Meet Christoph Kierdorf – petroleum systems analyst at APT

Meet Christoph Kierdorf – petroleum systems analyst at APT

Dr. Christoph Kierdorf is an experienced petroleum systems analysis- and geochemistry specialist. Although only 45 years old, he has nearly 20 years’ experience with organic geochemistry, basin modelling and hydrocarbon exploration.

Christoph holds a PhD from the University of Bremen, and started his career at the University of Cologne, where he studied geology. As a graduate student, he joined the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Germany.

“One of the most interesting things about working at the Alfred Wegener Institute is that I got to participate in an expedition with the research icebreaker Polarstern to the Arctic where I collected samples for my diploma thesis. I participated in further expeditions to collect additional samples which I have investigated during my PhD project,” he tells.

Christoph has remained adventurous throughout his career and is what you can call ‘outdoorsy’ –and not just at work.

“I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, snorkeling and a bit of cross-country skiing and sledging. I was always interested in the outdoor environment and how it was formed. Geology is a key to understand that better,” he says.

APT – the vendor of choice

After his studies, Christoph moved to Norway to work for the Norwegian oil company Statoil (now Equinor). He would soon get to know APT as a client and stayed in touch with them for many years.

“The first time I heard about APT was when I started to work for Statoil in 2006. I did have a couple of projects with APT, which was the vendor of choice for geochemistry services. I continued to work with them during my time at Maersk Oil, and I finally joined the company two years ago,” he says.

Moving from an operator in the oil and gas industry and into the role as a consultant and advisor, Christoph is happy to be able to work closely with other experts within his field.

“APT has long been seen as providing high-quality services in geochemistry, basin modelling and biostratigraphy, so it was really exciting to get the opportunity to start working with them when I relocated to Norway back in 2020.”

The end of exploration?

In recent years, there has been much talk about the need to move on from oil and gas and onto renewable energy sources.

“In general, the appetite for frontier exploration seems to be less than a couple of years ago. Exploration near existing infrastructure and appraisal drilling gets much more important. Although there is an understandable drive towards renewable energy sources, the world needs to explore for oil and gas in the years to come,” he says.

Here, Christoph believes petroleum geochemistry can make a difference.

“Organic geochemistry and petroleum systems analysis can help to better risk prospects pre-drill and to understand new discoveries and place them into context. The methods are low cost and they can add significant insights to projects.”

Working for operators allowed Christoph to learn about and work with projects of the entire E&P lifecycle – from area screening to production.

“I believe this knowledge is a big advantage when working as a consultant for oil companies as one is familiar with the internal processes and requirements in bigger corporations,” he says.

Ever curious

According to Christoph, being a petroleum system analyst is something that requires constant learning.

“Petroleum systems analysis combines all the individual subsurface disciplines, like seismic interpretation, geophysics, petroleum geology, sedimentology, petrophysics, petroleum geochemistry, structural geology, etc., and as no one can be an expert in all you need to apply relevant information and learn new aspects for each project.”

However, it turns out that Christoph likes to explore more than just sub-surfaces – he also enjoys researching new options in the food department.

“I would consider myself a foodie. For me, being a foodie is about being interested in local food products, rather than going out for dinner to a fancy restaurant. However, I have some favorite places, and particularly enjoy street food places like Vippa here in Oslo.”

Even when Christoph speaks about food, it clear that his curiosity and eagerness for constant learning runs deep in his DNA.

“I always try to bring home local honey from the places I visit. Did you know that you can get honey almost everywhere in the world and it always taste different reflecting the natural habitat from the area it comes from?”