Members Provide Valuable Services

This column will be brief. As General Ira Eaker said when he brought the U.S. Army Eighth Air Force to join the Royal Air Force in England during World War II, “We won’t do much talking until we’ve done more fighting. After we’ve gone, we hope you’ll be glad we came.”

The first of several purposes of the AAPG, according to our constitution, is to “advance the science of geology, especially as it relates to petroleum, natural gas, other subsurface fluids, and mineral resources.”

My primary focus as AAPG president will be to support and grow the geoscience that gives AAPG members the best conceptual tools to do their jobs of finding and producing oil and gas.

To support AAPG’s geoscience endeavors, a unique combination of volunteers and headquarters staff works diligently and amazingly hard to produce the AAPG BULLETIN, the EXPLORER, special publications, spatial or GIS publications, Search and Discovery, training and education courses, and the annual, international and local conventions.

What other society gives you this variety and depth for $80 or less per year?

AAPG excellence in geoscience has long been recognized:

The publications of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) constitute the essential part of [the library of the petroleum geologist] without assistance from any other source ...No other professional organization in any science so totally dominates its field on a world wide basis. The scope of the material published by the Association is both truly international and genuinely all-embracing within the field.

– F.K. North, 1985, Petroleum Geology, Allen and Unwin, Boston, page 5.

AAPG geoscience doesn’t materialize from thin air. It requires not only the volunteers and staff, but also authors, editors and teachers who have a good story to tell – and the willingness to tell it. We’re always looking for good papers for the AAPG BULLETIN and other publications.

We can’t publish what isn’t submitted, so if you have a good geologic field study or concept paper, trot it out and let’s publish it.


Beyond helping each other within AAPG, our members provide a valuable service to the world, whether it’s recognized – as indeed it is in many countries – or not (as in the United States).

I was approached once at a party by an individual who asked, “I understand you are an oil and gas geologist. What do you think of drilling at ANWR?”

You recognize the loaded question. I have worked on the North Slope of Alaska and have seen firsthand that industry now does a great job of containing environmental impact there. Where else do you see oil drip pans under the engine of every parked truck?

My reply was perhaps overly confrontational, and it flustered the questioner: “Do you drive a car?”

“Well yes,” he admitted, “but I don’t want to.”

Whether or not one “wants” to drive a car, or use fossil energy in any other way, is irrelevant. The fact is that we are reliant on fossil energy until we have an abundant and affordable alternative – and I sincerely hope that governments everywhere are foresighted enough to be funding that research hand-over-fist so that we’ll have it when we need it, as we will.

In the meantime, AAPG members continue to satisfy the increasing demand for energy at affordable prices.

And with the advances in geoscience, we’re doing a superb job, as shown by the constant, even improving, drilling success rate despite the diminishing target sizes and increasingly difficult targets (see graphic above). Geoscience plays a critical role in keeping the world oil supply relatively constant.


As AAPG president I have some big shoes to fill. With your help and a little luck I will be able to help maintain the high standards of this eminent, useful and indeed indispensable organization.

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