Adding ICE to Colombian culture

Cartagena Program Casts a Wide Geologic Net

AAPG for the first time is headed to Cartagena, Colombia, for this year’s AAPG International Conference and Exhibition. The historic walled city is on the right side of the photo. Photo by n.karim via Flickr
AAPG for the first time is headed to Cartagena, Colombia, for this year’s AAPG International Conference and Exhibition. The historic walled city is on the right side of the photo. Photo by n.karim via Flickr

The upcoming 2013 International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) in Cartagena, Colombia, is on target to be a unique, don’t-miss event.

This year’s event will be held Sept. 8-11 at the Cartagena Convention Center, with the theme being “Energy for Integration and Prosperity.”

It will be the first time an ICE event has been held in Colombia, and the first ICE to be held in the AAPG Latin America Region since the 2009 meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Clearly, the location is one-of-a-kind.

Modern and neogene outcrops on the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta to El Rosario Islands area will be visited on an ICE field trip that will deal with climatic and tectonic controls as a predictive tool for petroleum systems. Photo by Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero
Modern and neogene outcrops on the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta to El Rosario Islands area will be visited on an ICE field trip that will deal with climatic and tectonic controls as a predictive tool for petroleum systems. Photo by Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero

Cartagena, which was founded in 1533, sits on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, boasting prime beaches, historic Old Town and magnificent colonial architecture. Open patios on cobblestone streets virtually beckon you to sit and enjoy some robust Colombian coffee and memorable pastries.

Business-wise, the ICE meet is planned to please even the most discerning attendee.

It’s certainly timely.

ICE general chair Victor Vega noted that Latin America in large part is the scene of some hot E&P action, including:

  • Heavy oil in the Andean foreland.
  • Deep water in Brazil, Mexico, French Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Unconventional resources in several of the countries, particularly Argentina (Vaca Muerta formation), Mexico and Colombia (La Luna).

“From the start, my vision was to have the meeting in Cartagena where people can enjoy the city and its interesting aspects and at the same time have the opportunity to get the flavor of what’s going on in Latin America,” Vega emphasized.

“One of the objectives of the conference was to have integration of the Latin America countries and present to the E&P community the things that people are doing in the different countries,” he noted.

The AAPG Latin America Region office in Bogotá benefits substantially from the help of volunteers from the various countries to help implement plans to better serve the resident AAPG members, while advancing the knowledge of geology.

Geoscience workshops along with new student chapters throughout the Region are a couple of the high profile achievements.

“I wanted ICE basically to be the culmination of all the years of work that have been done,” Vega said.

A Program With a Twist

The program was designed with a unique twist or two.

The intent is to draw in a wider variety of professions/attendees than at past meetings.

“As a way to reach the type of people who don’t usually come to the (ICE) meetings, we have included a regulators forum where the most important aspects and challenges of unconventional and deepwater E&P regulatory issues will be discussed,” Vega said. “We want the regulators to come, along with the geologists, planners and business developers to engage in discussions and ask questions.

“This is important for us in the Region,” he emphasized, “because those two topics are very important in many countries.”

Another scheduled commanding event is the NOC’s forum, where high-ranking officials from several Latin American NOC’s will discuss their strategies and challenges. Following this is an IOC’s forum, which will provide perspectives on global trends in the industry.

Vega noted that there also will be special individual country sessions to include exploration, science and activities in Brazil, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The YPs and students will derive benefits from the ICE program.

One session that specifically targets these groups is dubbed “art of interviewing and career planning.” The students will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and have dialogue with perhaps 30, or even 40, professionals having considerable experience and perhaps having lived in many countries.

“They can get insight on why these professionals made their career decisions,” Vega said, “and the key things they think a student or YP should keep in mind for their career.”

Time for Fun

But all work and no play is not necessarily a good thing, no matter the country.

This is Latin America, after all, so enjoy.

In addition to myriad opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, dining and more, a big-time bash dubbed the Party at the Plaza is on tap to showcase much of what makes this region alluring.

“It will be at the Plaza de la Aduana inside the Old City and will be an interesting cultural experience for the attendees,” Vega said. “It will show some of the folklore of the country and provide the opportunity to experience a bit of Colombian culture.

“The final thing I’d like to stress is that ICE has the support of the Colombian government at the highest level,” he emphasized. “We have invited the president of the country, the minister of mines, the president of the national hydrocarbon agency and the president of Ecopetrol.”

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