The Michel T. Halbouty lecture series – funded by the AAPG Foundation – is an ongoing special event at the
AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition. Lecture topics are designed to focus either on wildcat exploration in
any part of the world where major discoveries might contribute significantly to petroleum reserves, or space
exploration where astrogeological knowledge would further mankind’s ability to develop resources on Earth and
in the Solar System.
This year’s speaker will be Carlos A. Dengo. After 30 years of career services, Dengo retired from ExxonMobil Corporation in 2012
and is now principal of Tierranos Consulting. He is discussing Transcending Geoscience Paradigms for Exploration Opportunity
Exploration success is “seeing first what others have not”. Paradigm shifts in geologic concepts have grown resource
opportunities, but historically have been relatively slow to gain favor due to perceived high risk, unfavorable price environment
or lack of enabling technologies, among other factors. Energy outlooks, tied to global population growth and economic
development, point to a robust exploration future for decades ahead with a commodity price environment that should
encourage testing of new play concepts while challenging existing paradigms of success in producing basins. Future success
must continue to transcend paradigms and requires a balance and healthy tension between human creativity, innovation
and the use of increasingly large, complex data sets and interpretation/modeling technologies. This presentation examines
historical trends in the contributions of ideas and technologies to exploration and where they might lead while drawing
attention for the need to place additional focus on the human element of our industry.
In his early career assignments, Carlos focused on structural geology research and technology applications with Exxon
affiliates worldwide. From 1992 to 1999 he progressed through a number of supervisory and managerial positions of
increasing responsibility with Exxon Exploration Company prior to being appointed U.S./Mexico geoscience area manager,
responsible for all regional exploration activities, following the merger between Exxon and Mobil. In 2006 Carlos was
appointed technical vice president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company and served as an exploration company executive
until being appointed vice president of geoscience for ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company in 2008. As geoscience vice
president for ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Carlos led the Corporation’s worldwide geoscience research function
and the application of differentiating and proprietary technology in support of ExxonMobil’s global upstream operations.
Carlos is recipient of the Winchell Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University,
the best paper award from the U.S. National Rock Mechanics Committee and the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award from the
AAPG. He has also served as an AAPG International Distinguished Lecturer. He has and continues to serve on several advisory
boards, including having been on the Executive Advisory Council of the AAPG.