DT to make Singapore debut

Discovery Thinking Forum Goes Global

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

AAPG’s Discovery Thinking (DT) forum, an event that has become a regular and much-anticipated feature at the AAPG Annual Conference and Exhibition confabs, is breaking out onto the international stage.

Charles Sternbach
Charles Sternbach

“Discovery Thinking is going global,” declared AAPG Honorary Member, DPA president and DT proponent Charles Sternbach.

“We’re taking it to the first ICE.”

He’s speaking of the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, set Sept. 16-19 in Singapore, where the theme for this much-anticipated Discovery Thinking forum is “Asia-Pacific Resources: Fueling the Future.”

Sternbach has co-chaired and planned all five DT forums held to date and will be the chair of the Singapore event.

As such, he has some big shoes to fill.

Ironically, they’re his own shoes.

The last Discovery Thinking forum, held earlier this year at the AAPG annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif., was an especially big deal in that it drew in an SRO crowd – a challenging act to follow.

“Discovery Thinking originally started as a 100th anniversary initiative recognizing ‘100 who have made a difference,’” Sternbach said. “As the forums progressed, we included the personal issues and expanded the time slots to let people bring in a lot of technical information.

“You hear about the personal side of the discovery and also see the data,” he emphasized. “We aim for good stories told by those who know the discovery well, so we try to get people close to the action at hand.”

Sternbach noted that the AAPG technical program is highly specialized on the latest technology with a plethora of excellent material, but not all that much case study/integration type material.

“That’s fundamentally why we’ve had such a good run with Discovery Thinking, filling the gap in exploration experience, how the technical skills and personal aspects combine,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone else out there is doing that,” he said. “It’s one of the strengths that AAPG has.”

Numerous geoscientists earn their livelihood via prospect generation and development. To transform the prospect into a discovery entails a high degree of professional skills and craftsmanship.

Sternbach said the forums cut right to the heart of this effort, talking about how these things happen, how they affect personal fortunes, investors, companies who hire, among others.

“Geologists and geoscientists are integrators, and that’s where these forums have had a lot of interest,” he said. “We appeal to that aspect and do it better than anyone because of the geoscientists’ right brain-left brain thing.”

Here, There and Everywhere

Even though the Singapore ICE forum presentations are focused principally on Asia, attendees will hear the details from other regions, too, such as Lundin Petroleum’s giant Johan Sverdrup field discovery in the Norwegian North Sea.

“Although not in Asia, it’s a giant discovery, and it’s timely,” Sternbach emphasized. “This will be the first time in a global forum that a giant discovery will be discussed by those who made it happen.”

Specifically, the Singapore forum will feature five invited speakers, each of whom have “made a difference” outside the United States and North America. The common bond for the speakers isn’t geography or even geology, but the way they creatively overcame great challenges in both business and geological aspects to find success.

Topics to be discussed will include philosophy of exploration, stories from remarkable careers, professional insights and colorful anecdotes, and lessons learned on the path to success.

This year’s program features:

  • Arild Jørstad, exploration geoscientist-Oslo (Norway) area, Lundin, who will discuss “The New Giant Johan Sverdrup Discovery, Norway.”
  • AAPG Honorary Member Bernard Duval, associate professor, IFP School, Rueil-almaison, France, who will discuss “Creative Thinking Led to 40 Years of Success in Mahakam, Indonesia.”
  • AAPG member Fred Wehr, exploration and development manager, Apache Energy, Houston, who will discuss “Two Deep Mungaroo Gas Discoveries in the Carnarvon Basin, Australia – Context and Implications for Further Prospectivity.”
  • AAPG award-winning member Lawrence D. “Trey” Meckel III, exploration manager and chief geologist based in Denver, who will discuss “Exploring A 19th Century Basin in the 21st Century: Seeing the North Sumatra Basin With New Eyes.” (See related story, page 10.)
  • AAPG member Sam Algar, vice president-Asia Pacific exploration, new ventures and global portfolio, Murphy Oil, Perth, Australia, who will discuss “Deepwater NW Borneo: Big Oil From ‘Gas-Prone’ Source Rocks and Leaking Traps.”
Back to the Future

Sternbach is always eager to make people aware that the Discovery Forum presentations have been recorded since the initial event in 2008. The intent is to have a robust legacy of recorded talks on the Search and Discovery segment of the AAPG website.

Information on demand can be a tremendous tool to help both the novice and the expert to learn a subject. For starters, it allows viewers to relax away from the crowded, bustling meeting venues to focus completely on the material that interests them.

Making the talks available online can serve a particularly important role at this time when so many veterans of the industry prepare to retire and a new generation of geoscientists filters in.

The online access enables an in-depth look at exploration, at the user’s convenience, by the very people who took the project all the way from a concept to actual well production.

“As technology advances,” Sternbach noted, “and a new wave of young geoscientists enter our profession, we see continued interest in forums such as this as a way to mentor future discoverers.”

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