Stephen A. Sonnenberg

Professor, Geology and Geological Engineering
Charles Boettcher Distinguished Chair in Petroleum Geology

Stephen Sonnenberg


  • Ph.D., 1981, Colorado School of Mines
  • M.S., 1975, Texas A&M University
  • B.S., 1974, Texas A&M University


Research Interests

My research interests are in sequence stratigraphy, tectonic influence on sedimentation, reservoir characterization, unconventional resources and all aspects petroleum traps (e.g., reservoir, trap, seal, migration, source rocks). A complete understanding of a petroleum accumulation can provide an analog to discovering additional oil and gas fields. Much of the world’s future resource lies in unconventional reservoirs (tight sands, CBM, and oil and gas shales).


Work Experience

  • Exxon Company USA
  • Bass Enterprises Production Company
  • North America Resources (sold to Pan Canadian)
  • Pan Canadian Energy Resources (merged with Alberta Energy to form EnCana)
  • EnCana Energy Resources
  • Westport Oil and Gas (merged with Kerr McGee)
  • Kerr McGee Oil and Gas (merged with Anadarko)
  • Anadarko Petroleum


Leadership Positions

  • North American Resources: Team Leader DJ, Green River basins
  • Pan Canadian: Exploration Coordinator/Manager, Rockies
  • EnCana: Team Leader, North Piceance Basin
  • Westport: Exploitation Manager, Northern Rockies
  • Kerr McGee: Exploitation Manager, Northern Rockies
  • Anadarko: Subsurface Manager, Union Pacific Railroad Land Grant

Professional Society Leadership Positions

  • AAPG: President, 2003-04
  • AAPG: Vice President, 1995-96
  • AAPG Division of Professional Affairs: President, 1998-99
  • AAPG Rocky Mountain Section: President, 1993-94
  • Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists: President, 1991
  • Colorado Scientific Society: President, 1992
  • AIPG Colorado Section: President, 1990
  • SEPM, Rocky Mountain Section: President, 1987-88


Teaching Experience

Colorado School of Mines

  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics. Geophysics Field Camp (1992-2000)
  • Integrated Exploration (1992)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor (1982). Advanced Petroleum Geology


Several industry short courses:
Pertamina Oil (Jakarta, Indonesia; teaching one week short courses on: Development Geology, Basin Analysis, Reservoir Geology, Structural Geology Problems, Structural Styles in Petroleum Exploration)


Registrations and Certifications

  • Certified Professional Geologists #6201 (AIPG)
  • Certified Petroleum Geologist #2558 (AAPG)
  • Certified Professional Earth Scientist #2158 (SIPES)
  • Registered Professional Geologist (# 288, State of Wyoming)
  • Registered Professional Geoscientist (# 1284, State of Texas)
  • Licensed Professional Geologist (#5375639-2250, State of Utah)


Professional Society Memberships

  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists
  • Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (Honorary Member)
  • SEPM
  • Geologic Society of America
  • Wyoming Geological Association
  • Houston Geological Society
  • American Institute of Professional Geologists
  • Society of Professional Earth Scientists
  • Colorado Scientific Society (Honorary Member)


Other Organizations


Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association
  • Board of Directors (1990)
  • Secretary (1991-92)
  • Treasurer (1992-93)
  • President Elect (1993-94)
  • President (1994-95)
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
  • Visiting Committee 2002-2004
  • Department Enhancement Committee (2006-P)(Founding member)
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University
  • Advisory Committee 2006-P
Colorado Energy Research Institute, CSM
  • Board member, 2004-P
Colorado School of Mines Foundation
  • Board of Directors (1995-97)
  • Secretary (1996-97)
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
  • Appointed to terms 1997-99 (Gov. Roy Romer) and 1999-03 (Gov. Bill Owens).
  • Served as Chairman of the Commission (1999-03)




  • Young Alumnus Award (1989), Colorado School of Mines Alumni Assoc.
  • Outstanding Alumnus Award (1998), Colorado School of Mines Alumni Assoc.
  • Life Member (1998), Colorado School of Mines Alumni Assoc.
  • Mines Medal (1998), Colorado School of Mines
  • Distinguished Achievement Medal (2001), Geoscience and Earth Resource Council, Texas A&M University
  • Best Paper Award (1985), RMAG Mountain Geologist (2nd Place)
  • Best Paper Award (1988), RMAG Friday Noon Luncheons (Honorable Mention)
  • Best Paper Award (1991), RMAG Friday Noon Luncheons (2nd Place)
  • Distinguished Service Award (1992), RMAG
  • Honorary Member (1996), RMAG
  • 75th Anniversary Special Service Award (1998), RMAG
  • Honorary Member (1993), Colorado Scientific Society
  • 6 Certificates of Merit-AAPG (1994, 2-2001, 2-2002, 2003)
  • Certificate of Appreciation (1997), AAPG
  • Distinguished Service Award (1999), AAPG
  • Distinguished Service Award (2001), DPA-AAPG
  • Geologic Society of America: Fellow 2003

Berthoud Hall 227B
Fax: 303-273-3859