Playmaker Was a ‘Gusher’

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

All wildcats start with an idea – and then, a very passionate person (someone who must drill the well) convinces backers to support the project. Supporters and planners join in, and with luck the well gets drilled. Then the real excitement begins.

I am happy to report that Jan. 24 ushered in a gusher (in an environmentally responsible way, of course) with the success of the inaugural Playmaker Forum. This one-day event, co-sponsored by DPA and the AAPG education department, had 225 attendees, 14 speakers and a packed networking icebreaker reception with about 50 young explorers.

The program built on the premise “from prospect to discovery, professionalism leads the way.”

Many traveled far and wide to hear some of the best oil finders in our business talk about prospecting skills, the art of exploration, prospecting work flows, successful plays and emerging plays.

Programs like Playmaker showcase bright spots in what Divisions can offer all AAPG members – and help fulfill DPA’s goal to “empower geologists to discover energy and excel in business.”

Highlights included:

♦ Dan Tearpock and Bob Shoup presented the lead talk, “The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Oil Finders.” You can see Dan’s popular video (and several others) posted on the DPA webpage. DPA members can see additional videos after logging into the DPA site.

Special thanks to Linda Sternbach for capturing the video presentations.

♦ Harold Hamm gave the keynote address about “My Vision for U.S. Energy Independence,” and then the DPA presented him with its Heritage Award, with the inscription that read in part, “Harold Hamm and his company, Continental Resources, have transformed the Bakken into a huge success ... He has inspired many geologists working for majors or as independents.”

Hamm noted that two of Continental’s key managers “are younger than 30 years old.”

♦ The morning program featured foundational prospecting skills and work flows. Comparisons between conventional and unconventional projects were drawn. Bill Maloney (Statoil) gave three examples of how Statoil turned ideas to profits through creative oil finders and deal making, from the Gulf of Mexico to North Dakota; Steve Brachman (Petro-Hunt) shared strategies for “Selling your prospect,” which included preparing a 30-second, a five-minute and a “full” sales presentation; and Richard Stoneburner (formerly president of Petrohawk) presented his new AAPG Distinguished Lecture: “Unconventional Reservoirs: A New Approach to Petroleum Geology,” with examples from the Eagle Ford.

♦ Following the networking lunch, we focused on analog plays and emerging trends by those who know them well. Hamm spoke on great success in the Bakken and Woodford plays, and Bill Zagorski presented the new liquids rich portion of the Marcellus shale, commenting that AAPG President Ted Beaumont’s talk on Exploration Creativity was particularly important for new unconventional plays. You can see Ted’s video on the DPA webpage.

Shane Matson, great grandson of George C. Matson (after whom the AAPG award is named), then presented a talk on the Mississippian Lime play; Ken Mariani (CEO of Enervest) told how his company holds a commanding position in the Utica shale play of Ohio; and Kirk Barrell and Tom Bowman spanned the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Eagle Ford Shale in south Texas to the Tuscaloosa and Eagle Bine plays, respectively in east Texas.

♦ Rick Fritz (past AAPG executive director) presented “Geoscouts: Leveraging AAPG and DPA to Improve Your Professionalism.” Rick’s vision involves mobilizing AAPG’s vast library resources and web links to provide key information to explorers. You also can see Rick’s presentation video on the DPA webpage.

As past AAPG president Marlan Downey says, “Geology is a science, exploration a business.” DPA members excel at both – and the Playmaker Forum showed that timing, persistence, networking, the right skill sets and, yes, AAPG and DPA can play big roles helping explorers succeed.

So thanks to our many sponsors and the AAPG staff – Norma Newby, Susan Nash, Amy Mahan and David Curtiss – for believing in this wildcatter.

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