Upon Reflection, Some Things Haven’t Changed

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Clearly old guys should not reflect on their careers in public; it apparently is not a pretty sight.

I was standing on the exhibit floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center at NAPE (North American Prospect Exposition) in mid-February considering the fact that we will be standing there this month at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, and reflecting on the path that has taken me to this point in my career. I apparently had a funny look on my face, because one of our members asked if I was feeling all right.

Fortunately, melancholy is not a fatal condition.


NAPE 2011 once again was a popular venue to buy and sell prospects.
NAPE 2011 once again was a popular venue to buy and sell prospects.

NAPE, as the name implies, is a venue to buy and sell prospects (see related story, page 60). It also is a place to network and re-establish connections with former colleagues. Many companies, which may not have prospects to sell or have no current interest in acquiring prospects, exhibit at NAPE merely to keep their names visible to the industry.

Success in this industry can depend on whom you know as much as on what you know.

During my visit to NAPE I stopped by a few booths simply to watch the geologists as they attempted to sell their prospects to prospective investors. As much as the technology has advanced since I started in this industry, the mechanics of selling a drilling prospect has not changed much. It still involves – at a minimum – a map demonstrating the structure and trapping configuration, a log that characterizes the reservoir, well information that sets up the prospect and a seismic line that ties it all together.

Granted, more data than that went into the generation of the prospect, but those displays are all that are needed to generate an interest in the prospect.

It was true 40 years ago and it is still true today, that the judicious use of color sells prospects. It draws attention to and keeps the focus on the area of interest. There is no better way to see subtle variations – and that is particularly true on seismic data.

Do people really buy deals on the exhibit floor of NAPE based on the strength of that sort of presentation?

The answer is a qualified yes – qualified, because commitments are made subject to a due diligence examination of all the data pertaining to the prospect and the execution of mutually acceptable agreements.

A high level of trust is extended by both parties in such a handshake agreement. The buyer trusts that the prospect is as portrayed, but will still verify it through a thorough examination of all available data. The seller trusts the buyer will honor the financial commitments, but will verify it through the execution of a suitable operating agreement.

As I noted in this column last month, professional ethics are as integral to the practice of geology as is the science.


You have no doubt heard that AAPG Executive Director Rick Fritz is leaving AAPG after the annual meeting to return to the industry. We all reach a point in our careers when it is time to make a change, and for Rick that point is now.

I want to thank Rick for all of the hard work and the long hours he has expended as executive director of AAPG. I also want to congratulate him for the many successes he has enjoyed and made possible in that position. AAPG has benefited greatly under his stewardship.

Rick, you will be missed.


I also want to thank Steve Levine , the general chair of our upcoming AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, and his entire Convention Organizing Committee for the work and dedication involved in staging what looks to be another terrific conference when we meet April 10-13.

The fact that the culmination of my year as your president will be held in my adopted hometown is truly awesome.

I hope you will join me in Houston.

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President's Column - David G. Rensink

David G. Rensink, AAPG President (2010-11), is a consultant out of Houston. He retired from Apache Corp in 2009.

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

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