I am writing my column as I am returning from a very successful APPEX meeting in London, where I had the privilege of attending an open house of the new AAPG European Office in London.
Located at the edge of the Soho district near the Geological Society of London, the office comprises two large rooms – one for staff and the other a conference room used especially for European Region meetings.
AAPG had been using office space donated by the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College for the past several years, but our agreement with the college was at an end – and the AAPG European office needed more space now that it has three staff.
AAPG indeed appreciates the generous support provided by Imperial College over the past several years in helping the fledgling office get established. We especially appreciate Dr. Howard Johnson and the support of Imperial College’s professors, students and staff.
Steve Veal, a past AAPG treasurer, is the director of the European Region office. Lika Chambers is conference manager and January Arnold is the office assistant.
The London office is an extension of AAPG headquarters, and its primary duties are to support the membership and leadership in the European Region by providing membership services such as conferences, workshops, short courses and technical lunches.
Six years ago AAPG decided to decentralize some of its operations in order to provide member services worldwide. As a result two types of offices were considered to extend operations:
The Middle East Office was recently approved as a Type I office, and incorporation should be complete this spring. AAPG plans to office with our GEO Middle East partner, Arabian Exhibition Management in Manama, Bahrain.
Abeer Al-Zubaidi is the director of the Middle Office, and she has been very busy contacting companies for program support and memberships. We recently completed a joint educational conference with the Dhahran Geoscience Society the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.
One of the primary duties of the Middle East office is to work with the Middle East Region council in the development of the technical program for GEO Middle East, which will be held in March 2010.
In addition, Abeer is working to develop several Geoscience Technology Workshops, or GTWs. These workshops are designed for quick development on current “hot” topics.
The Middle East and European offices also are working on a joint GTW on Unconventional Gas Resources. It is scheduled for June 22 -24 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Additionally, the AAPG Executive Committee has approved the development of a Type II Region office in Singapore. We are currently applying for incorporation in Singapore. An office site has been selected, and Alan Wegener, AAPG’s global development director, and Carol McGowan, AAPG’s Regions and Sections manager, are interviewing potential prospects to run the office.
Of course, AAPG’s first extended office is the GEO-DC office in Washington, D.C. David Curtiss is the director of this office, and he is very busy providing information to congress and the administration.
The Division of Professional Affairs also supports this office with volunteers and partial financial support.
Additionally, AAPG is considering a Type II office in Calgary to extend services. We also are considering an offer by SPE to rent a small office in Houston. Future expansion of the current office and development of new offices will depend greatly on the economic situation.
We continue to evaluate the economy of opening offices worldwide. A recession is not necessarily the best time to expand. But as AAPG expands, the offices are critical to provide member services.
The offices also provide a liability shield plus tax and finance advantages for the Association.
The reality is the opportunities exist now. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming, so it is important we continue to follow our strategic goals.
Richard D. "Rick" Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, has been AAPG Executive Director since 1999.