Focused Attention on Advancing Science
We are members of a professional association focused on the science of petroleum geology. When you look at our mission, as described in AAPG’s constitution, you see that advancing science is our principal reason for existence. And access to that science is what professionals in the oil and gas business want and need. After all, isn’t that why many of us joined AAPG?
AAPG has historically done a pretty good job of disseminating science. The AAPG Bulletin is our flagship publication, but it doesn’t stand alone. Almost every one of AAPG’s activities, from ACE and ICE to GTWs and Search and Discovery, are about getting science to the oil and gas community.
But can AAPG do more to advance the science, not just disseminate it? Can a scientific and professional association help facilitate important conversations amongst scientific experts, providing a space for them to engage with their colleagues in a manner that could yield new insights and possibly breakthroughs? And if we could, wouldn’t that significantly enhance AAPG’s relevance, not just to other geoscientists but to the petroleum community as a whole?
Now wait, you may say, that sounds an awful lot like a Hedberg research conference, and it does. It also sounds like the kind of interaction that happens at many of our Geosciences Technology Workshops (GTW). But after a few days, everyone goes their separate ways and the energy around the subject dissipates. Our goal should be to sustain these conversations over time, with one building on the next with focus and intention.
If it is approved by the House of Delegates at the annual meeting in Pittsburgh, the proposed new Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division will give us an opportunity to demonstrate how this goal could work. The group of experts who would form the nucleus of this Division have demonstrated a commitment to AAPG and its mission by developing a theme issue of the Bulletin.
With the PSGD request for formal recognition as a Division comes the expectation that they will focus on advancing the science in structural geology and geomechanics as it pertains to petroleum exploration and production. From their engaged interactions we hope to see new insights, which they will then disseminate to the broader AAPG membership and the petroleum community through the many channels that the association provides, both in person and in print.
Advancing and disseminating science is our mission. This proposed Division gives us a chance to try to achieve this mission in a more focused and effective manner than we have before. And that sort of innovation is what we need to be doing to prepare AAPG for its second century.