Jim Farnsworth


College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award (2015)
B.S., 1979


Jim Farnsworth is one of the founders of Cobalt International Energy, now on the Forbes 2000 list of the world's biggest publicly traded companies. As chief exploration officer and executive vice president for exploration and new ventures, Farnsworth leads efforts to uncover oil reserves deep beneath the ocean.

After graduating from IU in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and earning his master's degree in geophysics at Western Michigan University, he spent two decades at British Petroleum, rising to become BP's vice president of worldwide exploration and technology before taking early retirement to form Cobalt in 2005. Cobalt has since discovered many rich and promising sources of petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of Angola and Gabon.