Elected in 1994
“For development of stimulation materials and techniques to increase oil and gas production.”
BY ROBERT S. SCHECHTER, LARRY W. LAKE, AND HENRY H. RACHFORD, JR.
JOHN L. GIDLEY—a creative engineer, a scientist, a man of great integrity, and a beloved family man—died on March 30, 2009, in Houston, Texas. He will be missed by all who frequently sought his wise counsel.
John was born December 30, 1924, in Lytle, Texas, a small town 25 miles southwest of San Antonio. He graduated from Lytle High School as valedictorian in 1942. After one year at Texas A&M University, he served two and one-half years in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying B-17s, B-24s, and B-29s as pilot or co-pilot. After the war he completed his education at the University of Texas in Austin, receiving B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering. He was truly grateful for the education he received as a result of the G.I. Bill.
After his formal education John joined the research staff of the Humble (now Exxon-Mobil) Production Research Company in December 1954. He began his research on acidizing processes, which are oil and gas well stimulation techniques. These are designed to create flow paths through the rock surrounding a well bore drilled into a subterranean formation containing hydrocarbons. It was Herman Frasch, inventor of the method of producing sulfur by introducing hot water into sulfur-bearing formations, who first used acid to stimulate the production of oil and gas around 1900. Gidley