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Deanne Katnick

Petroleum Geologist, Canadian Natural Resources

BSc. SFU 1998

M.Sc. SFU Earth Sciences, 2001




Deanne Katnick completed her Bachelor of Science degree from Simon Fraser University in 1998, majoring in Physical Geography with a minor in Earth Sciences.  She subsequently took the opportunity to undertake graduate studies within the newly formed Earth Sciences Department under the supervision of Dr. Peter Mustard.  In 2001, she completed her Master’s thesis and published a map with the B.C. Geological Survey: Geology of Denman and Hornby Islands, British Columbia NTS (92F/7E, 10).

During the final months of completing her master’s thesis, Deanne was hired as a geology summer student at PanCanadian Energy based in Calgary, Alberta.  This summer student experience, along with industry connections she had established through SFU Earth Sciences professor Dr. James MacEachern, led Deanne to a permanent position as an exploration geologist with Canadian Natural Resources, a major Canadian oil and gas producer where she has been ever since.

Deanne was one of the initial geologists to work on Canadian Natural’s Horizon Mine project and was integral to establishing the geologic model for the resource which today produces an average of 115,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil per day.  Over the years, a large part of her job at Canadian Natural has involved the training and mentoring of geology summer students and new grads; a role she enjoys immensely.  She currently is working on the delineation of in-situ oilsands resources in the McMurray, Clearwater and Grand Rapids formations at Canadian Natural’s Primrose/Wolf Lake fields.

Deanne is mom to a busy four year old son and in her spare time loves to mountain bike in the Rocky Mountains of her back yard.


Why did you choose to go to SFU?

I was faced with two options for post-secondary education upon graduating from high school in Coquitlam. One was to enter the music program at UBC to continue my education in piano performance. The other was to attend SFU and pursue my interest in the sciences associated with earth processes. The decision to go with the latter was made easy by the fact that I could still live at home and attend a great university where the majority of my high school friends also attended.

Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus? 

There are two places that come to mind; the first being Roberta Dunlop’s Earth Sciences lab and the lounge immediately in front of it where I loved studying with my fellow earth science students.  The second place would have to be the pub.

What is your favourite memory from your time at SFU?

My favourite memory from my time at SFU would have to be the convocation ceremonies for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.  No other post-secondary institution has a better convocation ceremony than SFU!

Who was your favourite SFU professor and why?

Two professors stick out in my mind as being favourites.  During my undergraduate studies, Dr. Ted Hickin inspired a love for modern day coastal and fluvial geomorphology which to this day I still draw from in my role as a petroleum geologist.  The second would undoubtedly be Dr. James MacEachern who challenged and inspired me to think unlike any other teacher I have ever had. He also had an unwavering belief that I was a good geologist.  That belief ultimately provided me with the confidence I needed to go out and establish a successful career for myself.

How has your SFU degree impacted your career?

The Earth Sciences department at SFU has a well-established reputation for graduating very high quality geoscientists. Many doors were opened to me upon graduating with an M.Sc. from the Earth Sciences department at SFU.

What is your favourite SFU snow story? 

I do not recall a specific snow story on campus. But on snowy mornings, I do remember lying in bed and listening to CKNW radio.  If the buses weren’t running, classes were cancelled and it was officially a snow day!

If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to not just go to classes and study, but to make the most of their time on campus.  It’s an extraordinary place situated in a beautiful natural setting.  Take in the beauty of the architecture, go listen to bands at the pub with your friends, hike/bike the amazing trails, and enjoy the view!

What is the one thing about SFU that must not change? 

The wonderful sense of community that comes with attending a relatively small school.