Thomas D. Barrow

Thomas D. Barrow attended The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega, earning his BS in petroleum engineering in 1945 and an MA in geology in 1948. In 1953, he received his PhD in geology from Stanford University.

He served on active duty with the U.S. Navy from 1943-46 and in the Naval Reserve from 1946-1961. 

Barrow retired in 1985 as vice chairman of the Standard Oil Company (Ohio), or Sohio, which later merged with BP. Among many leadership duties at Sohio, Barrow was responsible for oil and natural gas exploration and production activities and for Sohio’s worldwide minerals business Kennecott, of which he had been chairman and CEO prior to its purchase in 1978.

Earlier in his career, Barrow helped extend offshore exploration and production to deeper waters throughout the world. A prominent spokesman for the protection of the marine environment and the efficient development of ocean resources, he was one of the founders in the early 1970s of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), which grew into the leading trade association of the offshore petroleum industry.

In 1951, he joined Humble Oil and Refining Company (Exxon) as a geologist in California and by 1962 was named southeastern region exploration manager. He moved up the ladder with Humble to become its president in 1970. In 1972, he was named senior vice president of Exxon Corporation and elected a member of its Board of Directors. In this capacity, Barrow was responsible for Exxon’s worldwide exploration and production activities. Additionally, he was contact director for Exxon Exploration, Inc. and Esso Eastern, Inc. as well as Corporate Planning, Mining, and Synthetic Fuels. His other corporate responsibilities included Exxon Research and Engineering Company, Imperial Oil Limited, Exxon Enterprises, Inc. as well as Production, Science and Technology. Barrow retired from Exxon in November 1978.

UT Austin awarded Barrow the Distinguished Graduate in Engineering in 1970, the Distinguished Graduate in Geology in 1982, the Distinguished Alumnus in 1985 and Distinguished Graduate from the College of Natural Sciences in 1991. In 2005 he was one of the inaugural members of the Jackson School’s Hall of Distinction. Barrow was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Offshore Technology Conference in 1973. In 1974, the National Ocean Industries Association gave him the same honor. He was named Chief Executive of the Year for the Metals and Mining Industry in 1979.

Barrow passed away on Jan. 27, 2011.