Alexei Milkov

Professor, Geology and Geological Engineering
Director, Potential Gas Agency

Alexei Milikov


  • Ph.D., 2001, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
  • M.Sc., 1998, Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
  • B.Sc., 1996, Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia


Research Interests

My research interests are in exploration geoscience, petroleum geochemistry, basin modeling and geological emissions of methane (mud volcanoes, seeps). I study conventional as well as unconventional oil & gas resources (shale gas/oil, coal bed methane, gas hydrates). I enjoy working at the intersection of geology with other disciplines such as chemistry, microbiology, statistics, engineering, economics, psychology and behavioral sciences.

My Google Scholar Page



GEOL 575: Petroleum Systems Analysis (Fall Semesters)
GEOL 565: Risks and Volumes Assessment for Conventional and Unconventional Prospects and Plays (Spring Semesters)


Work Experience

  • 2016-present: Professor and Director, Potential Gas Agency, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO.
  • 2015: Exploration Manager, New Ventures, Murphy Oil, Houston, TX.
  • 2012-2014: Senior Manager Exploration Technical, Sasol Upstream Oil and Gas, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 2003-2012: Geoscientist (Petroleum Systems Analyst) and Manager, BP, Houston, TX and Moscow, Russia.
  • 2002-2003: Postdoctoral Scholar, Deep Ocean Exploration Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA.
  • 2001-2002: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.
  • 1998-2001: Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.
  • 1995-1998: Research Assistant, All-Russia Research Institute for Geology and Mineral Resources of World Ocean (VNIIOkeangeologia), Saint-Petersburg, Russia.


Awards and Honors

  • Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award (2021) from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).
  • J. C. “Cam” Sproule Memorial Award (2012) from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).
  • Pieter Schenck Award (2011) from the European Association of Organic Geochemists (EAOG).
  • Medal and Certificate of Excellence (2005) from The Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers (London, UK).
  • Gordon I. Atwater Best Poster Award (2002) from the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) and the Gulf Coast Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (GCSSEPM), co-author.

Selected Publications


  • Thornton, B.F., G. Etiope, S. Schwietzke, A.V. Milkov, R.W. Klusman, A. Judd, D.Z. Oehler (2021) Conflicting estimates of natural geologic methane emissions. Elementa: Science of Anthropocene, v. 9(1), 00031.
  • Shelton, J., A.M. Jubb, S.W. Saxe, E.D. Attanasi, A.V. Milkov, M. Engle, P.A. Freeman, C.A. Shaffer, M.S. Blondes (2021) Machine learning can assign geologic basin to produced water samples using major ion geochemistry. Natural Resources Research, v. 30, pp. 4147-4163.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2021) New approaches to distinguish shale-sourced and coal-sourced gases in petroleum systems. Organic Geochemistry, v. 158, 104271.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2021) Reporting the expected exploration outcome: When, why and how the probability of geological success and success-case volumes for the well differ from those for the prospect. Journal of Petroleum Science & Engineering, v. 204, 108754.
  • Zhu, G., Milkov, A.V., Li, J., Xue, N., Chen, Y., Hu, J., Li, T., Zhang, Z., Chen, Z. (2021) Deepest oil in Asia: Characteristics of petroleum system in the Tarim basin, China. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, v. 199, 108246.
  • Snodgrass, J.E. and A.V. Milkov (2020) Web-based machine learning tool that determines the origin of natural gases. Computers & Geosciences, v. 145, 104595.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2020) Forecasting abilities of individual petroleum explorers: Preliminary findings from crowdsourced prospect assessments. Journal of Petroleum Geology, v. 43(4), pp. 383-400.
  • Samis, J.M. and A.V. Milkov (2020) Breathing new life into postmortem analysis: Identification of key failure modes for conventional petroleum segments offshore New Zealand. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 122, 104618.
  • Wang, M., G. Zhu, A.V. Milkov, L. Chi (2020) Comprehensive molecular compositions and origins of DB301 crude oil from deep strata, Tarim Basin, China. Energy & Fuels, v. 34, pp. 6799-6810.
  • Milkov, A.V., M. Faiz, and G. Etiope (2020) Geochemistry of shale gases from around the world: composition, origins, isotope reversals and rollovers, and implications for the exploration of shale plays. Organic Geochemistry, 103997.
  • Milkov, A.V., S. Schwietzke, G. Allen, O.A. Sherwood, and G. Etiope (2020) Using global isotopic data to constrain the role of shale gas production in recent increases in atmospheric methane. Scientific Reports, v. 10, 4199.
  • Milkov, A.V. and J.M. Samis (2020) Turning dry holes from disasters to exploration wisdom: Decision tree to determine the key failure mode for segments in conventional petroleum prospects. AAPG Bulletin, v. 104, pp. 449-475.
  • Milkov, A.V. and W.C. Navidi (2020) Randomness, serendipity and luck in petroleum exploration. AAPG Bulletin, v. 104, pp. 145-176.
  • Bulguroglu, M.E. and A.V. Milkov (2020) Thickness matters: Influence of dolerite sills on the thermal maturity of surrounding rocks in a coal bed methane play in Botswana. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 111, pp 219-229..
  • Zhu, G., A.V. Milkov, C. Sun, Z. Zhang, F. Chen, J. Han, Y. Zhu (2019) Formation and preservation of a giant petroleum accumulation in super-deep carbonate reservoirs in the southern Halahatang oil field area, Tarim Basin, China. AAPG Bulletin, v. 103, pp. 1703-1743.
  • Zhu, G., Z. Zhang, A.V. Milkov, X. Zhou, H. Yang, J. Han (2019) Diamondoids as tracers of late gas charge in oil reservoirs: Example from the Tazhong area, Tarim Basin, China. FUEL, v. 253, pp. 998-1017.
  • Milkov, A.V. and G. Etiope (2018) Revised genetic diagrams for natural gases based on a global dataset of >20,000 samples. Organic Geochemistry, v. 125, pp. 109-120.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2018) Secondary microbial gas. In: Wilkes, H. (eds) Hydrocarbons, Oils and Lipids: Diversity, Origin, Chemistry and Fate. Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology. Springer, Cham, pp. 1-10.
  • Zhu, G., A.V. Milkov, F. Chen, N. Weng, Z. Zhang, H. Yang, K. Liu, Y. Zhu (2018) Non-cracked oil in ultra-deep high-temperature reservoirs in the Tarim basin, China. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 89, pp. 252-262.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2017) Integrate instead of ignoring: Base rate neglect as a common fallacy of petroleum explorers. AAPG Bulletin, v, 101, no. 12, pp. 1905-1916.
  • Loegering, M. and A.V. Milkov (2017) Geochemistry of petroleum gases and liquids from the Inhassoro, Pande and Temane fields onshore Mozambique. Geosciences, v. 7, 33.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2015) Risk tables for less biased and more consistent estimation of probability of geological success (PoS) for segments with conventional oil and gas prospective resources. Earth-Science Reviews, v. 150, pp. 453–476.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2011) Worldwide distribution and significance of secondary microbial methane formed during petroleum biodegradation in conventional reservoirs. Organic Geochemistry, v. 42, pp. 184-207.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2010) Methanogenic biodegradation of petroleum in the West Siberian basin (Russia): Significance for formation of giant Cenomanian gas pools. AAPG Bulletin, v. 94, pp. 1485–1541.
  • Etiope G., A. Feyzullayev, A.V. Milkov, A. Waseda, K. Mizobe, C.H. Sun (2009) Evidence of subsurface anaerobic biodegradation of hydrocarbons and potential secondary methanogenesis in terrestrial mud volcanoes. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 26, pp. 1692-1703.
  • Etiope, G., A.V. Milkov, and E. Derbyshire (2008) Did geologic emissions of methane play any role in Quaternary climate change? Global and Planetary Change, v. 61, pp. 79-88.
  • Milkov, A.V., E. Goebel, L. Dzou, D.A. Fisher, A. Kutch, N. McCaslin, and D. Bergman (2007) Compartmentalization and time-lapse geochemical reservoir surveillance of the Horn Mountain oil field, deep-water Gulf of Mexico. AAPG Bulletin, v. 91, no. 6, pp. 847-876.
  • Milkov, A.V. and L. Dzou (2007) Geochemical evidence of secondary microbial methane from very slight biodegradation of undersaturated oil in a deep hot reservoir. Geology, v. 35, pp. 455-458.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2005) Molecular and stable isotope composition of natural gas hydrates: A revised global dataset and basic interpretations in the context of geological settings. Organic Geochemistry, v. 36 (5), pp. 681-702.
  • Milkov, A.V., G.E. Claypool, Y.-J. Lee, and R. Sassen (2005) Gas hydrate systems at Hydrate Ridge offshore Oregon inferred from molecular and isotopic properties of hydrate-bound and void gases. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 69 (4), pp. 1007-1026.
  • Etiope, G. and A.V. Milkov (2004) A new estimate of global methane flux from onshore and shallow submarine mud volcanoes to the atmosphere. Environmental Geology, v. 46, pp. 997-1002.
  • Milkov, A.V., G.E. Claypool, Y.-J. Lee, M.E. Torres, W.S. Borowski, H. Tomaru, R. Sassen, P.E. Long, and ODP Leg 204 Scientific Party (2004) Ethane enrichment and propane depletion in subsurface gases indicate gas hydrate occurrence in marine sediments at southern Hydrate Ridge offshore Oregon. Organic Geochemistry, v. 35 (9), pp. 1067-1080.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2004) Global estimates of hydrate-bound gas in marine sediments: How much is really out there? Earth Science Reviews, v. 66 (3-4), pp. 183-197.
  • Etiope, G., A. Feyzullayev, C.L. Baciu, and A.V. Milkov (2004) Methane emission from mud volcanoes in eastern Azerbaijan. Geology, v. 32 (6), pp. 465-468.
  • Tréhu, A.M., P.E. Long, M.E. Torres, G. Bohrmann, F.R. Rack, T.S. Collett, D.S. Goldberg, A.V. Milkov, M. Riedel, P. Schultheiss, N.L. Bangs, S.R. Barr, W.S. Borowski, G.E. Claypool, M.E. Delwiche, G.R. Dickens, E. Gracia, G. Guerin, M. Holland, J.E. Johnson, Y-J. Lee, C-S. Liu, X. Su, B. Teichert, H. Tomaru, M. Vanneste, M. Watanabe, and J.L. Weinberger (2004) Three-dimensional distribution of gas hydrate beneath southern Hydrate Ridge: constraints from ODP Leg 204. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 222 (3-4), pp. 845-862.
  • Milkov, A.V., G.R. Dickens, G.E. Claypool, Y.-J. Lee, W.S. Borowski, M.E. Torres, W. Xu, H. Tomaru, A.M. Tréhu, and P. Schultheiss (2004) Co-existence of gas hydrate, free gas, and brine within the regional gas hydrate stability zone at the southern summit of Hydrate Ridge (Oregon margin): Evidence from prolonged degassing of a pressurized core. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 222 (3-4), pp. 829-843.
  • Sassen, R., H.H. Roberts, R. Carney, A.V. Milkov, D.A. DeFreitas, B. Lanoil, and C. Zhang (2004) Free hydrocarbon gas, gas hydrate, and authigenic minerals in chemosynthetic communities of the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope: relation to microbial processes. Chemical Geology, v. 205 (3/4), pp. 195-217.
  • Milkov, A.V., P.R. Vogt, K. Crane, A.Yu. Lein, R. Sassen, and G.A. Cherkashev (2004) Geological, geochemical, and microbial processes at the hydrate-bearing Håkon Mosby mud volcano: a review. Chemical Geology, v. 205 (3/4), pp. 347-366.
  • Milkov, A.V., G.E. Claypool, Y.-J. Lee, G.R. Dickens, W. Xu, W.S. Borowski, and the ODP Leg 204 Scientific Party (2003) In situ methane concentrations at Hydrate Ridge offshore Oregon: new constraints on the global gas hydrate inventory from an active margin. Geology, v. 31, pp. 833-836.
  • Sassen, R., A.V. Milkov, E. Ozgul, H.H. Roberts, J. Hunt, M.A. Beeunas, S.T. Sweet, and D.A. DeFreitas (2003) Gas venting and subsurface charge in the Green Canyon area, Gulf of Mexico continental slope: Evidence of a deep bacterial methane source. Organic Geochemistry, v. 34, pp. 1455-1464.
  • Milkov, A.V. and R. Sassen (2003) Preliminary assessment of resources and economic potential of individual gas hydrate accumulations in the Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 20, pp. 111-128.
  • Holland, C., G. Etiope, A.V. Milkov, E. Michelozzi, and P. Favali (2003) Mud volcanoes discovered offshore Sicily. Marine Geology, v. 199, pp. 1-6.
  • Sassen, R., A.V. Milkov, H.H. Roberts, S.T. Sweet, and D.A. DeFreitas (2003) Geochemical evidence of rapid hydrocarbon venting from a seafloor-piercing mud diapir, Gulf of Mexico continental shelf. Marine Geology, v. 198, pp. 319-329.
  • Milkov, A.V., R. Sassen, T.V. Apanasovich, and F.G. Dadashev (2003) Global gas flux from mud volcanoes: a significant source of fossil methane in the atmosphere and the ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 30 (2), 1037, doi: 10.1029/2002GL016358.
  • Milkov, A.V. and R. Sassen (2003) Two-dimensional modeling of gas hydrate decomposition in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico: Significance to global change assessment. Global and Planetary Change, v. 36, pp. 31-46.
  • Milkov, A.V. and R. Sassen (2002) Economic geology of offshore gas hydrate accumulations and provinces. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 19, pp. 1-11.
  • Milkov, A.V. and R. Sassen (2001) Estimate of gas hydrate resource, northwestern Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Marine Geology, v. 179, pp. 71-83.
  • Sassen, R., S.T. Sweet, D.A. DeFreitas, J.A. Morelos, and A.V. Milkov (2001) Gas hydrate and crude oil from the Mississippi Fan Foldbelt, downdip Gulf of Mexico Salt Basin: Significance to petroleum system. Organic Geochemistry, v. 32, pp. 999-1008.
  • Sassen, R., S. Losh, L. Cathles, H. Roberts, J.K. Whelan, A.V. Milkov, S.T. Sweet, and D.A. DeFreitas (2001) Massive vein-filling gas hydrate: Relation to ongoing gas migration from the deep subsurface Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 18, pp. 551-560.
  • Sassen, R., S.T. Sweet, A.V. Milkov, D.A. DeFreitas, M.C. Kennicutt II, and H.H. Roberts (2001) Stability of thermogenic gas hydrate in the Gulf of Mexico: Constraints on models of climate change, in C.K. Paull, and W.P. Dillon, Eds., Natural gas hydrates: Occurrence, distribution, and dynamics. AGU Monograph series, v. 124, pp. 131-143.
  • Sassen, R., S.T. Sweet, A.V. Milkov, D.A. DeFreitas, and M.C. Kennicutt II (2001) Thermogenic vent gas and gas hydrate in the Gulf of Mexico slope: Is gas hydrate decomposition significant? Geology, v. 29, pp. 107-110.
  • Milkov, A.V. and R. Sassen (2000) Thickness of the gas hydrate stability zone, Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 17, pp. 981-991.
  • Sassen, R., S.T. Sweet, D.A. DeFreitas, and A.V. Milkov (2000) Exclusion of 2-methylbutane (isopentane) during crystallization of structure II gas hydrate in sea-floor sediment, Gulf of Mexico. Organic Geochemistry, v. 31, pp. 1257-1262.
  • Milkov, A.V. (2000) Worldwide distribution of submarine mud volcanoes and associated gas hydrates. Marine Geology, v. 167, pp. 29-42.
  • Milkov A., P. Vogt, G. Cherkashev, G. Ginsburg, N. Chernova, and A. Andriashev (1999) Sea floor terrains of Haakon Mosby mud volcano as surveyed by deep-tow video and still photography. Geo-Marine Letters, v. 19, pp. 38-47.
  • Ginsburg G.D., A.V. Milkov, V.A. Soloviev, A.V. Egorov, G.A. Cherkashev, P.R. Vogt, K. Crane, T.D. Lorenson, and M.D. Khutorskoy (1999) Gas hydrate accumulation at the Haakon Mosby mud volcano. Geo-Marine Letters, v. 19, pp. 57-67.
  • Sassen R., S. Joye, S.T. Sweet, D.A. DeFreitas, A.V. Milkov, and I.R. MacDonald (1999) Thermogenic gas hydrates and hydrocarbon gases in complex chemosynthetic communities, Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Organic Geochemistry, v. 30, pp. 485-497.


Berthoud Hall 411C