Year Offers Hopes, Dreams, Realities

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Last summer during our staff retreat, we asked the question, “What will be obsolete in 10 years?”

The answers included credit cards, eye glasses, can openers, cancer, hard drives and almost anything made of paper – including money. I’ll believe the last one when I see it.

Then we asked, “What will be new in 10 years?”

Answers ranged from laser lawnmowers to biometric identification to a cure for baldness. One even said that Pluto will be reinstated as a planet.

I kind of like that one.

Each new year I ask myself what is in the future for AAPG. I always start with a review of the strategic plan. In the plan it states that AAPG has six goal areas:

Advance the Science.

AAPG President John Lorenz is emphasizing the importance of constantly seeking and developing the best science. Under the leadership of AAPG Editor Gretchen Gillis the BULLETIN continues to improve and look for new ways to disseminate information. The special thematic issue on “The Geologic Occurence and Hydraulic Significance of Fractures in Reservoirs” was just introduced and this year we are expecting a new thematic issue on the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. We are also expecting a strong technical program at the Annual Convention April 11-14 in New Orleans.

Individually, the best thing you can do is contribute to the science through papers, presentation, education, etc.

Continuous Professional Development.

Concerning professional development, AAPG is looking for new ways to provide education to the membership. AAPG education director Susan Nash has developed a series of new e-symposiums that provide focused, online live training. This year AAPG will offer 7-8 Geoscience Technology Workshops – AAPG’s new quick-to-market workshop concept designed to discuss current plays and disseminate the newest technology into the marketplace.

Public Awareness and Understanding.

AAPG’s Public Outreach Committee has developed a new Web site called, and in 2010 we plan to add more. Also, in 2010 staff is preparing a brochure and a short video called “We are AAPG” is on YouTube – already available for downloading and use in meetings and for recruitment and another one is in the works.

Membership and Member Services.

Membership continues to grow for AAPG as we already are over 35,400 members for the start of the new year. In 2010 we plan to promote the new “Business Group Membership” for small companies and institutions around the world.

Financial Strength.

Both the AAPG Association and Foundation are strong financially. However, fiscal year 2009-10 will most likely be in the “red” due to economic conditions and a one-time charge for freezing the employees defined benefit plan. As a result, in 2010 we will be reviewing all of our programs to see if there are any areas to cut expenses.

Global Presence/

Finally, we continue to grow AAPG’s global development program. The European office is fully staffed with Jeremy Richardson as new director. The Middle East Office has a number of new programs this year for building and serving the membership with a new set of officers under the leadership of Region President, Hussain al-Otaibi.

Also, 2010 will be a big year for the AAPG Asia-Pacific office as new director Adrienne Pereira begins to work with the leadership in the Region to develop new member services. Both the Latin America and Africa Regions are developing new programs, too, and the Canadian Region will host AAPG’s International Conference and Exhibition Sept. 12-15, in Calgary.

Clearly, a lot is going on in the new year. We continue to need your ideas on how to improve and how to develop into the future.

Another question we asked the at retreat was, “What will be obsolete at AAPG in the next 5-10 years.” The answers ranged from AAPG-only conferences to face-to-face meetings to the paper version of the EXPLORER.

Finally we asked, “What new developments do you see for AAPG in the future?” Digital 3-D geologic maps was my favorite response, although we are close to that now. Other answers included e-books on Kindle, 50/50 U.S./non-U.S. membership, and interplanetary virtual field trips.

I also liked the answer that the public’s perception of petroleum is changed to positive.

That’s the great thing about the new year – there is always hope for the future.

Happy New Year!

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