My Agenda: Doing What We Do Better

During my candidacy and year as president-elect I often was asked about my agenda for AAPG.

My response: It is to help ensure that AAPG provides as much or more benefit to our members throughout their careers as it has for me.

I did not stand for office with any specific agenda relating to membership, governance, products or services. My year as president-elect has been very insightful, however, and provided me with a better understanding of the many challenges facing AAPG as it approaches its centennial.

What are some of these challenges?

Well, simply making sure AAPG is technologically up-to-date in how we manage and communicate our science is a major challenge.


The methods by which organizations and people are connecting and communicating are rapidly changing in response to evolving information technologies. The rate at which data and information are generated also has accelerated, and consideration must be given to making sure we deliver accurate and valuable information in a timely manner.

There also is a lot more competition - from both for-profit organizations as well as non-profit sister societies - in terms of recruiting members, developing products and communicating science.

Doing what we always have done and doing it the way we have done it may have worked great for the first 100 years, but if AAPG doesn't adapt and change to do things in line with today's highly technological and highly competitive world, we may not be around to see another 100 years.


So many things in regard to the way we do business have changed since I went to work in the 1970s. In the '70s petroleum professionals did not work in teams; rather, geologists were organizationally and physically separate from geophysicists - and both were separate from engineers.

Everything was on paper; seismic interpretation, well-log correlation, well data information (How many of you recall "scout tickets?"). Then along came the personal computer and workstations, the "integrated team" concept, widespread satellite communication, the Internet, cell phones and, more recently, smart phones.

Everything now is "real time." Employees are on call 24/7. Everything in our lives, our industry and our society is accelerating exponentially.

AAPG must be able to nimbly and efficiently anticipate as well as respond to this changing landscape, so that we are poised to take advantage of new opportunities that arise and discard outdated strategies, technologies, products and services.


One of the initiatives developed by my predecessor, President Lee Krystinik, to help AAPG thrive is the "Three-Year Business Plan," the purpose of which is to ensure that the activities of all aspects of AAPG - including Divisions, committees, Regions, Sections, subsidiaries and headquarters - are focused on streamlining and focusing AAPG's efforts to achieve its strategic and tactical objectives.

The implementation of this three-year business plan will ensure more continuity of planning and business operations from one EC to the next, as well as provide better financial stability for AAPG.

The Advisory Council (AC), our strategic planning body, also put forth a number of proposals last year aimed at discussing and evaluating options to help AAPG morph into an organization that is able and ready to take on the various scientific, technological and business opportunities the future holds.

These proposals include evaluating:

  • AAPG's organizational structure and governance.
  • The terms of office for AAPG officers and the whole election process.
  • How to best develop and incorporate TIGS and SIGS into AAPG.

Implementation of the three-year business plan and evaluation of the various AC proposals are just some of the things the EC will address over the course of the year.


Below is a quote that is often incorrectly attributed to Charles Darwin, but is actually a summation of Darwin's work by a management professor at LSU in the early 1960s.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.

This year, we're going to do our best to make sure AAPG is ready for the future. Changes are not only on the way, they're already here.

Doing what we do better is our first step toward tomorrow.

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President's Column

President's Column - Randi Martinsen

Randi Martinsen, AAPG President (2014-15), is principal with Hydrocarbon InSight in Laramie, Wyo.

President's Column

AAPG Presidents offer thoughts and information about their experiences for the Association. 

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See Also: ACE Call for Papers

Call for abstracts is open for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists with SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) and Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG) invite you to join us for the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition 19–22 June, 2016, plus pre- & post-events, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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See Also: Bulletin Article

Although the linkages among surface sediments, geomorphic forms, and hydrodynamics in Holocene ooid tidal sand shoals have been evaluated recently, how these factors are reflected in the geomorphic evolution and stratigraphic record of shoals is less constrained. Yet, such understanding is essential to developing meaningful predictive conceptual models of three-dimensional architecture of ancient reservoir analogs. Integrating remote-sensing imagery, high-frequency seismic data, and core characterization from Lily Bank, a modern tidally dominated Bahamian ooid shoal in which sedimentologic processes are well documented, reveals the stratigraphic record of geomorphic change. An irregular, gently dipping rocky surface (interpreted as the top Pleistocene) with no pronounced topographic high underlies the Holocene oolitic succession. A 6-m (20-ft)–thick poorly sorted, gravelly muddy sand with few ooids overlies this basal surface. This lower interval is overlain by sand with an upward increase in proportion of ooids, sorting, and grain size. The uppermost unit, present only under active bar forms, is well-sorted oolitic medium sand with accretionary foresets. Sediments vary stratigraphically and geomorphically; the lower unit is finer and less well sorted than the upper units, and in the oolitic upper unit, sediment size and sorting on bar crests are distinct from bar flanks. Collectively, these results suggest that a marked antecedent bump is not necessary for occurrence of ooid shoals and that the stratigraphic record of analogous ooid shoal systems may preserve clues of geomorphic position, as well as geobody size and orientation.
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Volumetric restoration can provide crucial insights into the structural evolution of three-dimensional (3-D) petroleum systems. A major limitation to its widespread application is the need to include complex architectures and realistic mechanics such as flexural slip. We apply an implicit approach that allows for, including unconformities, thin and/or pinched-out layers in the models but that cannot explicitly localize slip along horizons. To take advantage of this approach while accounting for flexural slip in 3-D restoration, we investigate new geomechanical properties. We consider flexural slip folding as a result of stacked rigid and thin weak layers, which can be modeled using transversely isotropic properties. We compare restorations of an anticline using transversely isotropic properties, isotropic properties, and a stack of rigid isotropic layers with nonfrictional slip between the layers. Our results show that transversely isotropic properties reasonably approximate flexural slip folding. We use these new tools to model the evolution of a complex system located in the Niger Delta toe. The system includes a detachment fold, a fault-bend fold, and a structural wedge formed in series. Growth stratigraphy and erosional surfaces delimit the kinematics of deformation. Regional erosive surfaces, 3-D gradients of fault slip, and vertical variations in mechanical strength motivated the use of our new restoration techniques. Restoring two growth units results not only in reinforcing the interpretation that the area is behaving as a deforming thrust sheet at critical taper, but also in highlighting coeval activity on both the hinterland structures and the toe of the thrust belt.
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A three-dimensional seismic data set and published data from exploration wells were used to reconstruct the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Mandal High area, southern North Sea, Norway. The Mandal High is an elongated southeast-northwest–trending horst. Three fault families in the Lower Permian sequence, inherited from the basement structural grain of Caledonian origin, are interpreted: (1) a north-northwest–south-southeast–striking fault family, (2) a northeast-southwest–striking fault family, and (3) a near east-west–striking fault family. In addition, an east-southeast–west-northwest–striking fault family (4) that formed during Late Jurassic rifting and was reverse reactivated in the Late Cretaceous is interpreted. We suggest that inversion occurred because of small dextral motion along fault family 1. A final fault family (5) displays various strike orientations and is associated with salt movements.

Seven chronostratigraphic sequences defined by well data and recognized on three-dimensional seismic data are interpreted and mapped: Early Permian rifting in a continental environment; Late Permian deposition of the Zechstein salt and flooding; Triassic continental rifting; uplift and erosion in the Middle Jurassic with deposition of shallow-marine and deltaic sediments; rifting and transgression in a deep-marine environment during the Late Jurassic; a post-rift phase in a marine environment during the Early Cretaceous; and flooding and deposition of the Chalk Group in the Late Cretaceous. An eighth sequence was interpreted—Paleogene–Neogene—but has not been studied in detail. This sequence is dominated by progradation from the east and basin subsidence. Well and seismic data over the Mandal High reveal that large parts of the high were subaerially exposed from Late Permian to Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous, providing a local source of sediments for adjacent basins.

Similar to the Utsira High, where several large hydrocarbon discoveries have been recently seen, the Mandal High might consist of a set of petroleum plays, including fractured crystalline basement and shallow-marine systems along the flanks of the high, thereby opening up future exploration opportunities.

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See Also: Student Outlook

AAPG Visiting Geoscientist Ray Leonard completes visit to the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

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