Division Column: DEG

Share the Facts About Energy

In this, my farewell column, I want to thank the people who have made my service as president of the Division of Environmental Geosciences (DEG) so rewarding.

A list of names would be too long, so I will try to cover my bases in categories.

  • My fellow officers have worked hard to move us forward and expand our membership; those who have agreed to run for office for the coming year also have my gratitude.
  • Our advisers from across the country, and from the few Regions for whom we have advisers, have given valuable advice and direction.
  • The Region presidents who are working right now to help DEG find an adviser for every Region will make our Advisory Council even stronger.
  • Those who have worked to produce the Environmental Geosciences journal have produced an outstanding set of issues – thanks to the top-level editors, all of the associate editors and, of course, all who have submitted articles for publication. Keep them coming!
  • Committee chairs have been responsive, helping to bring DEG sessions and short courses to the upcoming Denver convention and for the New Orleans convention next year. We even have a head start on the Houston convention – we already have four sessions set for 2011.
  • Finally, many thanks to the AAPG headquarters staff for helping to upgrade our Web site; for keeping us on track and at least close to meeting deadlines; for their support in convention planning; and for the many other ways in which they support our efforts.

The DEG was established in 1992, when “the House of Delegates of the Association indicated support for the concept that basic environmental issues be addressed from a geological point of view, thereby transferring the profession’s understanding of geological, geochemical, geophysical and hydrogeological principles and methodologies to the solutions of environmental problems.”

It seems that basic environmental issues are often divorced from scientific reasoning of any kind, at least in the popular media. U.S. President Obama has vowed to bring science into the forefront of environmental issues, and we need to vigorously step forward and offer our perspectives and our expertise.

We need to gain recognition for the fact that the petroleum industry is investing billions in developing new energy technologies and carbon mitigation technologies, as well as in energy efficiency, advanced technology vehicles and non-hydrocarbon fuels – far more than is being invested by the federal government.

All this at the same time our industry is taxed at a far higher rate than other industries, while our earnings are in line with the average of U.S. manufacturing industries!

Getting these messages out should be a priority for anyone who has access to an audience. I highly recommend that you read the new April 2009 American Petroleum Institute publication “Energizing America: Facts for Addressing Energy Policy”.

Share these facts about energy – I spent an entire lecture on this material in my Environmental Science class last week.


I hope to see many of you in Denver, and I hope that you choose to attend our sessions, which include:

  • Imagining a Carbon Constrained World: EOR Using Anthropogenic CO2and Other Options.
  • Near-Surface Geophysical Applications for Environmental Solutions, Groundwater and Site Remediation.
  • Carbon Dioxide Capture and Geologic Sequestration.
  • Our Energy Forum (held jointly with DPA and EMD).

We also are offering the forum concerning Global Climate Change – Anticipating a Carbon Constrained Future: Implications for the Fossil Fuel Industry (DEG/AAPG/GCCC), and our luncheon speaker will address the Cooperative Aquifer Restoration Project, Fort Peck Indian Reservation – a Multi-Agency Success Story.

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Division Column-DEG

Division Column-DEG Rebecca Dodge

Rebecca Dodge, of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, is DEG President for 2008-09.

Division Column DEG

The Division of Environmental Geosciences (DEG), a division of AAPG, is concerned with increasing awareness of the environment and the petroleum industry and providing AAPG with a scientific voice in the public arena. Among its objectives are educating members about important environmental issues, supporting and encouraging research on the effects of exploration and production on the environment, and communicating scientific information to concerned governmental agencies.

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Oil degradation in the Gullfaks field led to hydrogeochemical processes that caused high CO2 partial pressure and a massive release of sodium into the formation water. Hydrogeochemical modeling of the inorganic equilibrium reactions of water-rock-gas interactions allows us to quantitatively analyze the pathways and consequences of these complex interconnected reactions. This approach considers interactions among mineral assemblages (anorthite, albite, K-feldspar, quartz, kaolinite, goethite, calcite, dolomite, siderite, dawsonite, and nahcolite), various aqueous solutions, and a multicomponent fixed-pressure gas phase (CO2, CH4, and H2) at 4496-psi (31-mPa) reservoir pressure. The modeling concept is based on the anoxic degradation of crude oil (irreversible conversion of n-alkanes to CO2, CH4, H2, and acetic acid) at oil-water contacts. These water-soluble degradation products are the driving forces for inorganic reactions among mineral assemblages, components dissolved in the formation water, and a coexisting gas at equilibrium conditions.

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