In 1933, Mr. Thomas Dewhurst (1881-1973), then President of the Institute of Petroleum in UK, organised what was to become the first World Petroleum Congress. The Dewhurst Lecture is a tribute to him and to the person asked to deliver the Dewhurst Lecture.
As an organisation, we use the Dewhurst Lecture to celebrate scientific and technological excellence in the petroleum industry. The recipients of the award are well known throughout the industry and have demonstrated unusually high achievements over many years.
Throughout the life of the World Petroleum Council there have only been the following recipients of the Award:
Thomas Dewhurst, A.R.S., F.G.S., Hon. F. Inst. Pet., who died on 23 April 1973 in his 92nd year, was born in Blackburn in 1881. At the early age of 12 he went to work in a cotton mill in Burnley and during that time attended night school. Later he went to Burnley Mechanics Institute where, in 1902, he gained a National Scholarship to the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, London. There he obtained a first class honours degree in geology and gained the associateship of the college. He continued working at the college as a demonstrator and later became a lecturer in geology at Queen's University, Belfast.
In 1910 Mr Dewhurst joined the Burmah Oil Company as a geologist and in 1916 was appointed senior geologist of the company, his office being in Rangoon. In 1922 he returned to London and became the first chief geologist of the company. At about the same time he was appointed geological adviser to the then Anglo-Persian Oil Company. He retired from the position of chief geologist to the Burmah Oil Company in 1938, but continued as a geological adviser until 1961.
As a keen supporter, Thomas Dewhurst was one of those who agreed to join the then Institution of Petroleum Technologists prior to its actual foundation in 1913. He was first elected to the Council in 1924, was made a Vice President in 1931 and served as President for the sessions 1933-34 and 1934-35. During those 11 years he was an active member of various committees of the Council. It was during Mr Dewhurst's presidency of the Institution that the decision was taken to convene the first World Petroleum Congress in 1933. He served as President of the Congress and contributed much to its success and continuation.
After completing his period as President, Thomas Dewhurst continued to be active in the affairs of what had become the Institute of Petroleum as a Past-president until that post was abolished in 1958. For his services to the Institute, he was made an Honorary Fellow in 1954. On the occasion of that presentation the then President of the Institute, Lt Colonel S. J. M. Auld, said of him: "One of our quite naturally limited band of geologists, I always found that Mr Dewhurst has brought with him that width, that broadness of perspective and that depth of understanding which would seem appropriate from his profession. His acumen, combined with a never falling benignity and a refreshing newness of outlook, is most attractive and it is a fine thing to know, as many of us do, that the admiration which we have for him is shared by our friends on the Continent of Europe and in America."