Explorer ProTracks

At a time when the geoscience job market is suffering from low demand and fewer jobs, the Middle East is hungry for petroleum geoscientists.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Director’s Corner

May is upon us. In the northern hemisphere we’re in the middle of spring, a time of awakening and new beginnings. Here in Oklahoma, the sun is shining, the grass is green and the roses are in bloom. But there’s another side to spring in Oklahoma: tornado season. And for many of us, the present situation looks more like foreboding thunderheads, hail, fierce winds and sheets of rain. COVID-19 continues to spread illness and uncertainty. Far too many of us have either been directly affected by this virus or know someone who has. None of us has escaped the impact of a staggering collapse in oil prices. Graduation has been canceled. This month looks more sinister than sunny. And all of us – newly minted graduates, mid- career and seasoned veterans alike – are asking, “What’s next?”

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

It was Feb. 15, 1954 and the operation known as “DEF” was in full swing. Unusual for a geological survey party, the geologists were accompanied by 100 men of the Muscat and Oman Field Force. It was a measure of the Iraq Petroleum Company’s determination to penetrate central Oman that it paid for the troops and equipped the force with the latest modern conveniences. As the geologists reflected, they were entering a world where tire marks had never been seen before.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer President’s Column

What a difference a month makes. I discussed black swan events in last month’s President’s Column. Let me tell you, the AAPG and the oil industry just got hit with three black swan events all at once: the coronavirus, the stock market’s major drop and the oil price plunge. While the drop in the stock market and the drop in demand for oil have a direct tie to the coronavirus, the unwinding of OPEC+ has added to the oil price drop. Understandably, the events of this past month have caused an increased amount of anxiety for many people.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

In the wake of a long hiatus from discoveries that nearly made Oman obsolete in the industry, potential is brewing again. This time, it is offshore where Eni recently began drilling the country’s first deepwater well. Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi announced, “The first drilling that we are doing in the region will be in Oman in February. It will be the first (deepwater) offshore drilling in Block 52 in Oman, so it’s quite important.” Block 52 is a vast area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers off the southern and southeastern seaboard of Oman, with water depths up to 3,000 meters. The exploration well was planned just seven months after the completion of seismic data acquisition and is likely to show gas-condensate.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer President’s Column

This Executive Committee and the past five EC have been working hard on your behalf. AAPG had a couple black swan events in 2014 and 2015. The Executive Committees during these few years have been working very hard to cut costs and bring the budget into balance in this new commodity price environment. The bottom line to all this is that in five years we have righted the ship, bailed the water, and are sailing once again.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Subjectivity in interpretation is a persistent problem in the use of machine learning for oil and gas exploration. This and other topics will be discussed at the 14th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition in Bahrain this month.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

It is one of the most remote places on the planet and home to the largest sand desert in the world. Virtually uninhabited and underexplored, the Rub’ al Khali basin, known as “the Empty Quarter” in Arabic, covers more than a fourth of the southeastern part of the Saudi Arabian peninsula. While the area has been explored in the past, perhaps most notably by Max Steineke, the American geologist known for making the first oil discovery in Saudi Arabia in 1938, and then publicly again in the early 2000s by international oil companies, the basin appears to be of increasing interest once more.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer President’s Column

I encourage all of our more senior members to help out the next generation of geologists. Remembering back to when we all started our careers, most of us were fortunate that someone took an interest in us and acted as a mentor. Look around and find a YP that you might be able to help to navigate their early career path.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Office Contacts

Abeer Al Zubaidi AAPG Middle East Office Director +971 4 372 4201