PTTC Joins the AAPG Family

I have often heard that if you want to find a good opportunity then look for a big problem. Albert Einstein stated it best when he said, “In the middle of difficulty lies a big opportunity.”

We were not necessarily looking for opportunity when we heard that the Federal Office of Management and Budget was no longer funding many of its programs for fossil fuels – in particular petroleum.

Cutting funding may seem a little strange considering the energy demands for the U.S. and world economies, but U.S. members will need to take that debate to their government representatives as we are doing through AAPG’s GEO-DC office.


One of the key programs cut was the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) funding of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC) – one of the most, if not the most successful fossil fuel programs developed as a partnership among oil and gas producers, academia and the DOE.

PTTC successfully provided producers with low-cost workshops and information on engineering, geology and geophysics, and operations.

Please note that PTTC does not develop original research, but instead searches for petroleum-related technology for transfer through workshops and other means.

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I have often heard that if you want to find a good opportunity then look for a big problem. Albert Einstein stated it best when he said, “In the middle of difficulty lies a big opportunity.”

We were not necessarily looking for opportunity when we heard that the Federal Office of Management and Budget was no longer funding many of its programs for fossil fuels – in particular petroleum.

Cutting funding may seem a little strange considering the energy demands for the U.S. and world economies, but U.S. members will need to take that debate to their government representatives as we are doing through AAPG’s GEO-DC office.


One of the key programs cut was the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) funding of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC) – one of the most, if not the most successful fossil fuel programs developed as a partnership among oil and gas producers, academia and the DOE.

PTTC successfully provided producers with low-cost workshops and information on engineering, geology and geophysics, and operations.

Please note that PTTC does not develop original research, but instead searches for petroleum-related technology for transfer through workshops and other means.

The workshops are developed by Regional Lead Organizations (RLOs) managed through universities and state surveys or bureaus. Each RLO is advised by a regional Producer Advisory Group, comprising local producers and others involved in the E &P industry.

Initiated in the early 1990s, the PTTC program was designed for industry funding at the rate of US $2-4 million per year; however, industry funding did not materialize due to low product prices, so the DOE continued funding until recent cuts.

The DOE wanted to see this project continue and has provided PTTC with approximately US $1 million in transitional funding from its total of US $2.7 million in oil and gas funding from fiscal year 2006-07.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact.”

I realize I am stating the obvious, but there isa direct correlation between research and development of successful E&P programs.

The AAPG leadership considers the PTTC research transfer program important for its members and the domestic oil and gas industry.

As a result, AAPG’s proposal to take direction and control of PTTC was accepted by the PTTC board effective October 1, 2007. AAPG has selected a new board and we are in the process of developing a new management team.

Tactical operations will be managed by AAPG via a service agreement and PTTC will be headquartered in Tulsa. The RLO boundaries have been roughly aligned to AAPG Section boundaries as to develop a strong bond between PTTC and the U.S. Sections.

The new PTTC is a separate 501c(3) corporation and will operate under a new “franchise” financial model that provides grants to the RLOs to develop workshops through government, industry and foundation funding. The PTTC will continue its emphasis on both engineering and geoscience.

This model is in part “self-funding” and will require each RLO to increase fees – or raise funds by other means – to develop workshops. Workshop fees will range from $100 to $150 per day, but could be less or more depending on the level of local funding.

The good news for AAPG members is that PTTC will generate up to 60 workshops per year on important geoscience and engineering issues.

Two years ago PTTC was sponsoring almost 150 workshops per year. In order to grow back to that number, AAPG is currently looking for another association to partner in the development of PTTC.

It is important to note that AAPG plans to transfer many of the concepts developed with PTTC into workshops around the world. Workshops outside of the United States will be developed by AAPG’s Education Department.

AAPG also will work with PTTC to develop a new digital library from past and future workshops.


Also on opportunity, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I despise making the most of one’s time. Half of the pleasures of life consist of the opportunities one has neglected.”

He may have a point, but PTTC is one opportunity that AAPG will not neglect.

Welcome to the new PTTC – powered by AAPG!

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