London, Bahrain and Now Singapore

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

AAPG has taken another step toward making its presence officially known around the world.

A third AAPG regional office will open later this year in Singapore, intended to provide services for the Association’s sprawling Asia-Pacific Region.

The Singapore operation will join the AAPG European Office in London, which opened in mid-2006, and the Middle East Office, established in Bahrain in 2007, as Regional bureaus.

With one-third of its membership residing outside the United States, AAPG’s need for regional offices correlates to membership growth and industry activity. To spark this regional growth requires AAPG to become a local provider of products and services.

Region offices also bring AAPG closer to its members by providing a close point of contact that is responsive to local professional development needs and industry trends.

Regional offices serve as an extension of AAPG headquarters, while working with a better understanding of cultural practices unique to doing business in each Region.

“They manifest the professional culture of that region and serve as the local identity of AAPG in areas far away from AAPG headquarters,” said Istvan Berczi, European Region president. “Local office staff know better the mentality of the local people, thus offering programs and services better aligned with the interests of Region members.”

During the first years of operation, regional offices are financially supported 100 percent by AAPG headquarters. During subsequent years the offices are expected to achieve an increasingly greater level of financial self-sufficiency by organizing revenue-generating programs and events.

Business success around the world requires relationship building. While many AAPG activities are handled by volunteer leaders in each Region, the continuity of contact by a local staff presence is essential to building and maintaining AAPG’s network of professional relationships.

Asia-Pacific Office: Strategic Location

In January, AAPG’s Executive Committee approved opening the third regional office in Singapore.

The Asia-Pacific Region is AAPG’s second largest, with its members hailing from 20 countries. Asia-Pacific membership in AAPG has more than doubled in the last decade, with over half of the Region’s AAPG members living within a 2,000-kilometer radius of Singapore.

The headquarters staff currently is working with Region leaders to register AAPG in Singapore, secure office space and hire office staff. Initially, the Asia Pacific office will be a one-person office, following the Middle East office model.

Singapore was selected on the basis of strategic geographic location, region center of petroleum business, ease of access and favorable political climate. It offers relatively low financial risk, a globally minded work force, absence of language barrier and mutually beneficial partnership opportunities.

“I am confident that an AAPG regional office in Singapore will significantly improve communication and coordination between members, the regional officers and all divisions of AAPG,” said Joe Lambiase, Asia-Pacific Region president. “Enhancing the level of AAPG services within the region will certainly increase member satisfaction with AAPG.”

European Office: On the Move

The European office serves AAPG’s largest Region membership – and after 2- 1/2 years of growth, the office has expanded to a multi-program operation employing three staff members. They are:

  • Steven Veal, Region office director.
  • Lika Chambers, conference manager.
  • January Arnold, executive secretary.
January Arnold
January Arnold
Lika Chambers
Lika Chambers
Steve Veal
Steve Veal

When AAPG first established a presence in London, Imperial College London stepped up to offer AAPG office space at no charge.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of Imperial College by allowing AAPG to conduct business within the Royal School of Mines building at Imperial College in South Kensington,” Veal said.

But change is inevitable, and the London office relocated on Feb. 1 to a new office near Piccadilly Circus at 56 Brewer Street.

In its expanded facility, the London office is now charged with logistical operation of the annual regional conference (Oslo in 2008 and Yalta in 2010), APPEX (the AAPG Prospect and Property Expo), the regional Imperial Barrel Award Program, student and professional short courses, the quarterly exploration luncheon in Aberdeen and the monthly petro-lunch program in London.

Middle East Office: Local Connections
Abeer Al-Zubaidi
Abeer Al-Zubaidi

Abeer Al Zubaidi is director of AAPG’s Middle East office; she’s currently a oneperson operation, working in close collaboration with the Middle East Region Council and AAPG headquarters.

Staffed by a native of the region, the Middle East office is well positioned to build on local contacts and cultural awareness – and by combining local planning efforts with systems already in place at AAPG headquarters in Tulsa, event brochures and regional marketing activities are carried out more efficiently.

“The most important service taken over by the regional office is the planning and execution of AAPG conferences, workshops and courses within the Middle East,” said Aboud Afifi, AAPG Middle East Region president. “And by offering AAPG courses locally, the office provides quality training at lower cost to the growing population of members in this Region, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers.”

The Region’s 2009 calendar of events begins with a series of short courses and Geosciences Technology Workshops. The office also supports other services planned by the Region Council, including the organization of AAPG student chapters and a regional IBA competition in 2010.

Significant value to AAPG’s global operations is realized by building regional industry support for two highly successful, major conferences – GEO Bahrain and IPTC.

  • First, the office will play a key role in organizing AAPG’s participation in the 2010 GEO Conference and Exhibition in Bahrain, a biannual event that is the region’s largest gathering of geoscientists. AAPG serves as secretariat for GEO Bahrain.
  • Second, the IPTC conference, which represents a regional partnership among AAPG, SPE, SEG and EAGE, will be held Dec. 7-9 in Doha, Qatar. Again, a key objective of AAPG’s Middle East office is to build organizational capacity by providing logistical planning and support to IPTC.

    AAPG’s local presence facilitates local collaboration with other societies and associations doing business in the Region. For example, March 8-11 AAPG will jointly sponsor the Gulf Education Symposium along with Dhahran Geoscience Society, EAGE and SEG.
Inter-Regional Collaboration

Later this year, efficiency through collaboration will extend across AAPG Regions to bring geoscientists in both the Middle East and Europe a Geosciences Technology Workshop on unconventional gas resources. The joint region workshop will be held in Istanbul, Turkey – centrally located and easily accessible to both regions.

With co-chairmen from ExxonMobil and from Saudi Aramco, the program is sure to contain broad appeal and timely relevance.

Both AAPG regional offices offer support to the program committee and will handle logistics and operations.

AAPG’s Regional offices are concrete examples of how the Association strives to serve as a primary source of science and professional development wherever geoscientists live and work.

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