A Year With An Eye on the Future

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

My year of presidential service began with the Macondo blowout and ends with the search for a new AAPG executive director. In between these benchmarks was an eventful year.

We began this year with about a half-dozen goals, and I think we have fulfilled most of them.

First, this has been a good year financially. Thanks to successful conferences in Calgary and Houston, we should have an operating net profit for this fiscal year.

AAPG is a not-for-profit organization, but that does not mean we do not want to show a profit periodically to balance those years when we close the year with a loss. On balance, AAPG spends every dollar that comes in the door.

We have tried to provide you with some new member services. We launched Search and Discovery Digest, and we opened up Datapages to individual subscriptions. If you are not receiving Search and Discovery Digest, you need to update your email address in your member profile.

We re-invigorated an analysis of our programs to determine if they are meeting our expected contributions to the membership – and if they are cost-effective.

Cost effectiveness not only relates to the outlay of funds, but also to the time requirements of our staff. We have twice as many programs today as we did 10 years ago, and we have virtually the same staff level. Clearly, human resources in the form of staff time is a premium asset for AAPG.

The first program to suffer under this analysis is the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC). PTTC is an asset to small producers. Unfortunately, PTTC depends primarily on government funding to support its programs.

That is a difficult business model to sustain in this economic environment.

In addition, the Department of Energy has strongly suggested that PTTC’s programs should concentrate on the environment and safety. These are definitely laudable areas of focus for our industry, but they are not primary focus areas for AAPG.

The long-term viability of AAPG is not only dependent upon our financial stability; it is also dependent on our ability to anticipate changes to our business environment and on our ability to react to them in a positive manner.

That is the impetus behind the “AAPG in 2035” campaign.

We need to have a long-term view of what AAPG can and should be in the future. What affects the petroleum industry affects AAPG. The changes in the demographics of the industry will be mirrored within AAPG. We need to be in a position to take full advantage of those changes.

It has been a distinct pleasure to be associated with and to lead this year’s executive committee.

I particularly want to express my appreciation for having been able to spend the last two years on the Executive Committee with Alfredo Guzmán, vice president – Regions, and Bill Houston, secretary. My longtime friend and former classmate, David Hawk, soon to be past chair of the House of Delegates, will be joining me on the Advisory Council next year.

At this point, all I can say is thank you for the opportunity to have been your president.

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