Cape Town diverse in program, participants

Special Events Make ICE a Success

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)


AAPG’s first-ever International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) in South Africa proved to be a winner on many fronts, but there was perhaps one main reason for the success:

It brought a diverse group of people together for a scientific, cultural and professional exchange of ideas that was electrifying.

“The 2008 ICE can be counted as one of the most successful ICE’s ever,” said Jeff Aldrich, the meeting’s general vice chair. “We packed into the convention more special events than anyone expected.”

The variety of special events may have been the reason for the diversity of people who attended from around the world. Total attendance figures was 1,955 from 64 countries, including more than 250 people who took advantage of free registration for special events and activities such as educator-student visits and the forum on global climate change, which was open to the public.

The late October meeting, held at the Cape Town International Convention Center, was the first ICE held in Africa since the 2002 meeting in Cairo, Egypt, which drew about 1,650 people.

“The Committee worked to bring all parts of Africa together and the African Region held an important leadership meeting there,” Aldrich said, adding that EMD, SPE and the SAMRAC code committee were among those who used Cape Town as a meeting venue.

“These conventions accomplish three big things,” he said:

  • Education through training, listening and interaction.
  • Advancing the profession through various meetings and contacts.
  • Creativity through the sparks created “when bright minds rub against each other.”

Aldrich also cited the “acclaimed” three-day African deepwater core workshop (about 500 meters of turbidite cores from four African countries were on display), the deepwater oral sessions (standing room only in a 600-seat auditorium) and the LUSI mud volcano forum as other meeting highlights.

The meeting began with a colorful and rousing opening session, featuring a performance from the South African Youth Choir that Aldrich described as “an event of pure joy,” and ended with a four-hour musical dinner party featuring live bands at the Sundowner.

The opening session also featured remarks from Sipho Mkhize, the meeting’s general chair, who said the meeting’s goal was “to ensure we create the conditions for a new generation of geoscientists to take on the task of exploration and production.

“Africa has thousands of potential geoscientists,” he continued. “It is people who are the resource that should be tapped by AAPG members.”

Also speaking at the opening session was AAPG President Scott Tinker, who spoke of one of his favorite topics, geoscientists’ need to build bridges – not walls – to ensure energy security; and keynote speaker Duncan Clarke, who offered a realistic portrait of African energy potential as well as a challenge for all to find new and better ways in the future for its development.

His talk will be available on Search and Discovery.  

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