It soon will be time to pack up and head to Lafayette, La. for the 2014 Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies meeting, hosted by the Lafayette Geological Society.
This is the 64th year for the popular annual confab, which has long been a high point in the industry – particularly for the geoscientists and companies who ply their trade in the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf Coast region.
Historically, the meeting agenda is rife with well-known and respected speakers, disseminating a tremendous amount of high-level info of value to the attendees.
It’s not all talk.
“One of the best gifts GCAGS gives the scientific community is its annual publication of the Transactions and GCAGS Journal in conjunction with its annual convention,” said AAPG member Mary Broussard, GCAGS president.
She noted that this year’s Transactions will be dedicated posthumously to AAPG Honorary member Daniel J. Tearpock, who founded his company, Subsurface Consultants, in Lafayette.
The theme of the 2014 get-together is “Survivor, the Gulf Coast.”
To many industry veterans, the Gulf Coast is synonymous with oil and gas exploration.
A trio of long-ago notable events speaks volumes:
♦ 1901 – The giant Spindletop oilfield near Beaumont, Texas, proved to be a reality when the Lucas well came roaring to life.
♦ 1901 – The first commercially successful oil well in Louisiana was drilled at Jennings, marking the birth of the industry in the state.
♦ 1947 – The first commercial offshore oil well was drilled in 14 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico Ship Shoal area off southeast Louisiana.
The region has not only survived over the course of these many years, it is thriving, having weathered the numerous downtimes indigenous to the oil and gas industry.
Something For Everyone
In addition to its long-time role as the jumping-off point for most of the GOM action, the area harbors both conventional and unconventional resource plays.
“I tried to steer this year’s convention a little bit away from the unconventional and get more focused on conventional,” said GCAGS general chair and AAPG member Michael Quinn. “There is a session on unconventionals, though.
“There are a number of environmental talks also,” he emphasized.
“We’re trying to make it so that if you hear GCAGS, you don’t just think ‘oil,’” he noted.
Quinn said they’re trying to make all interests feel “welcome at the table.”
Broussard and Quinn both expressed excitement over the scheduled half-day educational forum set for Monday afternoon during the event.
“Mary reached out to people she knows in the industry who are leading experts on the geology and geophysics of the Gulf of Mexico,” Quinn noted. “Four experts will spend an hour each talking about specific aspects of some piece of Gulf of Mexico geology, including salt, seismic, structure.
“Someone new to the basin, (such as a YP) could come away thinking of areas where they need to focus,” he said. “And the group that’s been in the industry longer will benefit as well.”
The forum speakers, all AAPG mem,bers, are:
♦ J. Carl Fiduk Schlumberger, Houston.
♦ Roger M. Slatt, Honorary member, University of Oklahoma, Norman.
♦ Ernest A. Mancini, Honorary member and last year’s AAPG Sidney Powers Memorial Award winner, University of Alabama, Northport, Ala.
♦ Fred Hilterman, Geokinetics, Houston.
Prospect expos have become ubiquitous, so come to the meeting prepared for the opportunity to cut a deal at “Prospect Alley.” Companies – many of them local from Lafayette’s long-established oil and gas community – will be on hand to show prospects to potential investors.
It’s becoming increasingly important to spread the word about the industry to the community at large. One avenue is by way of school teachers. A one-day workshop dubbed “More! Rocks in Your Head!” will be offered for teaching earth science (grades 3-12 teachers only).
Quinn emphasized they are eager to attract YPs to the meeting, which is pretty much the norm today.
And for folks who have been around awhile, he offered some upbeat comments when queried about the ‘great crew change.’
His intriguing observation was that he sees this as impacting the larger companies rather than smaller entities.
“With smaller companies, you have a tendency to keep on working,” he said. “They like having you around to do the work, and you’re having a good time doing it.”
Speaking of a good time, there’s a YP Pub Crawl on the event schedule for the meeting.
After all, this is south Louisiana, where you’re seldom far away from a good party.