Gene Thomas (Date of Birth: 10th Aug 1929)

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Roderick A. Gene Thomas was born on August 10th, 1929 in Mene Grande in Venezuela to Trinidadian parents, who returned to their homeland soon after his birth. He attended Tranquillity Boys’ School and St. Mary’s College, after which he went to the United States to study. In 1952, he graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in petroleum engineering and spent the next six years working as an engineer with Creole Petroleum, a subsidiary of Exxon, in Venezuela. In 1958, he enrolled in Pennsylvania State University where he obtained his Master of Science (MSc) in Petroleum Engineering.

Mr Thomas returned to Trinidad in 1960, where he joined the Ministry of Petroleum and Mines as a petroleum technologist and quickly worked his way up the ranks. He was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry in the mid-1960s. Under his watch, the country conducted its first exploration for oil and gas off the north and east coasts of Trinidad, which led to the discovery of both oil and natural gas. That field, initially a major source of crude oil, is today an important natural gas reserve.

After retirement from his post as Permanent Secretary, Mr Thomas started a petroleum consultancy business, Petroleum Offshore Services, which repaired offshore wells and drilled many of the development wells for AMOCO in the mid-1970s.