Ideas Shared on South America Tour

With expertise as both a professor and consulting geologist, AAPG President Paul Weimer’s background is well-aligned with the energy industry renaissance currently under way in Latin America.

Weimer’s full title is “Professor, Bruce D. Benson Endowed Chair, University of Colorado Director of Energy and Minerals Applied Research Center, consulting geologist,” and during a recent AAPG visit to Latin America, Weimer captured the attention of university students, faculty and professionals alike with a half-day seminar on the future of conventional and unconventional resource plays.

Weimer’s tour – the third in a recent series of annual AAPG presidential visits to Latin America – spanned four countries in 11 days, with stops in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Lima and Bogota.

Latin America Region Vice President Victor Vega accompanied Weimer to Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, and then-AAPG vice president-Regions Alfredo Guzmán joined Weimer in Peru for his second visit to the country.

In each country, local affiliated societies hosted AAPG, coordinated logistics with universities and assisted with business appointments.

Thanks go to the leaders and members of Asociación Argentina de Geólogos y Geofísicos Petroleros, Asociacao Brasileira de Geologos de Petroleo, Sociedad Geologica del Peru, and Asociacion Colombiana de Geologos y Geofisicos del Petroleo for their hospitality. Meetings with these societies and leading companies helped define local education and training needs, along with future opportunities for industry-society-AAPG collaboration.

Among Weimer’s goals for his visit was outreach to universities and AAPG student chapters by teaching a seminar designed to give students a strong sense of the spectacular technology used by the petroleum industry, the future of their profession and what they can expect in their petroleum industry careers.

The seminar, titled “The Petroleum Industry in the Next Decade: An Overview of the Science, Technology and AAPG,” is intended for graduate students, upper-level undergraduate students and local professionals.

Weimer understood that the concepts of shale oil, shale gas and unconventional resource plays were new and not traditionally taught in Latin American universities.

“A slide showing a dramatic increase in Williston Basin oil production since 2005 really got the students’ attention and illustrated how the application of new technologies to unconventional resource plays has transformed the production of oil from just one formation,” Weimer said. “The Williston Basin was ranked 98th oil province in the world in terms of daily production – now, in just five years, it is ranked 13th in daily production, due to the Bakken resource play.

“I wanted students and professors to realize the major change that has occurred in petroleum systems concepts which enable exploration for unconventional resources,” he said. “These changes, now applied to exploration and production in North America, are coming to Latin America but will require training, new skills, new technologies, new ways of thinking.”

By the end of the trip Weimer had captured the attention of nearly 250 university students from 10 universities. In Bogota, six AAPG student chapters participated in the seminar.

In Lima, Weimer gave the presentation to Universidad de San Marcos students and then gave the same presentation to interested scientists from industry.

The seminar slides and exercise materials were donated to each university with the intent to motivate students to explore deeper in pursuit of energy industry careers.

Industry, Affiliates Meetings

At this time of intense industry activity in Latin America, leaders from 15 companies plus members of the local societies met with the AAPG delegation of Weimer, Vega and Guzmán.

The companies and societies consistently indicated strong interest in expanding their interaction with AAPG, hosting Geosciences Technology Workshops and regional AAPG lecturers.

Companies in turn were asked to encourage their young professionals to be an active part of AAPG programs. And ideas were discussed for company support of neighboring universities, such as regular interaction with student chapters, providing internships and serving as industry mentors for the Latin America Region Imperial Barrel Award Program.

In Brazil, Petrobras hosted the AAPG delegation at the newly expanded CENPES research center and laboratories dedicated to Petrobras pre-salt projects. While there, geoscientists from Petrobras discussed supporting the AAPG student chapter at nearby Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

ICE 2013 Kick Off

Highlighting the stop in Bogota was a reception hosted by the Colombian National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH) to celebrate and launch the AAPG 2013 International Conference and Exhibition in Cartagena.

ANH director Armando Zamora confirmed support of the 2013 ICE by the Colombian agency, and Enrique Velasquez, AAPG Latin American Region president and exploration vice president for Ecopetrol, pledged his company’s support for the conference.

Victor Vega, who will serve as the Bogota ICE general chair, explained the approach he plans for building the ICE technical program.

“Having the ICE in Colombia is a great opportunity for integration of the Latin America Region,” Vega said.

“The idea is that local associations from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru will help in putting together country-specific themes to discuss the most relevant topics related to exploration in their countries,” he added.

During meetings with leading upstream sector companies, the AAPG delegation personally invited companies from each country to participate in the Cartagena ICE and exchanged ideas for the program.

In Lima, for example, AAPG met with Pluspetrol, Savia, Petrobras and Compañía Española de Petróleos, Sociedad Anónima.

Ideas were discussed for fieldtrips to outcrops where the producing section of the Camisea gas field is fully exposed.

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