Lloyd Elkins, Sr. ’34

PE Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Holding rock at Mines

Lloyd Elkins, Sr. is known as the “father” of hydraulic fracturing.

After graduating from Mines in 1934 as a petroleum production engineer, Elkins went to work for Pan American Petroleum as a roustabout. By 1942, he was the company’s chief production engineer and was promoted to Production Research Director in 1949, where he remained for decades.

The company invented hydraulic fracturing while under Elkins’ leadership. Since then, millions of fractured U.S wells have produced billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, making both resources more economical. He retired from the company—then called Amoco—in 1977 after 43 years.

Elkins was awarded 15 patents during his career and received a degree from the Harvard School of Advanced Business Management. He died in 2004.

Professional Societies

  • First elected president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers
  • Chairman of the American Petroleum Institute Advisory Board on Fundamental Research on the Occurrence and Recovery of Petroleum
  • Many leadership positions in the Association of International Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME)
  • Contributing author of The History of Petroleum Engineering


  • Distinguished Service Medal, Colorado School of Mines
  • Melville F. Coolbaugh Memorial Award, Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association
  • Honorary Member, Society of Petroleum Engineers (reserved for 0.1 percent of members)
  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
  • Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement
  • API Citation for Service
  • Society of Professional Engineers Distinguished Service Award

Lucas Gold Medal, Distinguished Life Member, AIME​