The Geo Game

Published
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Marc Bond
Marc Bond
Making students excited about the oil industry often requires hands-on engagement and a little bit of healthy competition. Welcome to an interview with Marc Bond, who has developed The Oil Exploration Game and has seen it spark interest and enthusiasm in many different schools.

1.  What is your name and your relation to oil and gas exploration and production?
Marc Bond.  Over 35 years diversified experience in the international petroleum industry.

2.  What do you see as areas of misunderstanding when it comes to the public perception of the industry?
Pretty much the whole business.  Most individuals understanding of the business comes from either the media or the petrol station.  Some specific issues that come to mind include:  supply & demand;  environmental impact, particularly fracking;  how oil & gas is explored for, and the risks and uncertainties associated with the activity (surface & subsurface).  It is the latter issue that I address with the Exploration Oil Game that I designed and created.

3.  How can education play a role?
As geoscientists working in the industry, we should use our expertise and knowledge to educate the public about our industry.  We should be honest about the environmental impacts, political implications and difficulty to find and extract the resource.  We should be focused on educating and informing others, and be forthright on the pros and cons or our industry.  From the Oil Exploration Game, it is giving students an active role in exploring and the associated issues, risks and uncertainties associated with our business.  In a short and fun time, the students go away with a much better understanding of our business.

4.  Please describe (briefly) your game.  Who plays? Why?
The name is the Oil Exploration Game. PESGB, AAPG and Rose & Associates are sponsoring the Oil Exploration Game as an educational tool to raise the awareness of the oil & gas industry and support the teaching of exploration and petroleum geology concepts. It is a game that is a learning tool to aid in the understanding of oil & gas exploration and to gain an appreciation of the industry. Research has shown that games can be an excellent tool to enhance learning objectives.  The goal is to aid in the understanding of oil and gas exploration and complement current secondary school and undergraduate courses as well as training for non-technical individuals associated with the industry, the game has been developed.  The Game puts individuals, working in teams, into a demanding and competitive environment where they have to make decisions on where to explore and how much to invest.  By the end of the game, the students should have a much better appreciation of the importance of geological concepts and decision-making skills in exploring for hydrocarbons, and how this fits into the wider issues related to energy and geo-political considerations.  The intent is that the Game facilitator is one who has experience in the industry in order to enhance the learnings.

5.   What you like to see in the future?
The game being a learning tool that can accompany educational training for individuals to better understand the oil and gas industry, with focus on  secondary schools, universities, new geoscience hires, and non-technical individuals related to the oil & gas industry.  I would like to see expansion of the Game’s use beyond just me as the facilitator.

Learn more about Petroleum Geology Fundamentals. This course provides an overview of petroleum geology, from exploration to development.

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