Despite the slashed travel and professional development budgets owing to the ongoing downturn, and the distance from global E&P and industry research hubs, New Zealand's first Geosciences Technology Workshop drew vibrant attendance from a wide range of countries.
The event was held recently in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, and the topic was "Modern Depositional Systems as Analogues for Petroleum Reservoirs."
New Zealand's first GTW attracted 66 people from 10 countries within and beyond the Asia-Pacific Region.
More than half of the attendees were industry professionals (including consultants) with the balance from academic and research organizations, including 15 graduate students (most of whose attendance was supported by generous sponsorship from Chevron).
The workshop was also sponsored by Schlumberger, New Zealand Oil & Gas, GNS Science, and Excel Geophysical.
The program was divided into four half-day sessions focusing on deep water, coastal and marginal marine, and terrestrial depositional systems, with the final session addressing applications and integration.
Keynote papers were presented by Charlie Paull (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), Dale Leckie (University of Calgary), Mike Blum (University of Kansas), John McPherson (SED R&Q), Bruce Ainsworth (Chevron) and Peter Allison (Imperial College).
Twelve posters, mostly by students, were on display throughout. Each session incorporated discussion time, during which key points made by presenters were elaborated upon and clarified.
Other workshop sessions also effectively blended strong keynotes with local and regional cases. For example, Peter Allison's keynote showed how numerical modelling can elucidate large-scale shallow marine systems and his student Daniel Collins provided an
example within the region (northwest Borneo).
The Best Paper prize was awarded to AAPG member Joe Lambiase of Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) for his presentation co-authored by Salahuddin Husein of Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia) on the modern Mahakam Delta as an analogue for transgressive-phase
deltaic sandstone reservoirs on low energy coastlines.
The Best Poster prize was won by Kieran Grace, an master's degree candidate at the University of Canterbury whose poster addressed meander loop migration and its effect on liquefaction susceptibility: Liquefaction Along the Heathcote River During the 2010-12
Canterbury Earthquake Sequence.
More than half of the workshop participants took part in one or the other of two post-meeting activities in the Wairarapa district to the east of Wellington:
♦ A field excursion led by Victoria University of Wellington geology lecturer Cliff Atkins traversing the modern valley from near the range front to the coast (where Phil Barnes of NIWA used a poster to describe the adjacent offshore transition into the Hikurangi
Canyon system). The trip concluded with an examination of Pleistocene outcrop record preserved on the flank of the coastal range on the east side of the valley.
♦ A core workshop in the national core store at Featherston, organised by Victoria University graduate student Aiden Milner with supervision from GNS geologists Mark Lawrence and Greg Browne.
The success of this workshop in the face of widespread curtailment of professional development investment within the industry was a testament to an effective organizing committee ably supported by AAPG Asia Pacific Region representative Adrienne Pereira,
and of course to the features of the location as a natural laboratory for depositional systems investigations.
The workshop format and topic seemed effective in bringing together industry and academia, giving industry scientists an up-to-date awareness of topical lines of research, and academic researchers a clearer appreciation of applications in petroleum exploration
and development to which their work can be aligned.