The AAPG Europe Region joined with the Moroccan Association of Petroleum Geologists to hold the second International Joint MAPG and AAPG Conference and Exhibition in Marrakech in early October.
The conference theme, “Northwest Africa: Building on Past Success to Unlock Future Potential,” attracted more than 200 delegates and 10 exhibitors to the Mansour Eddahbi Palais des Congress for a comprehensive program of oral and poster presentations.
Delegates on a pre-conference field trip to the Ourika valley investigated the relationship between active tectonics and sedimentation in the High Atlas.
The first MAPG-AAPG conference took place in Marrakech in 2007. Since then, exploration activity has gathered pace, with acquisition of seismic data and exploration drilling taking place in both onshore and offshore areas. As a result of technological improvements, new exploration concepts have led to notable gas discoveries in Morocco and Mauritania.
Despite this surge of activity, however, the sedimentary basins of northwest Africa remain generally under-explored – and further potential exists for both conventional and unconventional resources.
The conference addressed the regional geology of northwest Africa with sessions on tectonics, stratigraphy, sedimentology and magmatism. Individual sessions were devoted to exploration in Morocco and Portugal. There were topical sessions on structural geology, including salt and shale tectonics. Other sessions covered exploration methods and technology, such as deep seismic profiling and non-seismic methods. The posters covered a wide range of subjects and included a number of student contributions.
On the final evening, participants attended a gala dinner at Borj Bladi on the outskirts of Marrakech, where delegates – while enjoying a typical Moroccan dinner served in a tent – were entertained by traditional Moroccan dancers. After dinner there was a display of horsemanship, with lots of gunfire and the opportunity to ride a camel.
The AAPG Europe Region thanks the conference co-chairs, Gabor Tari and Haddou Jabour, and the Advisory and Scientific Committees for creating an excellent technical program. The AAPG London office handled all the logistics very effectively under the leadership of the London director, Jeremy Richardson.
Thanks also go to our patron, the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment of Morocco, and to our sponsors, ONHYM, Circle Oil, Prospectiuni and Kosmos Energy.
Delegates and exhibitors commented favorably on the conference, and the Europe Region looks forward to further cooperation with the MAPG in the future.
Dave Cook is the past president of AAPG’s Europe Region.