Michel T. Halbouty, quintessential wildcatter, in his long and distinguished career has drilled or been involved in thousands of wells in his search for oil and gas. Never content unless he has an exploratory well drilling or planned, he is most pleased, of course, when a test results in a discovery but recognizes that dry holes yield information on which to build the next prospect. He has explored and wildcatted in the conterminous U.S. and was the first independent to explore and discover petroleum in Alaska.
Born in 1909, in Beaumont, Texas to immigrant Lebanese parents, his career has spanned almost seven decades. Halbouty’s parents, who were poor, shared the dream of most immigrants that their children would succeed in their adopted homeland. Michel is especially proud of his Horatio Alger Award, bestowed on persons who have “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” to rise above humble beginnings.
Michel Halbouty attended Texas A&M University, where he earned three degrees; a B.S. in geology; a M.S. in geology and petroleum engineering, and a Professional Degree in geological engineering. Several honorary degrees came later, including an honorary Doctor of Engineering from the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, and a Doctor of Geoscience from the USSR Academy of Sciences.
He has been involved in the geology of China for over a quarter of a century. Because of his scientific contributions, he was named Scientific Advisor to the Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development of the People’s Republic of China and an Honorary Professor in Geology at the University of Nanjing. He is also a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
His honors and awards are far too numerous to list in detail. Suffice it to say that he has received the highest awards given by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, and many international awards.
During his term as President of AAPG (1966-67), it was Michel Halbouty who initiated and guided the formation of the AAPG Foundation which now distributes funds for the Grants-in-Aid Program.
The Michel T. Halbouty Memorial Grant are awarded annually to two graduate students studying geology at Texas A&M University through the AAPG Foundation Grants-in-Aid program. It is endowed by the AAPG Foundation through a generous contribution by the late Michel T. Halbouty.