"Colombia is open for business!
This unmistakable message permeated every aspect of the recent Colombian Oil & Gas Investment Conference and the Conventional and Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources International Congress.
The back-to-back week-long event in early February, organized and hosted by the Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH) and the Colombian Association of Petroleum Geologists and Geophysicists, combined both commercial and technical programs.
Professional societies supporting the conference included AAPG, along with USGS, SEG, EAGE and the Latin American Geophysical Union (ULG).
The conference benefited from strong governmental and corporate support plus strong university and student involvement – over 1,800 attendees came from over 28 countries worldwide.
♦ Strong government support.
The III Colombian Oil and Gas Investment Conference opened with remarks provided by Hernan Martinex, minister of Mines and Energy; Joaco Berrio, governor, Department of Bolivar; and Armando Zamora, director general of ANH. Simultaneous workshops offered the latest perspectives on heavy oil, coal bed methane, gas and management of the operations environment.
The conference highlight was the launching of Colombian Round 2008, opening 43 blocks of acreage in four Colombian basins for foreign investment.
Zamora encouraged “investment with confidence” by assuring that perceptions of doing business in Colombia, especially in the area of security, are delayed when compared to reality.
An appearance and presentation by Republic of Colombia President Alvaro Uribe Velez marked the closing of the investment conference and opening of the Conventional and Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources International Congress.
Uribe Velez’s intelligent and extemporaneous remarks emphasized the country’s desire to convey an atmosphere of confidence, trustworthiness and respect for human rights. He described the “macro-economic healing of the Colombian economy” and a desire to “connect the Colombian economy with the world economy.”
♦ Strong corporate support.
Over 50 companies from around the world supported and attended the conference as sponsors, exhibitors, technical presenters or attendees – a clear demonstration of recent interest in Colombia and its economic potential.
♦ Strong university involvement.
Over 130 students from six Colombian universities participated along with students and faculty from universities in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Argentina.
The technical program included basin prospectivity talks given by the Universidad de Caldas, Universidad Nacional and Universidad Industrial de Santander, from among Colombia’s six universities offering geoscience degree programs.
In addition, nearly 20 geoscience students served an indispensable role assisting with conference logistics, along with three students from Universidad Industrial de Santander who gave their time to assist in the AAPG booth.
AAPG was represented at the conference by several members, including Latin American Region President Nilo Azambuja; luncheon speaker G. Warfield “Skip” Hobbs; AAPG Technical Program Committee chair Pinar Yilmaz; and Carol McGowen, AAPG Sections and Regions manager.
Hobbs delivered the keynote luncheon speech in Spanish on “The Future of the Global Oil Industry: Resources, Challenges and the Geoscience Work Force,” and also joined others on a panel discussion of “Exploratory and Technical Perspectives in Latin America.”
An evening student reception hosted by AAPG resulted in over 100 new AAPG student members, renewed relationships with existing AAPG student chapters and their faculty advisers, and sparked interest in starting new AAPG student chapters.
The warmth and generous hospitality of the Colombian people, along with many invitations for future collaboration with AAPG from the local societies, leaves no doubt for productive future relationships in AAPG’s Latin American Region.