AAPG’s return to the West Coast for an annual convention proved to be a winning move, as nearly 5,200 people journeyed to Long Beach, Calif., for a meeting that seemed to offer something for everyone.
AAPG’s 92nd annual convention -- and it’s first in California since 1996 -- “exceeded all expectations,” according to general chairman Dalton Lockman.
“I would characterize the meeting as prosperous, thriving and exciting,” Lockman said. “From my vantage point, it was clear that Long Beach had an unparalleled level of excitement right from the start of the opening session to the last chip eaten at the Sundowner.”
Leading the way, he added, was the technical program.
“I saw technical sessions that were powerful, with high quality discussions that carried outside of the sessions itself,” Lockman said.
That was no accident; organizers had set four priorities for the meeting, with the technical program leading the way. And anchoring that was a core that included nine forums and special sessions, including Richard Nehring’s presentation of results from last year’s Hedberg Research Conference on
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Other priorities were the field trips, student events and guest activities. The emphasis on students proved especially fruitful, with a large number of “new, young faces” being seen throughout the meeting.
“Students were engaged like never before with the added emphasis on their participation,” Lockman said. “We increased student activities and participation with several new functions.”
Other highlights included:
♦ Arnold Bouma ’s acceptance of the Sidney Powers Medal at the opening session.
♦ Ken Rudolph ’s Halbouty Lecture, in which he offered an optimistic look at how technology is improving exploration efforts (“The new generation is going to be way better than I am at finding information and meeting needs,” he said).
♦ Michael Economides entertaining talk at the [PFItemLinkShortcode|id:12529|type:standard|anchorText: All Convention Luncheon |cssClass:asshref|title: All Convention Luncheon |PFItemLinkShortcode], in which he regaled the audience with a sometimes funny, sometimes scary assessment of the world’s current and future energy situation: “I don’t care how you say it. Yes, Virginia, there is an energy crisis.”
Economides also predicted that the price of oil will “stay over $60 for quite a while,” and that natural gas will “go over $20 again.
“Geologists’ opinion notwithstanding, we are not going to meet demand,” he said.
AAPG President Lee Billingsley, in his presidential address at the opening session, challenged members to help achieve the goal of making AAPG “indispensable to geologists worldwide.”
Billingsley reminded geologists of the challenges that the industry and profession face, including media misperceptions, limited education opportunities, a shortage of qualified geoscience graduates and restrictions that impact exploration efforts.
But, he added, he had a vision -- a dream -- that one day the world would be a place where:
- Students in K-12 are taught earth science as part of their curriculum. Their teachers have taken college courses in geosciences, and they have attended workshops on the application of earth science to solve human needs.
- Undergraduate enrollment in geoscience meets industry demands.
- There are adequate numbers of qualified faculty in geosciences departments to teach a core curriculum beneficial to industry, government and research.
- New graduates have a well-balanced background that includes field experience and all the basic courses in mineralogy, structure, sedimentation and geophysics.
- Energy companies can fill their employment needs with qualified graduates as “baby boomers” retire.
- Young professionals are active in AAPG and help create new forms of digital content and delivery.
- Baby boomer geologists do not just retire to golf courses, they “pay it forward” by helping others.
- Professional geologists have a continuously expanding global technical database.
- Government officials recognize that, for now, fossil fuels are the most cost- efficient energy source; that market-driven energy choices provide the best opportunity for a healthy economy; and that a healthy economy allows development of technologies to reduce emissions and research alternative energy sources.
- All areas with potential are open for environmentally responsible oil and gas development.
- Geologists are called upon to provide both perspective and solutions to global climate change.
“AAPG can play a significant role in all these ‘dreams,’ Billingsley said. “We provide the bridge between academia and industry, between government and the public, between government and industry, between the public and industry.”