Justin Birdwell

My USGS research involves the following energy-related issues: estimating undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources from U.S. petroleum systems; assessing development potential of oil shale deposits; examining environmental impacts of energy development; applying new methods to the characterization of source rocks and petroleum; and developing geochemical reference materials.


Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, 2007, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Advisor: Louis J. Thibodeaux)
B.S., Chemical Engineering, 2002, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Professional Experience
Nov. 2011 - Present, Research Engineer, US Geological Survey
Oct. 2009 - Oct. 2011, Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Engineer, US Geological Survey
Jan. 2008 - Sept. 2009, Research Associate, Louisiana State University
Aug. 2002 - Dec. 2007, Graduate Student/Research & Teaching Assistant, Louisiana State University

Professional Activities
Membership in Professional Organizations                                      Member since
American Chemical Society (ENVR, GEOC)                                            2003
American Geophysical Union (Geochemistry)                                          2006
Geological Society of America                                                                  2010
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (Active, EMD)                 2010
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists                                               2014
Society for Sedimentary Geology (Associate, RMS)                                 2018

Organization at Professional Meetings and Conferences
- Session Co-Convener, “Advanced Characterization of Geofluids and Geomaterials in Sedimentary Basins”, Goldschmidt Virtual 2020 (June).
- Chair, Technical Review Committee, 35th Oil Shale Symposium (October 2015) in Salt Lake City, UT.
- Co-Chair, 30th through 34th Oil Shale Symposium at the Colorado School of Mines (October, 2010 – 2014).
- Member, Senior Advisory Board, International Oil Shale Symposium (June 2013) – Tallinn, Estonia.
- Co-Chair, Workshop on Principles for Oil Shale Resource Assessment (October 2011) in Golden, CO.
- Session Co-Convener, “Recent advances in the study of environmental mass transport phenomena”, 242nd American Chemical Society Annual Meeting (August 2011) in Denver, CO.
- Session Co-Convener, “Environmental geology of oil shale and tar sands”, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (November 2010) in Denver, CO.

Service to Professional Organizations
AAPG Energy Minerals Division, Tight Oil and Gas Committee, Chair, 2019 – present.
AAPG Energy Minerals Division, Shale Gas and Liquids Committee, Gulf Coast rep., 2019 – present.
Associate Editor, AAPG Bulletin, Jan. 2019 – present.
Associate Editor, The Mountain Geologist (RMAG), Jan. 2019 – present.
AAPG House of Delegates, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists delegate, 2017-present.
AAPG Energy Minerals Division, Oil Shale Committee, Chair, 2016-2018.
Executive Editor, The Mountain Geologist (RMAG), Jan. 2016 – Dec. 2018.
AAPG Energy Minerals Division, Oil Shale Committee, Vice-Chair – Government, 2015.
SETAC Exposure Modeling Advisory Group Steering Committee – Co-Chair 2012-2014.

Justin Birdwell is a research environmental engineer and geochemist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Central Energy Resources Science Center in Denver, Colorado, where he has worked since 2009. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, earning B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering in 2002 and 2007. He is the Denver project chief for the USGS Energy Resources Program’s Gulf Coast Petroleum Systems Research project, and his research focuses on unconventional petroleum resource assessment in Gulf Coast, Rocky Mountain, and Alaskan basins, geochemical characterization of source rocks and petroleum, and development of geochemical reference materials. Justin is chair of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Energy Minerals Division (EMD) commodity committee on tight oil and gas resources, an Associate Editor of AAPG Bulletin and The Mountain Geologist, a member of the AAPG House of Delegates representing Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and president-elect of AAPG EMD for 2020-2021.