I recently had someone ask me why geologists engaged in oil and natural gas exploration and production should be members of AAPG.
It’s a very good question – and frankly, something that we should spend more time talking about.
Why become an AAPG member?
The first reason why practicing petroleum geologists should be AAPG members is to stay current with the science.
Our members’ career paths include industry, academia and government. Some are directly engaged in finding and producing hydrocarbons. Others focus on understanding fundamental earth processes or developing new technologies to improve E&P success. Still others teach and train the next generation of oil and gas professionals. And some of our members work to ensure that these natural resources, which underpin modern society, are developed and delivered to consumers in a responsible manner.
The common element of each of these groups is a need to understand the science of petroleum geology.
That is an essential member benefit provided by AAPG through the BULLETIN and Environmental Geosciences, our two peer-reviewed journals. The many other publications and products – both paper and digital – available through the AAPG bookstore, Datapages and GIS-UDRIL also fill this need.
AAPG meetings are another great source of science information. This fall I had the opportunity to visit the Eastern Section meeting in Washington, D.C., and the Mid-Continent Section meeting in Oklahoma City. Both were well organized, well attended and provided attendees with a first-look at both emerging plays and well-established plays experiencing a renaissance thanks to new ideas and technologies.
If you want evidence that finding petroleum is a blend of science, technology and creativity, I urge you to attend an AAPG Section meeting.
As an Association we also recognize just how multidisciplinary the process of finding oil and natural gas is. That is why we cooperate with other societies on meetings that bring geologists, geophysicists and engineers together to explore how these disciplines intersect.
One example of this is the International Petroleum Technology Conference, coming up in just a few weeks in Bangkok, Thailand. IPTC, an annual event that rotates between the Middle East and Asia, is sponsored by AAPG, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Society for Exploration Geophysicists and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The goal of its technical program is to communicate technological advances and best practices throughout the exploration and production process.
In short, it’s about helping attendees do their jobs better.
And that brings me to the second reason I gave for being a member of AAPG – namely, opportunities for professional development.
Ask a geologist active in resource plays, such as shale gas, how they stay on top of advances and they’ll tell you it takes effort. Technological changes and scientific advances are accelerating, and what was best practice in the basin you’re working in six months ago has likely been replaced by a new approach or tool.
That’s where AAPG’s education programs, particularly the Geoscience Technology Workshops, deliver significant value. These focused technical programs not only disseminate current science and technology, but also provide a forum for networking with fellow members.
It is this exchange between instructors and attendees that make GTWs such a valuable learning experience – and what drew a sell-out crowd to the International Shale Plays GTW in Houston last month.
AAPG membership also provides opportunity for recognition by your peers and to build a professional network. Both are valuable in an industry as subject to boom and bust cycles as ours.
As a working professional it’s the reputation and personal brand you develop over the course of a career, combined with the contacts in your network that will determine your response to any future industry volatility. AAPG membership helps do both.
So those were my answers: Science and professional development opportunities are the two main reasons why a practicing petroleum geologist should be an AAPG member.
What would you say?
Drop me an email and give me a few sentences describing why you became a member of AAPG and what benefits you receive.
How do you maximize the return on your AAPG membership investment?
We’ll take a look at some of your responses and discuss how to take your membership to the next level in a future column.
Until then, keep exploring!