James Warren Crafton, age 76, passed away peacefully at home Thursday, October 17, 2019 in Evergreen, Colorado surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 51 years, Gale Auston; son Ryan (Clarissa); daughter Larissa Bradford (Tory); five grandchildren Jaedon, Alice, Blake, Mikayla and Dante; and sister Ruth Barker (Bill).
Jim was born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 21, 1943 to William Warren Crafton and Edith Ione (Ryan). He graduated from Missouri School of Mines in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering, petroleum option, earned a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1966 and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa in 1975.
Dr. Crafton was employed by Gulf Research & Development Corporation in reservoir simulation, and Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company as chief reservoir engineer where he began the development of production data analysis in conjunction with pipeline and reservoir management, in addition to managing the company’s explorations and development activities in the DJ Basin, Powder River Basin, Piceance Basin, eastern Green River Basin, as well as all Mid-Continent activities.
Dr. Crafton was a tenured professor at Colorado School of Mines from 1983-1992, where he taught pressure transient theory and integrated exploration methods. In 1992, he discovered the “Fluid Conveyor” system for moving fluids, known as The Crafton Lift, and received a patent recognized by the U.S. Patent Office as a new process for fluid transport. Dr. Crafton discovered and was granted the naming privilege of the geological Ricochet Formation and Unconformity, a major Gulf Coast geologic marker.
He developed the theoretical and practical bases for the Reciprocal Productivity Index® method, which has become a practical method used worldwide for the evaluation of producing oil, gas and coal bed methane wells which he used in his consulting company.
Dr. Crafton was selected a Distinguished Member, Society of Petroleum Engineers, a SPE Distinguished Lecturer for two seasons traveling the world, and served as chair of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Distinguished Lecturer Committee. He authored and published over 47 technical papers for the Society of Petroleum Engineers and received numerous engineering awards. Professional and honorary society affiliations include the SPE, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Sigma Xi Scientific Honorary Society and many others.
Jim was known for his love and dedication to his family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. He was always there to help whenever needed, and will be greatly missed by all.