It’s been two years since NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, where its exploration of Jezero Crater continues. Perseverance rover’s primary surface mission was designed to last one Mars year, or 687 Earth days, beginning with its Feb. 18, 2021 landing. It reached that milestone on Jan. 6. As of Jan. 7, the rover has entered its extended mission phase.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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The successful Mars InSight mission employed a NASA/European Space Agency robotic lander designed to study the interior of Mars. The mission recently ended with last contact as its dust-choked solar panels failed to deliver enough electricity to keep InSight going. InSight had two science goals: Seek to determine the interior structure and composition of Mars and to reveal how a rocky planet forms, and to study the rate of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.

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Large institutions and asset managers are diversifying away from traditional oil and gas projects, sometimes driven by climate concerns, but their investments haven’t fallen far afield. Those organizations think in terms of billions of dollars when evaluating a potential investment sector. And so far, they haven’t hesitated to invest in energy. What has changed, and what keeps changing, is where they put those investment dollars. It’s an energy-investment transition that parallels today’s ongoing energy transition.

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The Peruvian Congress’s ousting of President Pedro Castillo on Dec. 7 led to two weeks of protest throughout the country, with at least 50 reported dead in clashes with law enforcement. In Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city located 400 kilometers from the southern border, AAPG members Luis Alexander Alvarez and Alexandra Del Castillo took refuge in their homes. Alvarez, a mining and hydrocarbon geologist, said the social unrest directly affected him and his family.

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Energy super basins grabbed the attention of the oil and gas industry during the past five years, with good reason. Now a period of re-evaluation has kicked in. Producers are looking beyond total resource potential to apply other criteria, including economic, environmental and regulatory considerations. Those yardsticks could help identify which basins will dominate energy production in the decades ahead.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Refineries are some of the largest carbon emitters in the world, and making them greener is no simple task. Yet, an effort to do so is taking place in West Texas in the heart of the Permian Basin. Here, two operators have received state permits to build small, modular refineries to process the light, sweet crude from shale formations with emissions that are roughly 95-percent lower than those from the average Gulf Coast refinery. Taking advantage of their location – where oil is produced and its finished products are needed – these operators have capitalized on the opportunity to build their own refineries from scratch, complete with carbon capture technology, and become some of the cleanest refineries in the country.

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On Jan. 9, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries concluded the 2022 Onshore and Nearshore Competitive Bid Round. This bid round featured a total of 11 blocks covering more than 115,000 hectares. Blocks offered included Aripero, Buenos Ayres, Charuma, Cipero, Cory D, Cory F, Guayaguayare, South West Peninsula Onshore, St. Mary’s and Tulsa, located in the central to southern onshore Trinidad; and the South West Peninsula Offshore, located off the southern coast of Trinidad. Xavier Moonan, president-elect of AAPG’s Latin America and Caribbean Region and exploration manager of Touchstone Exploration Inc., follows the bid rounds closely.

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To achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the demand for renewable energy is increasing exponentially, with offshore wind farms as one potential area of investment. Offshore wind farm development requires effective mapping of near subsurface for turbine foundation design and construction, which faces many challenges related to seafloor topography mapping, shallow geohazard detection, structure interpretation and modeling, soil type analysis and geotechnical property estimation, among other considerations.

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Volunteering is sometimes worth its weight in gold. There is a reason many of us have continued to volunteer to help AAPG for many years, sometimes decades. There is personal satisfaction in that you help promote the science and business that you love, but the rewards of personal and close interaction with your peers often far outweigh anything else. Such collaboration can be priceless.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/goolsby-steven-large.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true The Immeasurable Rewards of Volunteering
 

The idea of an oil-finding instrument was not new. Water dowsers were common throughout the United States and among most people of European descent worldwide, and they were quickly adapted to looking for oil. Soon after the Drake well in 1859, people started working on inventions to detect oil by geophysical methods.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Being an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer, from the very first speaking tour in 1941, was always a prestigious achievement and a source of honor and pride for those selected as speakers. It was always recognized and praised as an important vehicle for the profession’s top geoscientists to share the latest in industry insights and advances. It always showcased geologists who truly were distinguished. What it wasn’t always, was easy.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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I attended Pete Rose’s memorial service in Austin, Texas. There, along with his family, friends and several AAPG past presidents and other leaders, we remembered a man who had a significant influence on many and left a legacy to our industry. As we filed to our seats in the sanctuary, we each received a small pamphlet of Rose’s Rules – maxims that Pete compiled and that were meaningful to him – and No. 78 stood out to me.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Energy minerals have always been lurking in the background, silently supporting societal progress without the usual spectacle accompanied by paradigm-shifting discoveries. Looking back at decades’ worth of AAPG EXPLORER issues, many of the cover stories lay bare the gradual exposure of energy minerals into the light. Energy minerals continue to play a supporting role in most technologies, and as these become more prevalent, it is my hope that we don’t lose sight of how and where these energy minerals are being sourced.

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Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/bingle-davis-mike-large.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true The Persistent Prevalence of Energy Minerals

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