Realities Check: Moving Forward Through Change

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Just a few years ago, when most of us believed that peak oil had occurred or would very soon, I worried about how much longer AAPG would survive past its 100th anniversary, which comes up in just four years.

At that time we all were making assumptions about the future based on the current “realities.” Now it seems safe to say that AAPG will be around for at least 25 more years, and the question becomes:

Will there be a 200th anniversary?

Indeed, the recent shale gas revolution caused petroleum geologists to rethink assumptions that we commonly held.

The result?

New theories evolved that sought to explain how gas could be produced from shale.

Papers were presented at AAPG meetings and symposiums, expounding those new theories.

Many of those theories were published in the AAPG BULLETIN and in the online journal Search and Discovery.

Exploration for unconventional reservoirs requires petroleum geologists to learn more about things that we once considered esoteric. Now, for example, we must absorb concepts of rock mechanics, basin modeling and analytical geochemistry.

Petroleum geologists also need a better understanding of well drilling and completion, which until recently were the territory only of petroleum engineers.

Over the past year, the AAPG Executive Committee made science a priority.

By delivering state-of-the-art geologic concepts to its members, AAPG helps make them more effective explorers and developers of the world’s petroleum resources – therefore anything we can do to strengthen AAPG’s scientific efforts makes AAPG more valuable and indispensable to its members.

Shale gas and, more recently, tight oil are some of the latest examples of the critical importance of sharing information – and AAPG has several vehicles for that purpose.

AAPG’s flagship, the BULLETIN, has a long tradition (almost 96 years) of publishing high quality, peer-reviewed papers.

The EXPLORER provides news of the industry and its people.

AAPG’s online, open-access journal, Search and Discovery publishes hundreds of papers (approximately 860 in 2012) each year that were presented at meetings and would never be published elsewhere.

Soon AAPG will publish memoirs and other science as e-books.

Clearly, AAPG is evolving to meet the new science needs of its members.

Along those same lines, the AAPG Executive Committee approved two important new changes during the past fiscal year:

Beginning this fall the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and the AAPG will publish a new journal called “Interpretation.” It is intended to create a synergism between SEG’s technological expertise and AAPG’s geological proficiency.

The other very critical new development approved by this year’s Executive Committee is the creation of a new technical division to be called the Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division .

The Executive Committee envisions this new division as the first of many other technical divisions that will invigorate AAPG’s science program – which is our heart and soul.

I believe that AAPG will celebrate its 200th anniversary. One thing is certain, though – it will not be the same organization it is today.

Old assumptions will again and again be challenged, and then revised or discarded as we go forward – because in order for AAPG to last another 100 years it must evolve to stay true to its mission of advancing the science of petroleum geology by delivering high quality, timely scientific information to its members.

It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as AAPG president for the past year. AAPG is blessed with a talented staff – they, under the leadership of AAPG Executive Director David Curtiss, make serving as an AAPG officer a real pleasure. My special thanks to them.

And my special thanks, too, to all members who generously donate their time, information and ideas to AAPG.

You make AAPG the special organization that it is.

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President's Column

President's Column - Ted Beaumont

Edward A. "Ted" Beaumont, AAPG President (2012-13), is an independent consultant with Cimarex Energy.

President's Column

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