‘Heady’ reasons to come to Denver

DPA Has Full Slate of Activities

The Division of Professional Affairs will have an exciting and active profile at the upcoming AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, set June 7- 10 in Denver, the “Queen City of the Plains.”

The meeting, in fact, continues an exciting and active streak for Denver itself, which has been showcased twice recently during historic national events – hosting the Democratic National Convention in August 2008 and being the site where President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Investment Act. Both were of significant national importance, and Denver rose to the occasions.

Further evidence of Denver’s unique qualifications for hosting a memorable annual convention is that our mayor, John Hickenlooper, is a member of AAPG!

In fact, Hickenlooper was a geologist-turned brewpub pioneer who throughout his career in the energy industry had never run for political office.

(It is also interesting to note that Colorado is number one in craft brews per capita in the United States, boasting 101 breweries as of 2008 – a “heady” enough reason by itself to visit Denver this June!)

Largely as a result of being the entrepreneur that he is – and because of his civic involvement in numerous causes – “Hick” was elected mayor of Denver in 2003 and re-elected in 2005. There is no doubt that his creative leadership and innovative thinking helped draw these two significant national events to Denver.

Hickenlooper will be speaking at the DPA luncheon on Tuesday, June 9, about “Professionalism and Public Policy,” focusing on the importance of maintaining professionalism and high ethical standards in everything that we, as professional geologists, must maintain – especially when interacting with the non-technical public that may not understand our profession.

This matters, because whether it be a simple discussion with the public about anything geological, energy or minerals related, or public testimony before a regulatory body, consideration must be given to maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards. Due to increased public awareness of energy and climate change issues our profession is increasingly being called upon for scientific input and guidance. Remember, you are not only representing yourself, but the entire geologic community!

So sign up soon when you register for the convention for this exciting talk, as this event will likely sell out early.


Other DPA activities for Denver include three DPA-sponsored short courses and a special forum on carbon dioxide issues.

The short courses are:

  • Reservoir Engineering for Geologists, taught by Stephen Norris, a practicing reservoir engineer, which will focus on familiarizing geologists with a basic understanding of common reservoir engineering methods and practices. The basics of petroleum economics will be presented, including the time value of money, interest calculations, cash flow models, ROR, NPV and other economic metrics.
  • Black Belt Ethics, taught by Bob Shoup, will highlight the critical importance of adhering to “martial arts” tenets and code of honor – respect, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, selfcontrol, courage and community. This course will review these tenets and how they can be applied in our professional lives.
  • Quality Control for Subsurface Maps will show that success is not the result of serendipity, but is based on solid scientific work. A systematic approach for quickly screening interpretations, maps, prospects and potential resources will be developed and presented. Methods used to address the risk factors that cause dry holes will be reviewed.

All three courses are worthy of consideration, especially for the younger members of the profession.


Finally, the DPA will be co-hosting (DEG/DPA/EMD) an Energy Forum on Tuesday afternoon dealing with carbon dioxide and sequestration. The speakers will include:

  • Hannes Leetaru, of the Illinois State Geological Survey, speaking on “Our Energy Future: Wind, Solar, Nuclear and Coal with Sequestration.”
  • Sue Hovorka, Distinguished Lecturer from the University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences, speaking on “Risks and Benefits of Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide – How Do the Pieces Fit?”
  • John Kaldi, of the University of Adelaide, an AAPG Honorary member and current international Distinguished Lecturer, speaking on “CO2 Sequestration – The View from Down Under.”

Once again, the timeliness of this forum is incredible considering the upcoming emphasis on “green energy” and the nation’snew administration’s direction toward a cleaner environment.

Make your plans soon and join us in Denver!

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Division Column-DPA Cliff Clark
Cliff Clark is the DPA Annual Meeting Vice Chair.

Division Column-DPA

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA website.

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2009 DPA Awardees

AAPG’s Division of Professional Affairs will honor several of its own in Denver. DPA award winners are:

Past President Award – Thomas E. Ewing, San Antonio.

Life Membership – Peter R. Rose, Austin, Texas.

Distinguished Service Award – Daniel J. Tearpock, Houston.

Certificate of Merit awards:

  • Carl J. Smith, Morgantown, W.Va.
  • Charles A. Sternbach, Houston.
  • Martha M. Guethle, San Antonio.
  • Mark A. Norville, San Antonio.

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Prolific hydrocarbon discoveries in the subsalt, commonly known as the “presalt,” section of Brazil and the conjugate African margin have created a business imperative to predict reservoir quality in lacustrine carbonates. Geothermal convection is a style of groundwater flow known to occur in rift settings, which is capable of diagenetic modification of reservoir quality. We simulated variable density groundwater flow coupled with chemical reactions to evaluate the potential for diagenesis driven by convection in subsalt carbonates.

Rates of calcite diagenesis are critically controlled by temperature gradient and fluid flux following the principles of retrograde solubility. Simulations predict that convection could operate in rift carbonates prior to salt deposition, but with rates of dissolution in the reservoir interval only on the order of 0.01 vol. %/m.y., which is too low to significantly modify reservoir quality. The exception is around permeable fault zones and/or unconformities where flow is focused and dissolution rates are amplified to 1 to 10 vol. %/m.y. and could locally modify reservoir quality. After salt deposition, simulations also predict convection with a critical function for salt rugosity. The greatest potential for dissolution at rates of 0.1 to 1 vol. %/m.y. occurs where salt welds, overlying permeable carbonates thin to 500 m (1640 ft) or less. With tens of million years residence times feasible, convection under these conditions could locally result in reservoir sweet spots with porosity modification of 1% to 10% and potentially an order of magnitude or more in reservoir permeability. Integrating quantitative model–derived predictive diagenetic concepts with traditional subsurface data sets refines exploration to production scale risking of carbonate reservoir presence and quality.

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This course will help you turn challenges into opportunities as you learn to strategically manage technological innovation, financial turmoil, a changing workforce, unpredictable social media, and tight deadlines.

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