ME Region Focuses on Needs, Growth

The team from King Fahad University (with then-AAPG President John Lorenz, fifth from left) won the first Middle East IBA competition – and then took third place at the international competition in New Orleans.
The team from King Fahad University (with then-AAPG President John Lorenz, fifth from left) won the first Middle East IBA competition – and then took third place at the international competition in New Orleans.

Although historically focused on its birthplace in North America, AAPG is growing rapidly in several international locations, including one that is in the heart of the oil industry – the Middle East.

AAPG’s Middle East Region (MER) currently is home to approximately 719 members; while this represents only about 2 percent of the current total global AAPG membership, the MER Council is aggressively moving forward to develop a number of initiatives in the Region to both support the growth of AAPG as well as to support the needs of the growing number of geoscientists in this economically important region.

These initiatives include the biannual Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition (GEO), held this past March in Manama, Bahrain, which attracted 1,036 geoscientists, as well as a number of activities that are designed to serve the needs of the area’s growing young professional and student population.

Those activities include:

  • A “Young Professional and Student Conference and Exhibition,” which would be first of its kind in the area.
  • A series of targeted visits to various universities in the Region.
  • Support and encouragement to prospective university teams to participate in the Imperial Barrel Award (IBA).

This last initiative deserves a special note in its own right; the first ever Middle East IBA competition was held this past March (in association with GEO 2010), and featured participation of three strong teams from universities in the area.

The winner of this inaugural ME IBA competition was a team from King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals, which then went on to win third place honors in the international IBA competition at the AAPG Annual Convention in New Orleans.


The MER section also has conducted a number of successful Geosciences Technology Workshops (GTWs) in the area, the most recent of which, Basin and Petroleum System Modeling in the Middle East: Applications and Case Studies, was held in October in Dubai, UAE, and attracted 40 participants.

Other GTWs this year have been:

  • Assessment of Unconventional Gas Resources, held in May in Istanbul, Turkey, which drew 78 registrants.
  • The Role of Fracture and Geomechanical Characterization in the Hydrocarbon Industry: Middle Eastern Perspective, held in June in Rome, Italy, which had 71 registrants.

More GTWs are planned, including:

Information on these and all Middle East GTWs can be found on the Region’s website at http://middleeast.aapg.org/?cat=5.


With such an active program, AAPG is positioning itself to be able to service the growing needs of the geosciences community in this ancient region.

Stay tuned – the future is bright in the Middle East Region!

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Regions and Sections

Regions and Sections Column - Carol McGowen
Carol Cain McGowen is the development manager for AAPG's Regions and Sections. She may be contacted via email , or telephone at 1-918-560-9403.

Regions and Sections is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news for and about AAPG's six international Regions and six U.S. Sections. News items, press releases and other information should be submitted via email or to: EXPLORER - Regions and Sections, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. 

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