500 geologists from 32 countries, the St. Petersburg meeting in July
was far more international than regional in attendance.
The meeting's technical
focus was on the Arctic and exploration in difficult and sensitive areas
-- however, the addition of a Caspian Sea session broadened the scope
to draw from many southern and southeastern European countries.
Also surprising and delightful
was the attendance of AAPG members from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand,
Australia, Nigeria, Egypt, Kuwait and even a sizable contingent from
Colombia, South America, who felt the conference and the venue provided
an excellent place to meet the right people for talks of future business
Mikhail Belonin, with VNIGRI
in St. Petersburg, was the general chairman and can take credit for
a successful meeting. Irina Gildeeva was officially field trip chair,
but she also substantially took care of details, which made this an
especially good meeting for all participants -- and she always had a
nice smile and good humor.
The two field trips held
in conjunction with the conference also received rave reviews, according
to AAPG member Chuck Caughey, who traveled from Singapore to attend
heat, St. Petersburg was totally captivating with its abundance of palaces,
churches, amazing architecture, history and exceptional Peter the Great
and Walter Grün worked solidly to ensure participation from the West,
while Valentin Shimansky, Dirk van der Wel, Geir Lunde, Konstantine
Osypov and David Houseknect could be proud of creating an excellent
technical program, with excellent contributions from meeting co-sponsors
EAGE and SEG.
with proven production are boundless for companies looking for areas
to target their engineering and development geological expertise. Ray
Leonard, AAPG member working in Moscow with Yukos Oil Corp., commented
on the numerous billion-barrel opportunities and equally large gas opportunities
that are being neglected.
This could be in part the
result of previous deal structures. Though production-sharing agreements
seem to work successfully in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, the companies
operating most successfully in Russia appear to have turned to the western
As Alexey Khitrov, Russian
Ministry of Energy, pointed out, "There are billions of barrels of proven
reserves with little geologic risk."
The Russian sessions focused
largely on huge Arctic fields, especially in the Timan Pichora Basin,
that are grossly underdeveloped. The Alaskan papers focused on the mature
province around Prudhoe Bay and Kuparek fields, the two largest producing
fields in the United State. These papers featured the environmentally
sensitive and precautionary techniques developed and used in the Arctic.
The Smolny Institute, Catherine
the Great's philosophical convent for young noble women that is now
a beautiful public hall, was perfect for the Icebreaker, where good
vodka and excellent food was followed by fireworks. And there were plenty
of good philosophical discussions, too, in keeping with the setting!