Demonstrating the Benefits of Membership

July 2011: The ritual changing of the guard at AAPG leadership – but this year will perhaps bring more change than usual.

At this transition point, I’d first like to thank the outgoing members of the Executive Committee: David Rensink (president), David Hawk (chair-House of Delegates), Alfredo Guzmán (vice president-Regions) and Bill Houston (secretary). The continuing members of the EC also deserve praise: Marv Brittenham (vice president-Sections), Jim McGhay (treasurer) and Steve Laubach (Elected Editor).

It has truly been a privilege during the past year to work with this talented group. They have all served membership well, and they will continue to do so by working on the ad hoc Search Committee for the new executive director.

I also welcome the incoming members of the EC: Jeff Lund (chairman-House of Delegates) and newly elected officers Ted Beaumont (president-elect), Stuart Harker (vice president-Regions) and Denise Cox (secretary).

I look forward to working with all of them in the coming year.


Now we turn our thoughts to the future of AAPG and our profession in the short and long term – a topic on all of our minds as the petroleum industry makes political and environmental headlines, technology continues to accelerate and record numbers of geoscience workers retire.

At the AAPG Leadership Days Conference in August 2010, President David Rensink asked David Blanchard and me to organize a breakout session with the theme “AAPG in 2035.” The ensuing conversation was most informative in hearing the group’s wide range of views (about 35 people participated).

My take-home learning from that meeting: Almost everyone agrees on where AAPG needs to be in 15 to 25 years, but people disagree widely on how that might be accomplished.

With these learnings in mind, here are some of the contributions I plan to make as AAPG president.

For the coming year, I want to expand upon the goals articulated by my predecessor, David Rensink, in terms of AAPG taking a long-term view of itself.

Our future is purchased through the investment we make today. Therefore, I have decided to invest my time by presenting a half-day short course, free-of-charge, for students and professionals around the world – “The Petroleum Industry in the Next Decade: An Overview to the Science, Technology and AAPG.”

The purpose of this short course is to give students and professionals a strong sense of the spectacular technology with which we work, how much E&P concepts have changed during the past three to four years with the rapid evolution in developing unconventional resources, the future of their profession and what they can expect in their careers.

Along the way, the benefits of AAPG membership will become clear.

Specifically, this short course will address the following themes:

  • Rejuvenation of old fields: conventional (and now unconventional) accumulations.
  • Frontier exploration in conventional accumulations.
  • Introduction to unconventional resources: tight-gas sandstones.
  • The future: assumptions (supply and demand), technology (seismic, how we interpret), more on unconventional resources, why belong to AAPG.

The first three themes will be addressed via 50-minute lectures with exercises. For each exercise I will give the students some basic materials to interpret (e.g. seismic profiles, well logs). I will walk through the interpretation of the exercise with them, and then give a summary lecture.

The final lecture will be a look forward (i.e. AAPG in 2035) – where is our industry headed, how can you expect to work (e.g. evolving interpretation technologies, evolving drilling and completion techniques, new play concepts), where will you work and, most importantly, why it is critical that you join AAPG and stay a member throughout your career.

I will emphasize that I could not have given this same lecture three years ago, because industry has changed so much during that time.


As much as I would enjoy it, I cannot travel to all countries and universities, so hard choices have to be made. My itinerary will be announced on the AAPG website and distributed to membership in each region. With this publicity, I hope that many students and professionals will be able to participate in this course.


One final note: All of this travel is possible because of the sustained support of membership. In addition, there are two individuals at the University of Colorado who also have made this possible: Lang Farmer (Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences) and Bruce Benson (President of the University of Colorado and an AAPG member since 1965).

To all, I extend my humble thanks.

As our profession continues to evolve, I embrace the opportunity to serve during this coming year. I look forward to collaborating with and learning from as many of you as possible.

Onward ...

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