Change By Any Name Brings New Challenges

Is it a sea-change or a c-change?

Have you ever heard a phrase in conversation or through the media and thought that you had a vague understanding of the meaning – but carried on with your misunderstanding?

I have been struck by the phrase “sea-change.” Or is it “c-change?” Or even “C change?”

With a little help, (thank you again, Google) I think I’ve sorted out they are not the same thing.

I am a Shakespeare enthusiast, so I was delighted to learn the provenance of the phrase “sea-change,” meaning a radical change or transformation where the form is retained but the substance is altered, came from his play “The Tempest,” written in 1610. In it, the spirit Ariel, who was the catalyst for Prospero’s transformation, sang out to the shipwrecked and orphaned Ferdinand:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
     Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
     Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
     Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:

So what, then, of the other change, the “c-change” or “C change?”

This is a once-in-a-century change, like a hundred year flood. The C Change happens when the C level executives are rearranged.


I am thrilled to be observant and working in our industry, which has undergone a major sea-change in less than a decade – the form of our industry is the same, but the radical changes in the past several years have transformed our business in unconventional ways.

I like the symmetry of Shakespeare’s definition; it is fitting.

But what of Darwin and adaptation of the species?

Companies have embraced the new world out of necessity and a healthy profit motivation. Years ago when I was working in Mexico, the average well there IP’ed at 600 BOPD, but in the United States new oil wells had an average potential of only 30 BOPD.

Our industry has done such a remarkable job of responding to the market place that we have developed more natural gas than we can use, and as much oil as we import in the United States. The geopolitical ramifications for the global economy are remarkable, and the likelihood that the shale spring will bring improved standards of living to far-flung parts of the globe is a certainty.

Truly something “rich and strange.”


Apart from musings about change, some things are constant, such as the DPA mandate to educate.

Past DPA president Charles Sternbach has again assembled a remarkable group of speakers, with Rick Fritz as co-chair, to address the second annual Playmakers Forum on Jan. 23 in Houston at the Norris Conference Center (see related stories on pages 16, 18 and 28).

There are 16 confirmed speakers who will be addressing exploration and prospecting tools and descriptions of active and emerging plays in the United States and western hemisphere, providing all you need to know to participate or follow the current activity.

Legendary speakers Jim Bob Moffett and Bud Brigham will share lessons from their illustrious careers and will receive prestigious DPA Heritage Awards at the event.

Scott W. Tinker will present the keynote luncheon on shale gas production and forecasting of major plays.

I hope to see you there; you can sign up online .

Last year’s inaugural Playmakers event was hugely successful and established a high bar for one-day forums, which are being replicated by the DPA and partners in the Canada Region (Calgary) in May and the Southwest Section (Midland) in April.

Last month’s Reserves Forum, also presented in Houston, was very well received and will be repeated next year.


I’ve been enjoying the book Strategic Intuition, the Creative Spark in Human Achievement, by William Duggan.

It’s a slow read for me – it’s engaging, but it is so thought provoking that I keep pausing to absorb.

The author draws upon works by Thomas Kuhn on scientific revolutions, Joseph Schumpeter on entrepreneurial leaps of progress and Carl von Clausewitz on military strategy, and draws them all together to try to explain what happens in the mind when one has a blinding idea.

I recommend it.

Tell me, what’s on your night table?

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Division Column-DPA: Valary Schulz

Valary L. Schulz is DPA President for 2013-14 and is with Cinco Resources in Dallas.

Division Column-DPA

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA website.

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