This report is being written on
Attack Day plus three. An already fast-moving world began changing
at warp speed on 9/11.
By the time you read this, shock waves of
history will have already caused ripples that will affect virtually
all of our lives in some way.
In these early hours of the shock, the EXPLORER
asked several well-known AAPG leaders what may be considered an
unfair question: What kinds of change are facing petroleum geologists?
Some we asked to respond could not be reached
because of being stranded by travel limitations. Others couldn't
respond due to company restrictions on public comments. Others couldn't
respond perhaps even because of personal safety concerns due to
But those who did may give us an early insight
as to what we might be facing in the early 2000s.
Robbie Gries, AAPG President.
I have been receiving a constant stream
of messages from members around the world -- Christians, Muslims,
Hindus, Buddhist alike, all express shock and sympathy.
Their heartfelt horror echoes our own. This
was truly an evil and Godless act.
We will bear this with our indomitable love
of humanity and justice.
I think we've seen a very stable reaction
with only a small blip in prices. If there is a warlike retaliation,
our business will be directly affected by higher oil prices.
Larry Funkhouser, AAPG Foundation Trustee Emeritus, past
It's too early to predict what effect the
terrorist attacks will have on the exploration industry. So much
will depend on the nature and location of the retaliatory attacks
that are sure to come.
Since it's likely that the retaliation will
be directed primarily toward certain countries in the Middle East
plus Afghanistan, there may be some disruption in worldwide oil
supplies. Certainly, any exploration work in the countries affected
will need to be suspended.
Perhaps one primary action affecting domestic
exploration could be a stimulus to pass legislation opening up
areas of high potential for new oil and gas production that are
now in moratorium. Domestic supply should become a more serious
concern for the United States public. An early decision to open
up those areas is important because of the lead times required
to bring on frontier production.
Hopefully, this terrible calamity will help
to put aside the political differences that have impeded the industry's
ability to provide a more secure source of petroleum for the United
Marlan Downey, past AAPG president.
I would suggest that the significance of
the Word Trade Center attack is that it demonstrates that the
entire world has become a potential target area for fanatics.
With an American economy that depends on fossil energy, it means
that we should review the security of those few sites which if
harmed might most gravely damage us.
Those of us in the energy business are familiar
with a few of these "choke points" in our energy supply and usage;
I would suggest that the Valdez terminal is one such vulnerable
site, and I hope its security is under review.
William L. Fisher, AAPG Foundation Trustee, past AAPG president.
The events of Sept. 11 clearly put this
nation on a war footing -- and not without implications in areas
of the world on which we are increasingly dependent for oil supplies.
And so the nation's justified demand for reprisals must be done
in a way that maintains some reasonable degree of stability in
the areas on which we depend -- a pretty tough challenge for the
president and the administration.
I suspect this tragic event will make the
United States a little more isolationist, and that may well translate
into broader public support for domestic energy production. Just
like the concerns of the 1970s tipped the scales for the Alaska
pipeline, this may well secure the opening of ANWR and other prospective
James A. Gibbs, AAPG Foundation Trustee, past AAPG president.
I believe that it reminds us that much of
oil that the United States increasingly depends on is located
in countries where citizens intensely hate the U.S. and what it
It should refocus attention at the highest
levels that development of all U.S. energy sources -- including
solar, wind and nuclear as well as oil and gas resources -- should
be encouraged and supported.
It will add impetus to arguments for relaxing
restrictions of development of ANWR, offshore areas and other
It should cause the United States to work
to strengthen economic and cultural ties to other Western Hemisphere
Diplomatically, my hope is it will cause
the United States to begin to work proactively to help resolve
the Palestinian problem, which many believe is the root cause
of the anti-U.S. emotions throughout the Middle East. Had the
United States lobbied as hard to help create a Palestinian homeland
for those dispossessed when Israel was created in 1948 as it did
to establish Israel, Tuesday's events probably would not have
Andrew R. Scott, Energy Minerals Division president.
- The United States must continue to develop
and expand unconventional oil and gas resources.
- We need to get more support, through government
tax incentives and government-funded research, in order to ensure
that smaller operators will continue to lead the exploration and
development of domestic energy supplies.
Similarly, the United States should focus
on developing domestic natural gas rather than depending on
- Acknowledge that the nation's energy supply,
particularly pipelines and refineries, are also vulnerable to
terrorist activities, and take actions to make sure that our energy
supply is not disrupted.
AAPG and the oil industry must do whatever
is possible to make sure that individual gas station owners
and distributors do not take advantage of crisis situations
to increase the price of gasoline. These actions are deplorable
and are exactly what gives the oil industry a black eye in the
Lee Gerhard, DPA Government Affairs Committee.
Everything is different today. Yesterday
morning when I woke, the nation's energy picture was rosy, international
collaboration in petroleum E&P was the norm and interest in
a national energy policy was waning along with natural gas and
oil prices. Today, we had better get back to the drawing board.
We are at war.
Those who have argued so forcefully and
successfully for increasing imports of energy rather than accessing
domestic resources "until necessary" must take some responsibility
for the death toll of yesterday's bombings.
Failure to act in the earlier embassy bombings
because of fear of exporter's reaction to strong and deserved
action was simply Chamberlainian appeasement. We know how effective
that turned out to be. We reap those benefits in New York City
and in Washington.
Energy policy must, absolutely must, include
access to the domestic resource base, with whatever caveats are
necessary to meet real environmental standards. Those standards
must be scientifically valid, ecologically sophisticated, and
economically rational. It may be that to become politically acceptable,
the Arctic coastal plain development will be accomplished through
contracts with E&P companies rather than standard leases.
With the government having to pay the costs of risk and environmental
standards -- but with a commensurate reward -- we would have the
ability to extend production schedules to lengthen the life of
Elsewhere, national security needs must
force open now-closed access to national forests and offshore
our three coasts, where closures have no rational basis. Those
who have denigrated the national security issue must now realize
how in error they have been.
International E&P operations will continue,
but under a cloud of increasing hostility between cultures. We
cannot permit our Western culture of democracy to be held hostage
by a culture of religious dictatorship and terrorist bombings.
Because of that, international resources may be regarded as "interruptible"
sources until these issues are resolved.
While South American and Central American
resources appear to be accessible, the Caspian Sea, all former
USSR, the Middle East and Southeast Asia resources form the bulk
of present and future imports. None of these can be regarded as
fully dependable after yesterday. I do not choose to be dependent
on those who celebrated American deaths in their streets.
We had better get to work here at home.
Robert Countryman, Membership Committee chairman.
Perhaps my words sound a bit trite but I
hope that this act of terrorism doesn't fundamentally alter our
society and how we interact with the world. We need to remain
engaged and open to all of the diverse cultures, countries and
peoples of the globe while encouraging them to do likewise. I
hope that AAPG is able to continue to do these things as well.
We are currently going through a trying
time and will be undergoing a great deal of reflection on the
causes and the future results of this act of terrorism. The purpose
of terrorism is to demoralize the target population and to cause
them to fundamentally change the way they live and conduct their
The best thing we can do, as a nation and
as individuals, is to continue our current policies and to continue
to live our lives the way we always have. Although we will have
to increase our vigilance and may have to accept some security
inconveniences, we must continue to be an open welcoming society
and to continue to be engaged throughout the world.
To do otherwise would allow the perpetrators
of this crime to have truly achieved their victory.