‘New Discoveries in Old Areas’

Discovery Forum Has Oil Emphasis

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

It’s back, for a fifth time – and organizers say it’s bigger and better than ever.

Enlightening forums and panels defined by specific themes are highlights at every AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, and this year’s event in Long Beach, Calif., is expected to keep the streak alive.

Leading the way is this year’s edition of the Discovery Thinking forum, which premiered in 2008 and just keeps going, always drawing a big audience.

Charles Sternbach
Charles Sternbach

“We’ll do these forums as long as people keep showing up,” AAPG Honorary Member and DPA president-elect Charles Sternbach quipped. He is Discovery Thinking forum co-chairman along with fellow AAPG Honorary Member Ed Dolly.

“We’re hopeful that will take us at least to 2017, which is the AAPG Centennial,” Sternbach said.

“Discovery Thinking originally started as a 100th anniversary initiative recognizing ‘100 who have made a difference,’” he said. “As the forums progressed, we included the personal issues and expanded the time slots to let people bring in a lot of technical information.”

“You hear about the personal side of the discovery and also see the data.”

The presentations of the “why and how” of selected discoveries have been recorded since the original forum in 2008. It’s intended that there will be a fairly robust legacy of recorded talks on the Search and Discovery area of the AAPG website.

This can be quite an amazing resource.

“Taking notes in an audience is not as good as when I’m home and comfortable and my mind is focused,” Sternbach emphasized. “I can go through the talk on demand, hear it, stop it, study it.

“Information on demand is a great way to learn a subject,” he asserted. “The web links will enable students and seasoned professionals alike to enjoy the stories, to learn from them and make new discoveries on their own.”

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million,” he said. “That phrase encapsulates the power of the Discovery Thinking legacy on the AAPG website.” 

Focusing On Oil

There’s excitement aplenty over the program for this year’s forum.

“We think these are basically exciting discoveries in mature or old areas; none of them are frontier basins,” Sternbach emphasized. “These are ‘mature areas,’ yet these are new and exciting discoveries.”

He noted that each of the speakers and their associates overcame great challenges in both business and geological aspects of the profession. Topics to be discussed will include philosophy of exploration, stories from remarkable careers, professional insights and colorful anecdotes, lessons learned on the path to success.

“What’s new and different this year is the emphasis on oil,” he noted. “These plays are part of what’s fueling this amazing transformation from being an oil importer to having excess oil.”

With so much buzz about the “changing of the guard” as seasoned veterans retire from the profession, the forums have an important role to play.

“As technology advances and a new wave of young geoscientists enter our profession, we see continued interest in forums such as this to discuss both the personal side of success and what has been called the art of exploration,” Sternbach commented.

Expect this event to be exceedingly dynamic at AAPG’s 2017 centennial get-together.

“From the get-go, we knew we had to begin with the end in mind,” Sternbach said. “We knew that 2017 would have to be big.”

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Discovery Thinking Forum

AAPG’s fifth Discovery Thinking Forum, a presentation of the AAPG 100th Anniversary Committee’s program recognizing “100 Who Made a Difference,” will be offered from 1:15-5 p.m. Monday, April 23, at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif.

This year’s theme is “New Discoveries in Old Areas.” The session, comprising talks from the Pacific, Rocky Mountain and West Texas areas, will include:

  • Robert Bridges, with Vintage Production California, talking about Rediscovering California: The Gunslinger Discovery, New Concepts for Mature Producing Areas, at 1:20-2 p.m. His coauthors are Ingvar Alarik, Kurt Johnson, Kurt Neher and Robert Stupp
  • Tony Reid, with Occidental of Elk Hills, discussing Rediscovering California: The Monterey Formation in the San Joaquin Basin, from 2-2:40 p.m. His co authors are Steve Schulz, Ingvar Alarik and Kurt Neher.
  • James C. Henry, with Henry Resources, discussing The Wolfberry – How it Started, from 3-3:40 p.m.
  • Orion Skinner, with Whiting Petroleum Corp., discussing Discovery of Pronghorn and Lewis and Clark Fields: Sweet-Spots Within the Bakken Petroleum System Producing From the Sanish/Pronghorn Member NOT the Middle Bakken or Three Forks! from 3:40-4:20 p.m. His co-authors are Lyn Canter, Mark D. Sonnenfeld and Mark Williams.
  • Edward J. LoCricchio, with Cordillera Energy Partners, discussing Granite Wash Play Overview, Anadarko Basin, from 4:20-5 p.m.

Emphasis: Annual Convention

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