It Was a Very Good Year for Europe Region

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Contributors: Jeremy Richardson

Oh, to be a landlord in central London at this time; it seems to be the time for them to begin cashing in on their property assets.

What has this to do with petroleum geology, you ask? Well, at this moment, for us in the AAPG Europe office in London, quite a lot.

We have had a proper AAPG Europe office in London for five years, and the lease on our premises expires at the end of December – we have now far outgrown the office space, we are bursting at the seams so we have to find new premises.

We really want to stay in the same area of London – it’s very central and handy for members to pop in for a visit. We have found a few nice office spaces over the past three months, but the rents are rising rapidly and the landlords are being very cagey and playing a waiting game – and we have been unable to seal a deal.

The waiting game is frustrating, as we have to vacate our offices by Christmas.
It will be all right in the end, of course, and by the time you read this I am sure we will be organized and looking forward to the move – and we look forward to welcoming you to our new AAPG Europe office in the new year.

We have had a very busy and eventful last 12 months, which most recently culminated in the appointment of our new Europe Region President Keith Gerdes from Shell, who took over from Vlasta Dvorakova.

Vlasta has had a great and very influential presidency in Europe. She is never slow in volunteering her time and ideas and helping in all areas of the Europe Regions operation. Thank you, Vlasta, from all at AAPG in the London office.

We now welcome Keith, who brings with him a wealth of experience; we look forward to sharing his huge compendium of contacts and friendships in the industry.

Within the last year there have been some excellent events produced in Europe, from Educational Weeks in Lisbon, Budapest and Aberdeen to our established E&P conferences and exhibitions, our monthly Oil Finders Lunches in Aberdeen and a variety of topical GTWs and conferences distributed widely around Europe – as well as all our student activities and the AAPG-AAPG Foundation Imperial Barrel Award program.

The first of the APPEX Regional conferences was launched in Istanbul in November 2012, and it was followed up this year with the second of these Regional events in Athens in November 2013.

2013 started with a London conference on “Carbon Capture and Storage,” chaired by Stuart Haszeldine and organized jointly with the Geological Society of London. It was a busy two-day conference (attracting more than 25 speakers from all over the world) that looked at the economic and regulatory context of CCS, current and near-future research and developments, as well as an update on projects and studied utilization, storage and monitoring.

Next up in February was a unique event on “Induced Seismicity,” under the chairmanship of Peter Styles – a very topical subject for Britain and Europe that attracted 24 speakers and nearly 100 delegates.

Global demand for energy has spurred development and deployment of technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and other forms of well stimulation, to extract this energy from the ground. This energy production is now frequently occurring in populated areas, prompting public concern about whether extracting and injecting fluids can generate seismic events.

This was a very interesting and thought-provoking event, and will be followed up in February with the second in this series.

APPEX Global, our E&P conference and exhibition held in March in London, was the biggest and best ever; 85 exhibitors and getting on toward 1,000 delegates made the trip to London’s Business Design Centre, where all the great and the good from the world of international E&P met to discuss and look at prospects and plays from around the world.

Delegates from 42 countries attended this year’s Global APPEX, making this a truly international event.

A date for your diary: The next APPEX Global is 11-13 March, again at the Business Design Centre. Now with new much larger facilities let’s see if we can achieve more than 1,000 attendees from the E&P industry.

At the end of March we held the Regional finals of the AAPG-AAPG Foundation Imperial Barrel Awards, which is now a huge and global competition.

Within an eight-week window it gives geoscience graduate students the opportunity to analyze a dataset (comprising geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure and other relevant materials). They present their findings to a very senior panel of industry professional in Prague, and a winner is chosen.

This year the winner was from Manchester University; they were then flown to the IBA finals in Pittsburgh in May.

The AAPG Europe Region has a competition with over 20 teams from European universities competing, the “cream” of the geoscience graduates – and a great opportunity for them to get some real industry experience and a chance for future employers to look at these students in an actual business environment.

(We hate to turn away universities, but the competition costs the Europe Region alone over $200,000 – so if you want to see more universities taking part please contact the AAPG Europe office and donate a little money to help us make ends meet and give the students a helping hand on their first step into our industry. Typically it costs us around $7,500 to pay for a university team to take part in the competition.)

In April we ran our Europe Regional Conference and Exhibition in Barcelona, which attracted great support from the industry and proved to be a very successful event that covered exploration in basins within and around the Mediterranean Sea.

Exploration activity has increased – particularly in the eastern Mediterranean – over the past few years and significant oil and gas discoveries have been made in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Israel, thanks to improved seismic imaging and deepwater drilling technology alongside new play concepts.

We re-evaluated the whole of the Mediterranean in the light of these new ideas and discoveries.

Over 420 delegates attended and 100 presentations were chosen from 289 abstracts submitted with more than 80 posters also on display.

The 2014 event will be held again in Barcelona, co-chaired by Tomas Zapata from Repsol and Luis Cabrera from the University of Barcelona. With support from CEPSA, the Spanish Association of Petroleum Geologists and Geophysicists. (AGGEP), the Spanish Society of Geologists (SG) and the University of Zaragoza, the theme for next years’ event will be “New Developments in the Investigation of Conventional and Unconventional Petroleum Systems in European Basins.” Topics will cover conventional and unconventional plays and basin analysis.

Please see the AAPG Europe website for further details and a call for abstracts.

Finally, our thanks to Gabor Tari, who has been closely involved with two of our very successful events this year, our Regional event in Barcelona as the technical chair and a very unique event he co-chaired with Reinhard Sachsenhofer in Tbilisi in September.

Thank you, Gabor. We are very grateful for all your hard work.

Speaking of Tbilisi, we ran a very successful conference there in September on Petroleum Systems of the Paratethys, concentrating on hydrocarbon exploration from a geoscience perspective.

Many exploration topics unique to the Paratethys region were captured in the session themes. Partnering with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia – and ably chaired by Tari and Sachsenhofer – the conference enjoyed 96 delegates, an excellent gala dinner and a very oversubscribed field trip to the Kartli region between Tbilisi and Gori (some 70 kilometers to the west). Thanks go to CanArgo Georgia for the great organization and supply of field trip guides.

Two more major events rounded off our year:

  • Stavanger, Norway, was the venue for this year’s bi-annual 3P Arctic conference. Our thanks go to Erik Lundin from Statoil, who chaired the conference, and his excellent committee. The 3P Arctic 2013 technical program consisted of 17 sessions, over three days with about 700 attendees – a truly great success that challenged the Stavanger center’s capacity.
  • And finally for 2013, the second Regional APPEX Conference and Exhibition was held in Athens, boasting an excellent program exploring the Region’s E&P opportunities.

We held the event under the auspices of the Greek Government, and were very pleased that Yannis Maniatis, the Greek Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, was able to open the conference and spend so much of his valuable time with us.

Nearly 200 delegates attended from 28 countries, and the event culminated with a spectacular dinner at the Acropolis Museum, kindly sponsored by Hellenic Petroleum, PGS and Energean. (Watch for a full report to follow in the next EXPLORER).

Please check out our website at, to see upcoming events – including the upcoming joint AAPG/EAGE workshop in Lisbon in November and the Naples, Italy, conference on Mesozoic and Cenozoic carbonates of the Neo-Tethys in March.

Thanks once again to the Europe Region Committee members for all their help, guidance and support over the year. We look forward to an even more successful 2014. at 2013/vancouver.

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Regions and Sections

Regions and Sections Column - Carol McGowen
Carol Cain McGowen is the development manager for AAPG's Regions and Sections. She may be contacted via email , or telephone at 1-918-560-9403.

Regions and Sections Column - Jeremy Richardson

Jeremy Richardson, director of the AAPG European Region office in London.

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