Tyler Priest received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. He came to the University of Iowa in 2012 after eight years as Director of Global Studies at the C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. His primary research interests are in the history and geography of energy, energy policy, and globalization. He has a joint appointment in the Departments of History, http://clas.uiowa.edu/history/people/r-tyler-priest, and Geographical and Sustainability Sciences (GSS). In GSS, he teaches a course on U.S. Energy Policy and assists in overseeing the Environmental Policy and Planning program.
Dr. Priest is a leading expert on the history of the offshore oil and gas. His book, The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in the Postwar United States (Texas A&M, 2007), won the 2008 Geosciences in the Media Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, “in recognition of notable journalistic achievement in any medium which contributes to public understanding of geology, energy resources, or the technology of oil and gas exploration.” Also in 2008, Priest won the Alice Hamilton Award from the American Society for Environmental History for his article, “Extraction Not Creation: The History of Offshore Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico,” published in the international business history journal Enterprise & Society. The article analyzes how the region’s unique geology and geography shaped both business strategies and extractive technologies.
Priest’s research led to a long-range effort to document, preserve, and analyze the history of the offshore industry in the Gulf Coast region. He has served as chief historian on three collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects sponsored by the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (since 2010, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management). His expertise on the history of offshore oil has led to advisory positions and a role as a regular commentator for print, radio, online, and television media. In 2010, he served as a senior policy analyst on the President’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, http://www.oilspillcommission.gov/. He lent historical expertise to the commission’s investigation of the disaster and the recommendations for government and industry reforms in its aftermath.
Priest’s work on other oil history topics include “Hubbert’s Peak: The Great Debate Over the End of Oil,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (forthcoming, 2014) and a co-edited special issue of the Journal of American History (June 2012), consisting of 22 essays devoted entirely to the history of “Oil in America.” He wrote the volume’s keynote essay, “The Dilemmas of Oil Empire,” which calibrates the decline of U.S. global supremacy with various ways in which the United States has ceded control over the world’s oil.
Partners in Conservation Award, U.S. Department of Interior, for the History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana, OCS MMS Study 2004-042 (2008), 2010
Geosciences in the Media Award for The Offshore Imperative, Association of American Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), 2008
Alice Hamilton Award, American Society for Environmental History (ASEH), for best article outside Environmental History, 2007
University of Houston Faculty Development Initiative Program (FDIP) Grant, 2007-2008
Wayne Payne Teaching Excellence Award, C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, 2007
Stuart L. Bernath Dissertation Grant (Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations), 1994
Harry S. Truman Library Institute Research Grant, 1994
University of Wisconsin, Global Studies Program, Research Grant, 1993
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Scholarship, 1992-93
Social Science Research Council Predissertation Fellowship, 1991-92
The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in Postwar America (Texas A&M University Press, Oil & Business History Series, 2007
Global Gambits: Big Steel and the U.S. Quest for Manganese (Greenwood/Praeger Press, International History Series, 2003)
Offshore Pioneers: Brown & Root and the History of Offshore Oil and Gas, with Joseph Pratt and Christopher Castaneda (Gulf Publishing, 1997)
“Hubbert’s Peak: The Great Debate Over the End of Oil,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (forthcoming, 2014)
“The Dilemmas of Oil Empire,” Journal of American History, Vol. 99, No. 1 (June 2012): 236-251, http://jah.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/1/236.full
“Bucking the Odds: Organized Labor in Gulf Coast Oil Refining,” co-author with Michael Botson, Journal of American History, Vol. 99, No. 1 (June 2012): 100-110, http://jah.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/1/100.full
“‘Each Well Has Its Own Personality’: The History of Offshore Oil and Gas in the United States,” Chapter 2, Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling, Report to the President, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, January 2011, http://www.oilspillcommission.gov/final-report.
“Who Destroyed the Marsh? Oil Field Canals, Coastal Ecology, and the Debate over Louisiana's Shrinking Wetlands,” with Jason Theriot, Economic History Yearbook 2 (2009): 69-80; reprinted in Janet Allured and Michael S. Martin, eds., Louisiana Legacies: Readings in the History of the Pelican State (New York: Wiley, 2013)
“Extraction Not Creation: The History of Offshore Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico,” Enterprise & Society Vol. 8, No. 2 (June 2007): 227-267
The ‘Americanization’ of Shell Oil,” in Geoffrey Jones and Lina Galvez-Munoz, eds., Foreign Multinationals in the U.S.: Management and Performance (London: Routledge, 2001), 188-206
“Banking on Development: Brazil in the United States’s Search for Strategic Minerals, 1945-1953" International History Review XXI 2 (June 1999): 297-330
“The Technology and Strategy of Petroleum Exploration in Coastal and Offshore Gulf of Mexico,”History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana: Vol. 1: Papers on the Evolving Offshore Industry, MMS OCS Study 2004-042 (2008), www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/4/4535.pdf
“Claiming the Coastal Sea: The Battle for the Tidelands, 1937-1953,” History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana: Vol. 1: Papers on the Evolving Offshore Industry, OCS MMS Study 2004-042 (2008), www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/4/4535.pdf
“Auctioning the Ocean: The Creation of the Federal Offshore Leasing Program, 1954-1962,” History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana: Vol. 1: Papers on the Evolving Offshore Industry, OCS MMS Study 2004-042 (2008) www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/4/4535.pdf
“Wake-Up Call: Accidents and Safety Provision in the Gulf of Mexico Offshore Industry,” History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana: Vol. 1: Papers on the Evolving Offshore Industry, OCS MMS Study 2004-042 (2008) www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/4/4535.pdf
“Labor’s Last Stand in the Refinery: The Shell Oil Strike of 1962-1963,” Houston History (March 2008): 5-13
“Shell to Houston,” The Houston Review of History and Culture Vol. 3, No. 1 (Fall 2005): 10-11