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Core Laboratories' Brief History


In February 2016 we celebrated Core Laboratories’ 80th anniversary. From the beginning, we have focused on innovation and technology leadership to enhance our clients' success and drive our growth.

Here are some historical highlights:

Timeline Navigation

  1. 1930s
  2. 1940s
  3. 1950s
  4. 1960s
  5. 1970s
  6. 1980s
  7. 1990s
  8. 2000s



  • This Houston base office was the first building Core Lab built.
  • Core analysis as a commercial service is introduced to the petroleum industry by Core Laboratories.

    The early work of James A. Lewis, Core Lab’s first President, on the determination of the permeability coefficient of a porous media became a guideline for those involved in controlled oil production.

    Core’s second employee, W. L. (Bill) Horner, conceived the summation of fluids method for measuring porosity by adding the oil and water content and void space in a core sample. He also patented the downdraft retort used in oil and water measurements and developed the method of injecting mercury into a sample to determine its void space.



  • Core Lab opened a full-time Research and Development Department.

    Core also began performing highly specialized core analysis tests to produce data that would enhance production from known oil reserves. This was the origin of “special” core analysis.

  • Tatum Fowler and George Monkhouse mark samples they "caught" at a well site.


  • One of the first mobile core analysis laboratories.
  • The Company began to conduct reservoir fluid analyses.

    Core performed our first field study on the East Coalinga field in California.


  • The first international project involved off-location analysis of core samples from the first commercial oil well in Chile.

    John D. Wisenbaker, Core’s president from 1950 to 1984, developed the “quick-freeze” method of preserving cores so that they could be transported to centrally located laboratories where data could be obtained comparable to data secured when cores were tested immediately at the well site.

    The Company introduced drill cuttings analysis and provided the service in mobile “mud logging” vehicles at the well site.

  • One of the first mobile core analysis laboratories.



  • A group of nine key Core Lab employees bought controlling interest in the Company from then-parent company, Case Pomeroy.


  • The Special Core Analysis laboratory was established under Bill Aufricht to provide measurements and data that were not commercially available anywhere else for use in reservoir engineering studies.


  • The Engineering and Consulting Department was officially formed, undertaking a number of assignments in Mexico, the Kuwait/Saudi Arabia Neutral Zone, and Canada, before signing a long-term agreement in 1955 to be the official consultant to the Iran Oil Exploration and Producing Company.


  • Core introduced the core-gamma surface log, which could detect the exact subsurface interval from which core had been cut by providing data to be correlated with downhole gamma logs.

    Also at this time, R.J. Granberry was refining processes relating to sidewall core analysis. He devised a method of correlating core analysis and wireline data to determine the minimum resistivity required for production. Further, he developed the concept of “critical water”, which permits determination of the maximum amount of water that may be present in a formation without producing excessive water.

  • Bill Horner (left) headed up the newly formed Engineering and Consulting Department. He is seen here with his eventual successor, Norman Clark.
  • Bill Aufricht and Ralph Jenkins conducting one of the early core analysis seminars.
  • Core’s introduction of whole core analysis allowed identification of more complex lithologies and enabled the Company to provide clients more detailed analyses of heterogeneous formation characteristics.


  • Bill Aufricht, Frank Reudelhuber, and Ralph Jenkins conducted the first core analysis seminar — in Midland, Texas.



  • The Research Department created a core photography system that operated as an attachment to the core-gamma surface logging equipment. It permitted full-color, foot-by-foot photographs of the core to be taken with an automatic camera mounted over a conveyor belt carrying core for log recordings.


  • Core Lab was a privately owned corporation with annual gross revenue of about $7,700,000.


  • With five oil company clients, Core conducted a prestigious research project to produce a mathematical model and related computer programs for investigating and predicting the performance of a wide range of hydrocarbon-producing reservoirs under various conditions. The result was the Company’s first compositional model formulation.

  • Bill Aufricht (right) with Sam Slemko in 1968 inspecting the construction of Core’s new Calgary office/lab complex, the Company’s largest at the time. Canadian operations outgrew this facility and built another in 1982.



  • Core went public, selling 150,000 shares of stock over the counter at $11.50 a share.


  • When the Company was introduced for trading at The American Stock Exchange, Core Lab was represented by (from left) Gould Whaley (sandwiched between two AMEX executives), Charlotte Whaley, Rufe and Lorraine Bynum, John and Jean Wisenbaker, and George Venner.
  • Core Lab was listed on the American Stock Exchange.


  • The International Department introduced the first online computerized mud logging systems.


  • Skylab (FL-1000), Core’s first online computerized mud logging unit, is shown on the Dalmahoy rig offshore Australia.
  • The Company had over $28,000,000 in sales, from operations on all continents except Antarctica.


  • Annual profit went over $2,000,000 for the first time.



  • Gross revenue exceeded $100,000,000 for the first time, reaching $115,280,000.

    Period of hibernation within Western Geophysical Company


  • Litton Industries, Inc., bought Core Lab for $190,000,000, or $33 per share.


  • In 1986, Core was developing this CT-scanning device for commercial study of internal fractures, filtrate invasion, and distribution of fluids in the pore spaces of whole cores.
  • Core became a division of Western Atlas International, a Litton-Dresser joint venture, which included Core Laboratories, Western Geophysical, Atlas Wireline, and a number of other integrated oilfield services companies.



  • Litton decided to sell Core Lab, and Core’s executive management arranged to buy it.


  • In the first year of operating independently, Core’s revenue was up 15%, and net income was $8,000,000, compared with a net loss of $529,000 in 1994.


  • Revenues exceed $100 million

    Established Production Enhancement Segment


  • Joining David Demshur (third from right) when he rang the opening bell the day Core Laboratories was listed on the NYSE are (left to right) Dick and Toni Bergmark, Laureen Demshur, an NYSE representative, and Stephen and Kathy Weinroth.
  • Core Laboratories was listed on The New York Stock Exchange.


  • Revenues exceed $300 million Enhanced Joint-Industry Consortium Capabilities



  • Technology Innovation – Client Driven
  • Increased Reservoir Condition Fluid Testing Technologies

    Enhanced Advanced Reservoir Rock Analysis Technologies


  • Announced Commercial Development of HERO™ (High Efficiency Reservoir Optimization) Perforating Gun System Designed to Enhance Productivity from Hard Rock Reservoirs


  • Developed SuperHero™ Perforating Charge for Completions of Shale Reservoirs


  • 10-Years on the NYSE

    Revenues Exceed $780,000,000

    Market Cap Exceeds $4 billion

    Total Shareholder Return Outperformed OSX Index Members Over the Same Time Period


  • Core’s market capitalization exceeded $5 billion.

    Introduced HTD-Blast™ Perforating Gun Conveyance Technology for Multiple Stage Completions in Horizontal Wellbores


  • Reservoir condition testing continues to evolve.
  • Global Roll-out of Reservoir Condition Fluids Testing Capabilities with Latest PVT Lab Instrumentation Announced RSAT™ Laboratory Methodology to Increase Reservoir Recovery Rates by Altering Water-Wet Conditions of Shale Reservoirs

    Core Laboratories celebrated a dual listing in May when it was added on The Euronext Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Core’s European ownership climbed as high as 20% during the next year, the highest European ownership of any major NYSE-listed oilfield services company.


  • 15-Years on the NYSE

    Revenues exceed $1 billion

    Added as a member of the OSX Index

    Introduced FLOWPROFILER™ diagnostics to determine hydrocarbon production stage-by-stage

    Core Laboratories was honored to be included as one of the fifteen oilfield services companies that comprise the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index (OSX).

  • When David Demshur sounded the gong to celebrate the second anniversary of Core’s listing on the Euronext Amsterdam Stock Exchange, he was joined by (front row, from left) Dick Bergmark, Mark Elvig, Gwen Schreffler, and Monty Davis. Behind them were three EASE representatives.


  • 2-year anniversary on Euronext Amsterdam Exchange

    Introduced KODIAK™ enhanced perforating system which combines HERO® perforating charge technology with proprietary propellant pellets to boost the perforating/stimulation event by lowering formation breakdown pressure


  • An automated HP/HT PVT Cell
  • Core Acquired Sanchez Technologies in 2015. This has increased the efficiency of Core's Laboratory automation program that is helping to reduce operating costs


  • 80 Years of Innovation
  • Over the last 80 years Core Lab has evolved into the industry’s technology leader in Reservoir Optimization.

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