Regions and Sections
Latin America Region
The AAPG 2009 International Conference & Exhibition held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 15 to 18 November was a great success. The enthusiastic atmosphere of the scenic city of Rio de Janeiro set the scene for a great meeting. Technically, the timing was perfect for the conference, as the new pre-salt oil province discovered by Petrobras and its partners became a major geological interest. Four of the world’s recent top discoveries, Tupi, Iara, Jupiter and Guara, all offshore Santos Basin, put Brazil in the spotlight.
The conference started with the opening session “Opportunities in a High-Stake Environment” chaired by Mario Carminatti (Petrobras) and Kim Bates (ExxonMobil). Five top executives, Jose Gabrielli (Petrobras), Mark Albers (ExxonMobil), Amin Nasser (Saudi Aramco), Yves-Louis Darricarrere (Total) and Andrew Gould (Schlumberger).These leaders of industry discussed the challenges and the efforts that the companies are doing in the search for new technologies, integrated environments, team work and talented people. Many companies are putting a great effort on speeding up the training of new professionals but the wisdom necessary takes more time to achieve. The industry as a whole still suffers from the lack of admission of geoscientists during the nineties, causing a gap of skilled people. The presence of these executives at the meeting illustrated the importance of this conference and Petrobras as the host for this new scenario.
The featured luncheon speaker, Undersecretary of Mining and Energy of Brazil, Marco Antônio Martins Almeida, highlighted the new regulatory rules that are about to be approved in the Brazilian Congress for exploration in the pre-salt province.
The high quality of the technical sessions, both oral and posters, was a common comment about the event. The South Atlantic Margin basins were in the spotlight, with great papers on the regional geology of the area, rifting, tectonics, petroleum systems, reservoir characterization, and carbonates just to name a few. The main focus of the pre-salt succession was attested by full rooms during the oral sessions related to this subject. Besides the high quality of speakers, interaction with other companies and networking with business associates were very much appreciated by all in attendance.
AAPG Student Education Day, aimed to introduce students to geosciences and petroleum engineering disciplines and to the O&G industry in general, brought approximately 30 high school students from Rio de Janeiro public school system (most from poor neighborhoods) to the conference. They displayed their scientific projects as posters during the conference. The program, sponsored by ExxonMobil and Petrobras with collaboration of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), selected the top three projects and awarded each a laptop and digital camera. It was a very touching ceremony that brought tears to our eyes for the students’ stories of their lives and hopes. Following such successful event, Petrobras will support and motivate similar programs in future Brazilian geological meetings.
The core workshops on Albian carbonates and deep water systems allowed hands-on viewing of the main producing reservoirs of the South Atlantic. Field trips provided not only to fantastic geology but also exotic and unique opportunities as the Great Iguaçu Falls and the Amazon Forest. Both workshops and field trips were very well organized and attended.
Upon reflection, I am sure that the AAPG ICE-Rio 2009, with more than 2000 geoscientists presenting ideas, proposing new geological models and discussing new technologies was a significant milestone to the petroleum industry not only of Brazil but also of South America as a whole.