As AAPG approaches its 100th anniversary in 2017, I wonder what the founders would think of AAPG now.
AAPG started when 122 men – most of them middle class, still in their 20s and educated at Midwestern or Eastern colleges – formed a group dedicated to the budding science of petroleum geology.
They thought in local terms – the group’s original name was the Southwestern Association of Petroleum Geologists – but a year or so later the young geologists already dared to dream big enough to add “American” to the moniker.
Today, AAPG has more than 36,000 members in 126 countries. Thirty-nine percent of AAPG members are non-U.S. residents – and the percentage is growing.
That growing non-U.S. contingent is a good thing and a natural part of the evolution of AAPG and our industry.
Around the world there is growing and recognizable enthusiasm for AAPG as evidenced by attendance and participation at AAPG-sponsored events like the International Conference and Exhibitions (ICE) or Geoscience Technology Workshops (GTWs).
This year, AAPG ICE was in Singapore, and the conference was a big success with over 2,100 attendees from 62 countries. Student attendees came from all parts of Southeast Asia, and their passion for AAPG was contagious and heartwarming.
I wish all the gray-headed members such as myself could interact with the Southeast Asian students to experience their excitement. They made me realize how important AAPG is to the international community. AAPG truly is an international organization.
Specifically, AAPG has six regions:
- Latin America.
- Middle East.
We currently have offices in London, Dubai and Singapore, with staff and volunteers working diligently to deliver products and services to our members. For example, this year the AAPG Europe Region is hosting a Regional conference in Barcelona, Spain. And we’re carefully evaluating where investments in additional offices can further extend the reach of AAPG.
As you probably know by now, the Latin America Region is host for the 2013 ICE, which will be held Sept. 8-11 in Cartagena, Colombia – the jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Under the leadership of Victor Vega, the conference chair; Miguel Ramirez, Region president; and Victor Ramirez, Region president-elect, the 2013 ICE promises to be among the best ever.
As a result of activities like GTWs and the coming 2013 ICE, AAPG has become a catalyst for improving communication in Latin America. Countries that were inactive until recently are now actively participating in AAPG Latin America Region events. New relationships are developing between people, countries and companies – and even more interaction will occur as a result.
It is all very exciting and gratifying to see AAPG grow and lead the international petroleum geologic community. It must be similar to the excitement the founders of AAPG felt when they realized that the early association would be bigger than the one they first envisaged – one that just focused on the petroleum geology of the southwestern United States.
AAPG’s founders must have been excited to see the enthusiasm of geologists from all over the United States for starting a new association. That’s when they knew, nearly a century ago, that the name had to be changed to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, to reflect the potential and possibilities that were rapidly emerging.
At some point in the not too distant future, it looks like the American Association of Petroleum Geologists may need to embrace this exciting global enthusiasm and face a similar decision.