Bureau of Economic Geology

William A. Ambrose

William Ambrose
Senior Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin
University Station, Box X
Austin, Texas 78713-8924

My research interests are focused on clastic sedimentology, stratigraphy, reservoir characterization, with additional interests in coal resources and astrogeology. As principal investigator of the STARR (State of Texas Advanced Oil and GAS Resource Recovery) Program at the Bureau of Economic Geology, I work with a variety of geoscientists representing a broad spectrum of capabilities. Our mission in the STARR program is to increase severance tax income for the State of Texas by means of research projects that promote the drilling of profitable oil and gas wells in the State. We provide assistance and advice to numerous operators on optimal development strategies, appropriate well-log suites, styles of reservoir heterogeneity and their effects on oil and gas recovery, and evaluation of exploration targets as well as regional geology and unconventional resources.

I am also co-principal investigator, along with Shirley Dutton, of BEG’s Deep Shelf Gas Program, which is dedicated to understanding facies and diagenesis controls on reservoir quality in deeply buried (commonly >10,000-ft) sandstone beds in the Gulf of Mexico.

My recent publications include a review of tidal depositional systems in low-permeability Pennsylvanian reservoirs in the Anadarko Basin, facies and diagenesis controls on reservoir quality in the onshore Tuscaloosa Trend in eastern Louisiana, and the potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the Woodbine Group in the East Texas Basin.

I continue to pursue my interests in coal resources as chair of the coal committee for the Energy Minerals Division (EMD) of AAPG, and am a former co-chair of the AAPG Astrogeology Committee, having served as co-editor of AAPG Memoir 101 “Energy Resources for Human Settlement in the Solar System and Earth’s Future in Space.”

Research Interests


Reservoir characterization and play analysis

Unconventional Energy Resources

Planetary Geology


B.S. Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1979

M.A. Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1983

Professional History

Research Geologist, Research Planning Institute of Texas, 1984–1986

Selected Publications

Ambrose, W. A., Potter, E. C., and Briceno, R., 2008, An "unconventional" future for natural gas in the United States, Geotimes, v. 53, no. 2, p. 37–41.

Ambrose, W. A., 2008, Origin, distribution, and chronostratigraphy of asymmetric secondary craters associated with nearside lunar basins: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIX, 1019.

Ambrose, W. A., Lakshminarasimhan, Srivatsan, Nuñez López, Vanessa, Hovorka, S. D., and Duncan, I. J., 2008, Geologic factors controlling CO2 storage capacity and permanence: case studies based on experience with heterogeneity in oil and gas reservoirs applied to CO2 storage: Environmental Geology: Springer-Verlag, v. 54, p. 1619-1633.

Ambrose, W. A., and Ayers, W. B., Jr., 2007, Geologic controls on transgressive-regressive cycles in the upper Pictured Cliffs Sandstone and coal geometry in the lower Fruitland Formation, Northern San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 91, no. 8, p. 1099–1122.

Ambrose, W. A., Wawrzyniec, T. F., Fouad, Khaled, Sakurai, Shinichi, Jennette, D. C., Brown, L. F., Jr., Guevara, E. H., Dunlap, D. B., Talukdar, S. C., Aranda-García, Mario, Hernandez Romano, Ulises, Alvarado Vega, Juan, Macias Zamora, Eduardo, Ruiz-Ruiz, Héctor, and Cárdenas-Hernández, Ramón, 2005, Neogene tectonic, stratigraphic, and play framework of the southern Laguna Madre-Tuxpan continental shelf, Gulf of Mexico: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 89, no. 6, p. 725–751.

Ambrose, W. A., Wawrzyniec, T. F., Fouad, Khaled, Talukdar, S. C., Jones, R. H., Jennette, D. C., Holtz, M. H., Sakurai, Shinichi, Dutton, S. P., Dunlap, D. B., Guevara, E. H., Meneses-Rocha, J., Lugo-Rivera, J. E., Aguilera, L., Berlanga, J., Miranda, L., Ruiz Morales, José, Rojas, R., and Solís, H., 2003, Geologic framework of upper Miocene and Pliocene gas plays of the Macuspana Basin, southeastern Mexico: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 87, no. 9, p. 1411–1435.

Ambrose, W. A., Mendez, Milton, Akhter, M. S., Fisher, R. S., Alvarez, Regulo, Wang, F. P., Skolnakorn, Jirapa, and Baghai, Nina, 1998, Geologic controls on reservoir architecture and hydrocarbon distribution in Miocene shoreface, fluvial, and deltaic deposits in the Mioceno Norte Area, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology Report of Investigations No. 252, 61 p.

Selected Committees

President, Energy Minerals Division, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2006–2007.

Co Chair, Astrogeology Committee, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2007-2008.

Gulf Coast Councilor, Energy Minerals Division, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2003–2005.


President’s Certificate of Excellence in Presentation (Second Best Oral Presentation), Energy Minerals Division of AAPG, “Near- to Mid-Term Energy Mineral Sources: Bridging the Future to Alternative Energy”, 2007.

First Place Best Paper and A. I. Levorsen Memorial Awards, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, “Miocene valley-fill, slope, and submarine-canyon systems in the Laguna Madre-Tuxpan area, Mexico”, 2004.

Best Presentation, Houston Geological Society International Series, “Upper Miocene and Pliocene Gas and Oil Plays in the Macuspana Basin, Southeastern Mexico”, 2004.