Smiles Remain for Athens
General Chair Review
What makes a scientific meeting a success?
Geir Lunde, general chairman of the Athens Conference and Exhibition, and István Bérczi, the AAPG European Region president, offered their views on the Athens’ conference.
What made this conference a success?
Lunde: High quality talks with wide appeal for professionals (not too specialized), good facilities in general, exhibitors space close to the halls and good flow of participants through the exhibition halls.
Also responsible was the enthusiastic organizing committee and AAPG staff; security handled in a pleasant way; a mixture of cultural and professional events; overall nice weather; close communication via telephone conferences and logging of progress each month one year prior to the conference under guidance of Bruce Lemmon.
Other factors included the support from Hellenic Petroleum on the field trips; one very energetic vice chairman (Gerry Lourantos); early support from some of the majors (Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell) and key contractors (TGS, PGS); a clear contract between AAPG and AAPGER; and great ability from the AAPG staff to handle all practicalities
Bérczi: The high number of registrants, which was the result of many components:
- Attractive technical sessions. Geographically sorted topics were more attractive (e.g. Black Sea, the unlucky Algeria) than the “scientific” ones, since the operating companies/business units think primarily on regions.
- The consistent system of communication among the ground operation and committees – particularly in the last 10 months of the preparation.
- Last but not least, the consistent effort to solicit companies to allow their people to attend. The massive presence of a couple of AAPG-friendly companies was a decisive contribution.
What surprised you (in a good way) about the conference?
Lunde: Having more attendance than expected. Also:
- That we managed to deliver opening and closing sessions that were not boring.
- That the conference theme “Challenge Our Myths” really affected the attitude of many participants in their way of approaching new and untraditional ideas.
- That we did not have more unforeseen events.
Bérczi: The high number of registrants, with the majority of them staying up to the closing ceremony. Most of the last day’s sessions were well attended.
The atmosphere was excellent both inside and outside the Megaron, despite some earlier concerns in conjunction with the expected (annual and traditional) November 17th demonstrations in Athens.
How would you compare this conference with others that the European Region has held?
Lunde: For this we had more attendees, better conference facilities, better audiovisual equipment, better facilities for the exhibitors and more satisfactory flow of conference participants through the exhibition halls.
Bérczi: It was a good idea to extend the scope of the conference both geographically (sessions dealing with non-European petroleum provinces) and thematically (management session, gas infrastructure). This indicates the importance to open the program from the classical exploration geology (i.e availability of oil and gas) to the gray areas between geology and engineering, to the issues of the contribution of the geology to the economy, corporate management (i.e. to the deliverability of the oil and gas).