From a college graduate in 1906 to starting his own consulting firm in 1924 to becoming the recognized industry leader in evaluating natural gas properties, Ralph E. Davis established a tradition of excellence that is maintained today. During its history the firm has evaluated properties throughout the world and provides client companies with an independent third party analysis of their opportunities.
Ralph Emerson Davis, geologist and “godfather of the natural gas industry”, was born in Blacksburg, Virginia in 1884. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1906 and from 1910 to 1920 was the Director of the Wisconsin Mining School. He began consulting to oil and gas companies during the summers beginning in 1916 and traveled internationally in 1917. In 1920 he joined the New York consulting firm of James R. Darnell, becoming a partner in 1921. In 1924 Mr. Davis left New York for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and established the firm that bears his name. The company moved the consulting firm’s headquarters to Houston in 1946, and it remains today as one of the oldest consulting firms in the oil and gas industry.
In 1925 Mr. Davis was asked to evaluate the potential for developing natural gas supplies along the Texas Gulf Coast. Based on his analysis and report to financial backers, a natural gas pipeline was constructed and the predecessor company to United Gas Corporation came into being. Mr. Davis and his consulting firm soon became industry experts on the evaluation of gas reserves and the determination of gas deliverability for the pipeline industry.
Testimony by Mr. Davis and his staff before government agencies and their presentations to financial institutions became an integral part of the work necessary for the pipeline companies to gain certification and the resources to build the pipelines. It was estimated that three-fourths of the natural gas pipeline systems throughout the United States and Canada were financed on the basis of the firm’s analyses. At one time almost every Gulf of Mexico field producing into the interstate gas pipeline system was evaluated annually by the Davis staff, along with thousands of onshore wells supplying gas throughout North America.
State and Federal regulatory reports, bondholder analyses, engineering certificates, and simply the expansion of the natural gas system through North America, led the American Association of Petroleum Geologists to dedicate its 1968 landmark publication of Natural Gases of North America, to Ralph E. Davis, the “godfather of the natural gas industry”.
The geological and reservoir engineering evaluation of both oil and gas producing properties throughout the world has remained the mainstay of the firm’s activity. The changes of the 1980’s during which time the gas pipelines in the United States became transporters of gas rather than contractual purchasers of produced gas, moved the focus of Ralph E. Davis Associates into asset value determinations, acquisition analysis, field development studies, financial reporting and litigation support in oil and gas matters.
Mr. Davis first worked internationally in 1917 when he was sent to Mexico to evaluate the potential for the development of oil production in the Yucatan. In 1925 he was working in Western Canada analyzing the potential of producing natural gas, and soon began traveling throughout Europe, the Middle East and beyond in various studies to determine the petroleum potential of the regions. This work is continued today with several recent evaluation studies of properties in South America and Europe.
In March of 2015, Ralph E. Davis Associates was acquired by Opportune LLP.