Exploring the Vast Potential of Middle America: Interview with Keith H. James, Innovators in Geosciences

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Middle America is the location of important new discoveries, is in many ways, still unknown. Middle America refers to the vast region that includes the area between southern North America and northern South America, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and offshore South America. Welcome to an interview with Keith H. James, who is organizing a Hedberg Conference in early July 2018, which will seek to integrate geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and more to reveal useful information on Middle America.

What is your name and your experience in geology?

Name: Keith H. James

Experience: Eight years teaching in universities, 26 years working as geologist with Shell International (Gabon, Spain, Venezuela, UK, Holland (Geological Advisor international studies), Houston) and Conoco Houston (Chief Geoscientist international exploration).

What is the focus of the Hedberg? Why is it important at this point in time? When will it take place? Where?

Focus: integration of geology of the area between southern N America and northern S America and the Bahamas, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatán, Colombia, Venezuela, Grenada and Tobago basins, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago.

Importance: an area five times larger than the North Sea (the marine basins noted above) and lying between the major hydrocarbon provinces of the Gulf of Mexico and Venezuela has an undetermined origin.

At this point in time exploration is stepping into deeper water offshore S America and elsewhere, making major discoveries. Industry is showing increasing interest in this area. The recovering oil price will stimulate further activity.

When: July 2 – 5, 2018

Where: Sigüenza, Spain

What is the core philosophy of the event?

Meeting of experts to share data and ideas to promote regional understanding of the area’s geology.

What are the main topics?

Geology of onshore southern United States and Mexico, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, Central America, northern S America, eastern offshore N America, Bahamas Platform, deep Gulf of Mexico, Cayman Trough, Yucatan, Caribbean, Grenada, Tobago Basins, Barbados. Palaeontology, stratigraphy. Metamorphic and igneous geology, ophiolites. Gravity, magnetic, satellite data, tomography, zircon studies. Hydrocarbon geology, recent offshore discoveries northern S America, Atlantic, eastern Mediterranean, east Africa. Evolution/synthesis of Middle America/Caribbean.

Why should people attend? Who should attend?

Why: because a large area, between the oil rich Gulf of Mexico and Venezuela, has undecided geology. Possible solutions and ways to test these need to be defined.

Who: academic and industry geoscientists and planners, service companies.

What do you think that people will gain from this event?

Understanding of the regional geology and possible hydrocarbon potential.

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