Globalization has hit a road bump, according to a special report on the world economy in the October 12 issue of The Economist.
Over the past two decades, advances in technology and political choices to encourage the flow of goods, services and capital across borders have contributed significantly to global economic growth. Overall this free flow of trade benefits producers by connecting them to much larger markets and consumers by lowering costs.
But, as we learned during the financial crisis of 2008, this openness and free trade carries not just benefits but also risks.
Fear of a global contagion gripped world markets in 2008 with the collapse of financial giant Lehman Brothers in the United States. Bankers across the globe worried that the conditions observed in U.S. markets would spread to other markets, as they in fact did.
Since then, “(all countries) want to enjoy the benefits of globalization, but as much as possible they now also want to insulate themselves from its downsides, be they volatile capital flows or surging imports,” writes Greg Ip, U.S. economics editor for The Economist.
Efforts to engineer this type of economic protection can negatively affect economic growth. And it is here that our industry could be affected by this trend, if demand for oil and natural gas softens.
Mindful of these global economic forces at work, here at AAPG we remain focused on serving geoscientists and other interested stakeholders who are interested in petroleum geoscience – no matter where they may live and work. That is our mission.
By way of example, in September AAPG cooperated with SEPM, the PetroChina Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED), and China University of Petroleum-Beijing to host a research symposium on fine-grained sedimentary systems and unconventional resources.
Nearly 200 delegates and students attended this symposium in Beijing to hear technical talks from China and around the world, to identify some of the key research challenges to better understand these geological systems that can contain significant volumes of oil and natural gas.
But each is unique – and one of the principal benefits of gathering with fellow geoscientists at AAPG events is the opportunity to learn from each other.
AAPG President Lee Krystinik was an honorary convener of the research symposium and observed to me how the technical program prompted several new insights and ideas that he will apply in his own exploration activities in North America.
This is how science – and exploration – advances.
Our hosts were essential to the successful outcome of this symposium:
- State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resources and Prospecting (SKL-PRP).
- Unconventional Natural Gas Institute, China University of Petroleum-Beijing (UNGI, CUP-Beijing).
- Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, PetroChina.
- Chinese Petroleum Society (CPS).
- Division of Sedimentology, the Geological Society of China (DS, GSC).
And special thanks to the conveners for their efforts and support in launching this initiative, first proposed by Chengzao Jia to then-AAPG President Paul Weimer and AAPG Asia-Pacific Region President Peter Baillie at the 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif. They are:
- AAPG member Longde Sun, PetroChina.
- AAPG member Chengzao Jia, PetroChina and China University of Petroleum.
- Ningning Zhong, China University of Petroleum.
- AAPG member Keyu Liu, PetroChina RIPED.
- AAPG member Brent Lockhart, Chevron Inc.
- Tom Bowman, ZaZa Energy.
May this event be the first of many collaborative efforts with our colleagues in China as we seek to collectively advance the world of petroleum geoscience.
A significant source of AAPG’s strength is that it is an association of geoscientists and other interested stakeholders who represent tremendous technical and geographic diversity.
But we have not come together as an association to simply be a collection of technical discipline niches or geographic subgroups – there is little value in that by itself.
The value comes from taking this diversity and focusing it on our stated purposes:
- To advance the science of geology, especially as it relates to petroleum, natural gas, other subsurface fluids and mineral resources.
- To promote the technology of exploring for, finding and producing these materials in an economically and environmentally sound manner.
- To foster the spirit of scientific research throughout its membership; to disseminate information relating to the geology and the associated technology of petroleum, natural gas, other subsurface fluids and mineral resources.
- To inspire and maintain a high standard of professional conduct on the part of its members; to provide the public with means to recognize adequately trained and professionally responsible geologists.
- To advance the professional well-being of our members.
As an Association we’re first and foremost about geoscience. And AAPG’s globalization is a vital part of accomplishing these purposes.
After all, the prefix “geo-” is Greek for earth.