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Rob Merritt

Best Innovators


Rob Merritt, Manager of Geoscience Information at Total E&P USA



Robert Merritt obtained a Bachelors of Science in Geology at the University of Kansas before pursuing a Master in Structural Geology at the University of Texas.  His thesis was on the “Structure of the Ceballos Meurto Mountains of Big Bend National Park, Texas”. He has been involved as a manager in the information domain for Elf and then Total since 1984.  Prior to that, he worked in this field at Exxon and the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas.


In the early days of his career, Robert Merritt managed multiple information-related departments including, Drafting, Filing, Database and Mapping.  He is a specialist in mapping with more than 40 years of experience, starting with hand-drawn maps and progressing through every major mapping and CAD technology to geographic information systems, now with a particular expertise in ArcGIS.   He is recognized as an expert in oil and gas industry data sources, and has had a hand in the design and development of a number of successful commercial systems.


Because of this expertise he was seconded to the POSC Project (now Energetics) where he tasked with creating and loading the first test dataset for the POSC database. In the last few years, Robert has focused on “force multiplier” projects, designed to allow understaffed information support teams to solve issues related to the ever growing volume of digital data.






  • Illustrating the broad scope of Rob’s expertise, Robert Merritt was tasked, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans with the responsibility to develop a Hurricane Response Plan for the Affiliate.  Over the years, he has worked with HSE to integrate and expand this plan, through two major hurricane events, multiple smaller storms and more than a dozen drills.  Today, Rob’s permanent role is Hurricane Watch Commander, responsible for pre-season planning, daily monitoring and briefing of the tropical weather conditions during the season, and advising management of the proper course of action in case of an event.  He also plays an important dual roles in the Affiliate’s Oil Spill Response team as Document Unit Coordinator and GIS Coordinator.
  • Rob designed and oversaw the creation of the Tsearch Tool, which is designed to allow efficient searching of the contents of disorganized network drives.  It is particularly valuable for locating information in legacy directories of departments or organizations that no longer exist, or new data collections obtained as part of asset acquisition.  This system was submitted for a Patent in the US.
  • Rob received recognition for his contribution as part of the Smart Predictive Analytics (SPA) team which won the award for most innovative E&P project in 2017.  SPA takes data from existing shale gas wells to identify future production trends, processing that data using artificial intelligence algorithms, to allow better prediction of the performance of new wells.




  • W.R. Muehlberger and R W Merritt, Notes on the Pull-Apart Grabens near Bouquillas Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas.  Guidebook of the West Texas Geologic Society, October, 1985.
  • Douglas Zahniser, R W Merritt, C K Chan, Project Evaluates POSC Specification for Infill Drilling, Oil & Gas Journal, 1994, Vol. 92, No. 20, pp 29-31.
  • In addition, Rob has been thanked by name in numerous publications and presentations over the years for his contribution as an illustrator and more recently as a mentor in the field of information science.

Best Innovators

SPA: Improve Production Forecasting for our Wells