The Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award is given in recognition of distinguished and outstanding achievement in exploration for petroleum or mineral resources, by members who have shown a consistent pattern of exploratory success, with an intended emphasis on recent discovery.



Terry J. Mather


Richard Kelty Stoneburner


Hans Christen Ronnevik


Orion Lea Skinner


William A. Zagorski


Dan Allen Hughes


Douglas Kevin Strickland


Larry D. Bartell

James Denny Bartell

John J. Amoruso


Michael Sam Johnson


Dudley Joe Hughes


Dan Brent Steward


Richard Lee Findley


John Patterson Lockridge


Clayton Howard Riddell


William J. Barrett


Richard Walter Beardsley


Recipient must be a Member of the Association; must be living at the time of selection; currently engaged in exploration and willing to be present to accept the award. Discovery may have occurred at any time in the nominee’s career. The intended emphasis is on relatively recent discoveries (within the past 15 years). Only one award may be given per year.

Guidelines for Consideration of Candidates

Candidates for the Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award shall be individual explorers or leaders of teams who have:

  • discovered a significant petroleum or mineral resource, or
  • caused a significant petroleum or mineral resource to be developed, or
  • created a new significant play to be developed in a new or mature basin, or
  • caused a new petroleum or mineral resource province to be opened up, or
  • been a part of a team discovering a significant petroleum or mineral resource, or
  • accomplished earth science exploration which can be demonstrated to be responsible for the discovery of a significant petroleum or mineral resource.

Recommendation for who should get the award:

  • Individual for single discovery
  • Leader of a group for single discovery
  • Leader of a proven exploration team with significant discoveries
  • Not be given to companies or organizations

The award may be shared by an exploration team of individuals, but shall not be given to companies or organizations. The “team” may be a multi year team where original team members have gone on to other projects.

An explorer who causes a play to be developed or field to be discovered through the use of new technology will be eligible for the award. Consider only when there is a demonstrated direct connection between exploration/technology and a significant discovery by same explorer or team.

Present the award to the leader (or an outstanding member) of a team, who is an AAPG member and present a certificate to the rest of the team members acknowledging their contribution to the discovery. Consideration can be given (by the AC at the time of selection) as to what to do with the presence of a non- member. If the non-member is not a Petroleum Geologist it should not be a problem.

Many important resource development areas may have been previously drilled but may have been unrecognized or uneconomic or inaccessible for a variety of reasons. Thus, the award may be given for “rediscovering” and being the driving force in the development of these types of projects.

The term “significant discoveries” recognizes both relative and absolute size of a discovery. “Significant discoveries” in a mature basin may be large finds in the relative sense, whereas “significant discoveries” in an immature basin may be large in the absolute sense. In both cases, the discovery should affect what other explorers do in terms of where and how they explore. Examples are opening a new play or basin; developing/demonstrating the effectiveness of a new exploration technology; or demonstrating an original exploration strategy.

Procedure for Recommendation

Nominations for the Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award should be submitted, along with documentation, to the Chairman of the Honors and Awards Committee at Association Headquarters. The recommendations of the Committee will be submitted to the Advisory Council who will submit their selection to the Executive Committee for final action.

Description of Award

The award will resemble a standing figure of a geologist on a base. The base will have a plate inscribed with the words, “Awarded for Outstanding Exploration”, along with the name of the recipient. The award will be presented with a certificate describing the recipient’s exploration successes.

Awards for team members will be a certificate with a likeness of the standing figure.


The award was created in 2000, and amended in 2002, 2006 and 2008 by Executive Committee action. In 2011 the name of the award was changed from the Outstanding Explorer Award to the Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award.


The AAPG provides funding for the Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award.

Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award
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