska project is a success, I will be starting a charitable foundation in Paul's name, and that is where most of the money will go."

His brother said Mr. Basinski was an adventurer who never lost his enthusiasm for science and the outdoors.

"Paul was a true force of nature. His whole life was a high-wire act," Thomas Basinski said. "In a lot of ways, he was a hooligan and an adventurer all his life. In his younger days in the Southwest, he'd hop on a train and ride from one state to another, just do see if he could do it. Any time Paul didn’t know the answer to a question, he would study it and learn about it until he found the answer."

Mr. Basinski and his wife of 36 years, the former Rene Schorzman, were enthusiastic supporters and donors to the Houston Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra is giving a special performance in Mr. Basinski's honor on May 20, with a party to follow.

In addition to his wife and brother, Mr. Basinski is survived by two other brothers, John and Philip.



So how did it all begin ?

Petroleum News Vol. 17, No. 46 Week of November 11, 2012

"Paul Basinski of Houston, Texas, took four tracts for $276,709.80, bidding against Great Bear for three of them with a range of prices from $27.54 to $72.54 an acre.
The tracts Basinski took include the site of 2005 coalbed methane test well drilled by the Department of the Interior, the U.S. BLM No. 1 Franklin Bluffs."


Earlier Paul had co-developed “Shale Analysis Methods”, was awarded the COP Technology Award & US Patent #13/099,894, and had absolutely nothing to do with inventing the Internet.

Paul Basinski
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Paul Basinski was key to the discovery of the prolific Eagle Ford shale play.

Extract from LinkedIn
BURGUNDY Xploration, LLC (BEX) was formed to test a dual-objective, liquids-rich supergiant opportunity on the North Slope of Alaska 5 years in the making. In addition to global-class subsurface metrics, Project Icewine is uniquely positioned with year-round infrastructure, immediate access to premium global oil markets, & has historically been subject to State-funded exploration cash rebates up to 85%.

In 2014, BEX joint-ventured with a dual-listed (ASX & AIM), Perth-based junior, 88 Energy (formerly Tangiers Petroleum), and was subsequently high-bidder on an incremental 90,000 acres. Then, in Nov15, after BEX ownership was reconsolidated and new funding was secured via a private offering, the JV was again high-bidder on 174,000 acres. Pending 2Q16 assignment, we will control 425 square miles of oil and gas minerals in what has been recently characterized "…the oiliest place on earth".

Meanwhile, the markets have consistently responded to our offerings with material over-subscription despite depressed Sector valuations. In 2015, a $50MM revolver was secured from Bank of America and we permitted, contracted, cored, and recently TD'd the Icewine #1 exploration well in record Slope time and low spend.

Results from the 4Q15 Icewine #1 pilot have conclusively derisked the HRZ volatile oil play "Achilles Heels" as well as materially increased recoverable resource potential. In 1Q16, a consulting engineering firm attributed one billion barrels of recoverable oil to our leasehold versus an internal assessment that exceeds 2,500 million barrels. Regional 2D seismic acquisition commenced and final processing estimated mid-2016. Preparations underway to drill and production test the Icewine #2H targeting a 1Q17 spud date.

Lastly, the latest capital campaign was again over-subscribed and represented the successful initiation of a strategic pivot to an institutional register (52% participation of the total raise).

The Golden Age of Shale Exploration


Paul's Eagle Ford History



09/02/17 Hotcopper Domum posted Basinski's belief /88E Comments/Potential flow rate

“We’ve got the resource, there’s no doubt about it,” he(Basinski) said.

“The shale plays are extraordinary up here because you’ve got extraordinary (conventional) fields,” he(Basinski) said.
Alaska’s massive conventional plays are a strong indication that shale prospects nearby should be on the same scale, according to Basinski.

“(Producers) are going back to where the oil came from because we’ve been producing about 1 or 2 or 3 percent of the oil that actually made it to the reservoir. The rest of it is still where it started and all you need to do is get very, very fractional recoveries,” Basinski said.

Several secondary but significant characteristics revealed by the first Icewine well bode well for production, according to an 88 Energy presentation.

Icewine contains low viscosity oil under pressure that is 40 percent higher than the normal pressure gradient.

High hydrocarbon saturation and excellent reservoir permeability for a liquids-rich play should also lend to a high well flow rate, which is just as important as variables such as oil price or well cost, according to 88 Energy.


All the initial Ice 1 findings point to decent flow potential, particularly:

  • high pressure gradient
  • low viscosity hydrocarbons
  • reservoir permeability

Not saying it will flow decently, but its interesting that Basinski has gone with the extra acreage if he thought it was still a large risk that it wasnt going to flow, or they couldnt get it to flow with the frack techniques they have today.

His post Ice 1 behaviour has been telling imho. He appears to be much more vocal about Icewines potential on Bex/88e's behalfs post Ice 1 when he was only keen to make hints via educational presentations or THAT initial auction where 88e/Bex bought up acreage via the JV.


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