In the midst of regional geopolitical tensions and plunging oil prices worldwide, negative headlines from the Middle East aren’t hard to find. But, geoscientists and industry professionals know that the region has plenty of good news as well.
A bright spot for the region and the energy sector alike is GEO 2016, the 12th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition taking place March 7-10 in Bahrain.
The event, organized by AAPG, EAGE and SEG serves as a model of collaboration at a time when interdisciplinary work environments and tightened company budgets make cooperative efforts between professional societies more important than ever.
GEO 2016, titled “Today’s Geosciences, Tomorrow’s Energy,” is supported by all six national oil companies in the Gulf Cooporation Council as well as local geoscience societies from Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
For AAPG member Pinar Yilmaz, lead for external upstream projects at ExxonMobil Exploration Company and member of the GEO technical program committee since 1998, the collaboration between national and independent oil companies and professional societies creates a dynamic program that draws repeat attenders.
“GEO conference is the center of excellence for Middle East geosciences where you network with the decision makers, experts and colleagues working in the Middle East oil and gas industry,” she said.
“Field trips to Oman are always the highlight of the conference, as well as special field trips to Saudi Arabia and Emirates for ancient and modern carbonates representing giant reservoirs,” she said.
Robert Kuchinski, president of AAPG’s Middle East Region and senior technical adviser for formation evaluation in the Middle East/Africa Region for Weatherford, is planning to attend GEO for the fifth time.
He describes GEO as “the premier geoscience conference in the region” and said the event offers numerous benefits to attendees.
“The technical program is rich and varied. It is a good place to meet geoscientists working in the Middle East and to expand your knowledge on Middle East geosciences and the Middle East oil and gas Industry,” he said.
Conference organizers are not the only ones excited about GEO. At a time when energy sector events throughout the world are facing lower-than-usual attendance, GEO registration is ahead of where it was prior to the last event, held in 2014. The technical program committee received a record number of abstracts – 200 more than in previous years.
Aiman Bakhorji, technical program committee co-chair from Saudi Aramco, said GEO is renowned as an outstanding platform where new and exciting avenues for learning and growth can continually be found.
“This year, 2016 will be no different,” he said, adding that the conference will be geared to address to current industry conditions.
“With the current low global oil prices and the associated future challenges that the industry will confront, limited opportunities will arise to bring together a wide range of technical expertise, and to empower our professionals to meet these challenges head-on,” Bakhorji said.
“GEO 2016 will provide such a unique opportunity and will be an important source of knowledge-sharing and new technology developments coupled with extensive networking opportunities.”
The final technical program will include 220 oral presentations, more than 150 posters, short courses and Middle East region-specific field trips. The conference also will include five panel sessions:
- Long Term Strategies Through Unpredictable Markets.
- IT Emerging Trends.
- Integrated Technologies for Better Performance.
- Unconventional Resources of the Middle East.
- Industry-Academia Engagement and Collaboration.
New GEO events include a CEO panel session featuring executives from ADCO, Aramco and Schlumberger, and a special session, “Women’s Growing Role in the Energy Industry,” led by top female industry professionals.
GEO’s focus on the future also includes a robust program for young professionals and students representing 18 universities.
In addition to networking events, technical courses, poster sessions and core workshops, the conference features a soft skills short course and a panel session discussing factors for success in the industry.
AAPG’s Imperial Barrel Award competition, scheduled for March 6, will include eight teams – a record number for the Middle East Region.
University students can participate in the EAGE GEO Quiz and the SEG Challenge Bowl during the week, and 200 high school students are invited to tour the exhibition.
Kuchinski said he looks forward to learning about “Tomorrows Energy” at the conference.
“We expect this energy will be discovered and produced using ideas and technologies that are new and/or haven’t been thought of or invented yet. It will cover the range from new conventional discoveries, bypassed pay, EOR, unconventional resources and things we may not know about yet,” he said.
Kuchinski said he expects participation from throughout the region and the world, noting that energy professionals from abroad have much to learn from their colleagues in the region.
“The Middle East contains the world’s largest oil and gas reservoirs distributed throughout many unique, interesting and dynamic countries,” he said.”
These oil and gas deposits are being developed by NOCs that are committed to producing as much oil and gas as they can, using the most advanced technology and sophisticated techniques possible.
“As much of this technology and techniques are adapted from other parts of the world, a geoscientist in the Middle East gets exposure and learning opportunities from people all over the world,” he said, “and also has the chance to explore many exciting and well-exposed outcrops.
“Thanks to the arid climate and lack of vegetation, there are numerous outstanding geological sections to visit and study,” Kuchinski said.
Bakhorji agreed that attending GEO 2016 is an invaluable investment for energy professionals everywhere.
“As always, GEO 2016 will be attended by decision makers, senior executives and top notch scientists and engineers from across the industry providing international networking and educational opportunities that will enrich our career and professional development. This will indeed be the most productive and strategic time that one can spend away from his office in 2016,” he said.
Event details, registration, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities are available at http://geo2016.com