Leadership, Energy Opportunities and Sustainable Development

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

This September issue of the EXPLORER includes a broader discussion of the August article on CO2 and climate change. We received substantial feedback on the decision to publish the article, the content of the article, and the responsibility of AAPG as a scientific organization. We appreciate the diversity of comments and as AAPG President I want to assure the membership and scientists affected by the article that we hear you.

Student-YP Leadership Summit participants
Student-YP Leadership Summit participants
AAPG is moving beyond words. We are forming an Ad Hoc Committee at the highest level for an inclusive discussion that includes respected climate and paleo-climate scientists to update AAPG’s Climate Change statement. Addressing the science of climate change and updating the climate statement in this year as we address sustainable development are a priority.

Energy Opportunities Conference

Sustainable development was a key theme throughout AAPG’s inaugural Energy Opportunities Conference held Aug. 22-23 in Cartagena, Colombia. This high-profile event convened 202 industry executives and government officials representing 94 organizations and 21 countries.

The AAPG Latin America and Caribbean Region organizers, Victor Vega, Pedro Alarcón, Elvira Pureza Gomez, their committee, and LACR Manager Emily Smith Llinás and Events Coordinator Mayra Vargas are to be commended for the technical, business, and innovation sessions as well as the quality and diversity of the speakers. The country snapshots – technical reviews highlighting investment options throughout the region – along with the facilitated Business-to-Business sessions truly allowed attendees to explore Energy Opportunities.

General Chair Orlando Velandia and president of Colombia’s National Hydrocarbon Agency, set the forward-looking tone and importance of regulatory and petroleum industry cooperative relationships with the opening presentation “ANH: A New Road Map.” Cooperative relationships highlighted companies, governments, professional associations and communities working together for sustainable energy solutions. Sustainable development was not just a concept to be discussed; it was a topic to assure that companies maximize the value of a country’s energy resources for economic development.

Seferino Yesquén, PeruPetro’s Board of Directors president, captured the importance of the petroleum industry’s role in sustainable development in Latin American countries. Yesquén outlined the positive changes to Peru’s regulatory structure that mirror the technical best practices in many countries worldwide to achieve those goals: 1) technical basin assessment to identify and evaluate the hydrocarbon potential, 2) production at maximum efficient rates to assure economic recovery of reserves and resources, and 3) up-to-date petroleum reserves management and reporting.

Continuing with global perspectives on sustainable development, Maria Riaño, president of Equión Energía, spoke with deep conviction on the “Petroleum Industry: Building Futures and Transforming Lives.” Her presentation highlighted how the petroleum industry creates human connections, meaningful and respectful working conditions to transform lives and contribute to prosperity. Her uplifting message “with happiness we [the petroleum industry] assume challenges to reach achievements that seem impossible,” connects with communities across all generations.

Carla Chizmar, head of environment, social and governance for Cifi, covered the financial aspects of global sustainable development with her talk, “Best environmental and social practices in responsible lending.” She stressed that company governance develops commitment to sustainable development from the bottom to the top and that transparency is needed for a successful project. Summarizing with a simple philosophy, “we are going to be friends for 10 years,” she underscored the importance of credible technical excellence along with socio-environmental responsibility in petroleum exploration and development.

The sustainable development thread continued through the technical sessions noting that energy transitions will be a long and involved process that will require hydrocarbon exploration and development. Mounir Bouaziz, Shell’s vice president of commercial South America and Africa, presented a talk highlighting the importance of natural gas in the energy transition. Tomás Zapata of Repsol added an unconventional resource perspective with a presentation on Caribbean offshore biogenic gas. Technical aspects of LACR shale resource plays were also addressed by Matías Di Benedetto of YPF and Juan Carlos Granados Hernández of Pemex. Continuing the theme of cooperation, Marc Payne of Chevron and Melissa Coleman of ConocoPhillips spoke on learnings from the Americas and leveraging best practices in unconventional development.

The New Technologies and Analytics session connected themes of geoscience, technology and sustainable development. Andrés Mantilla, director of Ecopetrol’s Center of Innovation and Technology, expressed the need to “achieve greater alignment of the scientific community with industry opportunities.” Tying the session back to sustainable development, Pedro Mario Cruz e Silva, solution architect manager for Nvidia, illustrated how artificial intelligence and interpretation of petroleum industry data and images will improve exploration models and seismic interpretation but cautioned, “not to lose site of the importance of the human element in the digital transformation.”

The Energy Opportunities Conference is an example of AAPG at its best: technical content with a business focus bringing together a diverse audience of attendees from industry, government and academia to work together on energy solutions and sustainable petroleum development.

Student-YP Leadership Summit

The AAPG Student and Young Professional Leadership Summit in Bogotá that followed the Energy Opportunities Conference not only sustained, but energized me this month. There were 19 current and future energy professionals from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela at the summit organized by Flover Rodríguez, Daiane Cardoso, Lizbeth Calizaya Adriana Ariza and coordinated by Emily Smith Llinás and Elvira Pureza Gomez. The attendees communicated, from their country’s perspective, the real-time complexity of energy in terms of availability, affordability, reliability and sustainability. Participants and speakers were equally cognizant of how energy choices affect the future. The students and young professionals are living and leading with the definition of sustainable development, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

If you are a student aspiring to work in the petroleum industry or young professional just starting your career we want to hear how you see the petroleum industry contributing to sustainable development. #AAPGSustainsMe.


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