Taking Steps to Foster and Advance Science

Here at headquarters we are busy with final preparations for the trip to Pittsburgh for AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) from May 19-22. The organizing committee has done a magnificent job getting ready for this meeting, and participants will experience a rich technical program of talks and posters on a wide variety of topics.

ACE is one important way AAPG seeks to achieve its strategic goal of being indispensable to the energy geoscientist, providing opportunities for scientific and professional growth as well as networking.

Being indispensable is an ambitious goal – and in my mind it is all about relevance and value.

Are AAPG’s products and services relevant to the global petroleum geoscience community?

Do they provide value to members and are they attractive to non-members?

Is what we’re currently doing moving us toward our goal, or do we need to innovate and seek new ways to provide more relevant content and value?

Ok, that last one was a rhetorical question: AAPG must innovate in order to remain relevant, let alone become indispensable.

We must continually look for new and better ways to serve the petroleum geoscience community.


Our House of Delegates will be voting on a proposal in Pittsburgh that has the potential to be an innovative step to boost AAPG’s relevance.

The proposal is to form a new technical division focused on structural geology and geomechanics. And the request emerged from a group of experts that have been meeting at ACE annually for nearly a decade. They represent both industry and academia, and are focused on the application of structure and geomechanics to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

In its evaluation and approval of the request, the Executive Committee saw an opportunity to support and harness the commitment and energy of this group and align them with AAPG’s mission of advancing science. If approved, the new Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division’s exclusive focus will be on pursuing new scientific insights and breakthroughs, and then disseminating those through the many channels that AAPG provides, including:

  • Hedberg conferences.
  • Geoscience Technology Workshops (GTWs).
  • Special sessions at ACE and ICE.
  • Publications.
  • Theme issues of the BULLETIN.

The new Division’s members benefit directly from being part of the process that leads to the insights and breakthroughs. AAPG’s members and global petroleum community benefit from access to this information – and as a global geoscience Association we provide relevant and valuable content and take a step closer to becoming indispensable.

One concern that has been expressed to me by several members and House Delegates is that the proposed new Division is too specialized. After all, most practicing geologists do structural geology as part of their daily work. What makes these Division folks so special?

My response is threefold:

First, if structural geology or geomechanics really appeal to you and you want to work with your industry and academic peers to advance this part of the geosciences, then please get involved with this new Division!

Second, if your desire is to stay abreast of the leading thinking in the field of structural geology and geomechanics, then take advantage of the opportunities to learn from this group through the meetings and publications they produce.

Third, if you have absolutely no interest in these disciplines, simply be aware that AAPG wants to support those who are strongly committed to the advancement of the petroleum geosciences.

But if you fall into that third category, I’d ask you to consider: Which geoscience discipline or practice does appeal to you? Is it sedimentology and stratigraphy, geochemistry, petroleum systems and basin modeling, reservoir characterization, development geology, risk assessment or reserves calculations?

I can foresee technical divisions in these areas – and more – if we can identify a core group of industry practitioners and academics who want to take up the challenge of advancing the science.

As geologists we are integrators. We use the findings from myriad geoscience disciplines, chemistry, physics, biology and engineering to find oil and natural gas. Bridging the gap between the specialist and generalist is an essential part of our job as an Association. The better we do this, the more relevant we will be.

Will this approach work? Can AAPG create a better system to foster and support scientific advances and breakthroughs? Can we more effectively disseminate that content to our members and customers to demonstrate our relevance?

Can we truly become indispensable?

Let’s take this step forward and find out.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - David Curtiss

David Curtiss is an AAPG member and was named AAPG Executive Director in August 2011. He was previously Director of the AAPG GEO-DC Office in Washington D.C.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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