Divisions’ Report

Divisions to Cooperate on Renewables

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

It was refreshing to meet recently with Frank Walles, the Energy Minerals Division president, and Michael D. Campbell, EMD president-elect, to discuss the great opportunities that exist to help the AAPG membership stay abreast of developments within the renewable energy arena and how they may affect the membership and the energy industry in general.

Like many of you, I question the accuracy and underlying theory of climate change models, but it is evident the world has embraced a future that includes alternative energy sources. We want to be a part of the discussion of how the energy industry evolves.

It also is essential that we keep abreast of the economics and the potential environmental impacts of potential and emerging “renewable” energy sources to know what to believe and what to question, and to make educated judgments what is “sustainable” and what is not – and in turn to assess how new “sustainable” energy developments may affect the petroleum industry and the reconfiguring of the energy industry.

To do so, we would like to encourage the continued involvement of the AAPG membership in identifying appointments to the Renewable Energy Committee.

First, a refresher of how this new committee came about:

Recognizing the new paradigm we are living in, in 2008, then-AAPG President Scott Tinker requested that alternative energy be included in EMD’s purview.

The EMD Executive Committee subsequently discussed forming solar, wind and biofuels committees to meet this request.

During the EMD mid-year teleconference meeting of November 2008, Brian Cardott, chair of EMD’s Gas Shale Committee, recommended that one inclusive committee be formed in the EMD called the “Renewable Energy Committee,” containing various sub-committees for the various forms of potential energy under development.

This was supported by several members. Mike Wiley, EMD’s Gulf Coast Region councilor, suggested that hydropower be included in this committee as well.

Cretis Jenkins, EMD past president (2008-09), reported the formation of this new committee to the AAPG Executive Committee via the 2008 EMD leadership meeting.

Next, as part of EMD’s renewed efforts to improve cooperation between the EMD, DEG, DPA and AAPG committees, a joint meeting was held in mid-2009 in Houston of the Executive Committees of all four groups, i.e., representing:

  • EMD – Frank E. Walles, current president; Creties Jenkins, past president; and Michael D. Campbell, president-elect.
  • DEG – Michael Jacobs, current president; Rebecca Dodge, past president; and Mary Kay Harris, president-elect.
  • DPA – Paul W. Britt, current president.
  • AAPG – Rick Fritz, AAPG executive director; and Norma Newby, AAPG divisions manager.

The main topic was how the three AAPG divisions and AAPG can work together to develop more joint activities, such as sessions, workshops and short courses. One of the action items that came out of the joint meeting was that it was desirable that DEG and DPA also be part of the Renewable Energy Committee, with co-chairs to handle matters related to EMD and DEG interests.

This joint meeting voted unanimously to create a joint Renewable Energy Committee on July 22, 2009 (see September EXPLORER.)

In November 2009, I was appointed as the EMD co-chair of the Renewable Energy Committee, and J. Anne Fix recently was confirmed as the DEG co-chair.

I look forward to working with Anne and others as we discuss the challenges facing the energy industry as it measures and balances the carbon footprint and environmental impacts of the industry with the world’s demands for energy.

AAPG members and others outside of AAPG are under consideration for appointment to the various vice chairs in this committee.

To facilitate our discussions, see the organizational structure developed for the EMD-DEG Renewable Energy Committee.

As noted above, the principal role of the committee is to advise AAPG membership on the development and associated economics and environmental impact of the various forms of potential alternate energy available on our planet now and in the foreseeable future.

Over the course of the next few months EMD and DEG will be appointing the individuals with the education, background, current knowledge and passion for being part of this committee’s mission.

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