General Chair Comments on Annual Meeting High Points

Steve Levine
Steve Levine

In his own words: Steve Levine, general chair of the upcoming AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston, expanded his answers for some questions about the planning and significance of the event.

– What is going to be unique about this convention?

LEVINE: The Houston ACE will have at least four new and unique features.

The ACE 2011 Technical Program Committee and a distinguished group of "theme chairs" developed the program of 400 oral talks and 400 posters. This is the first time we have appointed theme chairs, and we invited them because of their expertise in their subject in industry and research. They provided valuable insights that helped us amass the best oral and poster sessions possible, from abstract selection to theme configurations.

We will have full-day poster sessions for the first time. It will now be possible for attendees to attend an oral session without missing a poster session – and poster presenters will be available at the morning and afternoon breaks. We had to be extremely selective in screening poster abstracts this year, but we hope that this results in a very strong group of poster sessions.

An electronic poster (e-poster) lounge will debut at the ACE 2011. Attendees can relax and review short PowerPoint presentations with speaker voiceovers in this special venue.

Teachers Day has been moved to Monday to enable the teachers to attend the All-Convention Luncheon, a special forum with the speakers afterward, the exhibit hall, posters and oral talks. AAPG members will accompany the teachers throughout the day as well.

– Why did you pick the theme, "Making the Next Giant Leap in Geosciences"?

LEVINE: The Houston 2011 ACE celebrates the 50th anniversary of the famous speech by President John F. Kennedy in May 1961, challenging U.S. citizens to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. This announcement and the ensuing congressional funding spawned a science and engineering revolution that translated into rapid technological advancements, including many in the geosciences.

How do we make the next giant leap as the global energy industry faces numerous pressing challenges? We hope this convention will inspire geoscientists to succeed despite added competition, more restricted land access, deeper water, larger capital investments, expanded environmental pressures, global unrest and other hardships as we supply the vast majority of the world's energy needs.

The high quality of oral talks and posters, special speakers, and forums is sure to enrich the attendees with fresh technical ideas to incorporate in their workplace.

– What are some of the main aspects of the convention that attendees should know about?

LEVINE: Eight outstanding forums will be held throughout the week, beginning on Monday with a panel of worldwide industry leaders discussing key factors shaping the future, followed by the ever-popular "Discovery Thinking" forum with its focus on recent U.S. Gulf Coast discoveries and hot new international plays.

Tuesday contains a full slate of four forums that include unconventional resource strategic drivers, natural gas opportunities and challenges, the SEPM Research Symposium and the PROWESS panel discussion.

Two excellent forums cap the convention on Wednesday afternoon – a highly renowned panel will examine the challenges facing the future of shale resource plays, and a scientific discussion will consider the impact of the Macondo well oil spill.

Sixteen short courses and seven field trips will be held both before and after the convention. Many of these programs are selling out so be sure to sign up quickly!

Over 210 exhibitors will attend the convention, and they will be happy to provide you with information and demonstrations of their latest technology and services.

The Michel T. Halbouty Lecture and luncheons should be very popular at the Houston ACE:

David Lawrence, executive vice president of Shell Upstream Americas, will be the featured speaker for this year's Halbouty lecture, talking about "The Next Generation of Exploration."

The All-Convention Luncheon will bring American NASA astronaut-geoscientists to Houston to discuss their experiences as geoscientists, NASA astronauts and post-NASA careers. The confirmed group includes astronauts-AAPG members Harrison "Jack" Schmitt and James Reilly ll

The EMD Luncheon speaker is John Hofmeister, an author, former Shell executive and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, who will present "Hydrocarbon Opportunities Must Trump Their Challenges."

Karen A. Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, will speak at the DEG and PROWESS luncheon on the topic "America's Energy Realities and Opportunities."

The SEPM luncheon speaker is CalTech professor and Mars Exploration Rover Science Team member John Grotzinger; his topic is "The Search for Source Rocks on Mars."

The DEG on Wednesday has invited LSU professor Edward B. Overton to speak at their luncheon, on the topic, "The Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Well Oil Spill: Understanding the Impact."

– Why is coming to an AAPG convention important?

LEVINE: Geoscientists play a critical part in satisfying the demand for energy, most of which is supplied by petroleum. Staying on top of new science and technology helps us do this important job more effectively.

The technical committee has worked very hard to build a diversified and relevant program of themes, speakers and posters. We are absolutely sure you will stay engaged with the multiple industry-focused talks and posters throughout the week.

Of course, we anticipate an excellent turnout of professionals at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition this year, thus offering attendees a terrific networking opportunity.

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This year marks the twelfth time AAPG will be holding its annual convention in Houston – tying the city with Dallas as the most-visited stop for the event. AAPG’s first Houston convention was in 1924; more recently, the ACE has been at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center in 2006 (total attendance, 8,223) and 2002 (7,665).

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