Having the mind of an explorer

17th November 2014 - Greatest professionals
“I grew up in Predappio, a small town in northern Italy. I was always very curious to see the world.”

What makes Italian-born Emidio Valmori successful at all that he does? He laughs: “I grew up in Predappio, a small town in northern Italy. I was always very curious to see the world.” This is the attitude he has in his current role as an independent geosciences consultant, bringing a wide perspective on all he does. 

After graduating with a Master’s degree in geology/earth science and working on his dissertation in sedimentology at the University of Bologna, Italy, he’s gone on to really see the world, covering nearly 100 projects in 25 countries. His work on sedimentology is still used today as a worldwide model.

Emidio first started on a construction project in Taif, Saudi Arabia. From there, he had the chance to work at Agip, now called Eni. “It was the only Italian oil company and offered decent wages,” he recalls.

What has made him successful throughout his life? “For nearly 40 years now I’ve always put in the maximum effort and tried to fully cooperate with the members of various project teams,” he says.

Emidio has first-hand experience of the dangers of oil & gas projects. While he was in Angola from 1986 to 1990 during the Civil War, he needed to give a wounded colleague a pint of his blood. Most recently, he was working in Crimea until fighting broke out. For him, the best way to confront such dangers is having a sense of calm and patient reasoning. 

A fond memory of an amazing project is from 1984 when he was drilling the first exploratory well onboard a semi-submersible rig for ACT (Agip-Chevron-Texaco). “One night, we noticed hydrocarbons that showed we had discovered an oilfield. I stayed on in China through 1986 to discover a total of four oilfields. So, I think I can claim to be the first Italian geologist to see Chinese oil,” he smiles. Another success came when he worked in Egypt from 1994 to 1998 for Petrobel, where 75% of the exploratory wells proved to be successful, one of the highest rates ever achieved.

Alongside his profession, he’s been mastering the art of fishing. Using his own multidisciplinary model, he won an angling tournament for expatriates in Angola and caught 13 sailfish in Senegal, each weighing over 30 kilos.

Despite his nomadic lifestyle, he feels having strong family ties is essential to overcome all the problems encountered during work in this profession. “My wife and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary,” he says with deep appreciation.

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