From Nov.12 through Dec. 7, Marianne and I traveled 25,000 miles in 25 days to represent AAPG at four very different venues.
Our first stop was in London to attend the “Grand Celebratory Dinner” on Nov. 13 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the oldest geological society in the world, the Geological Society of London. (It happened to be my birthday, too, but I’m a bit less antique).
Six hundred guests were squeezed into the Central Hall of the Natural History Museum where Ray Thomasson (member of GSL) and I were proud to represent AAPG. The event was black-tie but a few, including GSL Executive Secretary Edmund Nickless, were dressed in period costume.
The principal speaker after dinner was Aubrey Manning, Emeritus Professor of Natural History at Edinburgh University. CEO Andrew Gould represented Schlumberger, the dinner sponsor.
The second stop was Athens, site of theAAPG and AAPG European Region Energy Conference and Exhibition. Registration was 1,283, which exceeded all expectations.
The mood of the meeting was upbeat and attendees – mostly from Europe, but some from around the globe – were friendly and easy to meet.
The Romanian delegation was celebrating 150 years of oil production in Romania (that’s two years before Col. Drake’s discovery in Pennsylvania, USA). Pandele Neculae, PETROM, brought 10 students from the University of Bucharest to the meeting. That group of students was extremely lively, engaged and interested in petroleum geology.
Other AAPG Executive Committee members attending the meeting were Regions Vice President John Hogg, President-Elect Scott Tinker, Treasurer Randi Martinsen and House of Delegates Chair Marty Hewitt.
Much of my time was allocated to committee meetings where plans were discussed for the next AAPG International Conference and Expedition in Cape Town, South Africa, which will be held Oct. 26-29, and a polar conference in Moscow in 2009.
Of course, while in Athens we visited the Acropolis and the National Archeological Museum.
We also – as well as many of the attendees – walked up the 500 or so steps to ride the cog railway to the top of Likavitos Hill for the best view of all of Athens, a city now populated by five million citizens.
My visit to Turkey followed an invitation from Hasan Sarikaya and Ismail Bahtiyar, president of the Turkish Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Both had attended the AAPG Leadership Conference in Keystone, Colo., last August. They said I am the first AAPG president to visit Turkey and they treated me so well I hope to visit again.
I visited a full day at the offices of their employer, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation, Turkey’s national oil company. Turkish Petroleum employs 5,000 people, including about 250 geoscientists. I toured their office and research lab, met their managers and officers and attended a presentation on the geology and culture of Turkey.
In the afternoon I had the opportunity to address about 100 geoscientists and 25 students from the University of Ankara and the Middle East Technical Institute on energy work force issues.
We had a few days of personal time in Turkey to learn more of the country’s history, culture and geology. In Ankara, Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum) and the adjacent War of Independence Museum are very impressive. Mustafa Ataturk was the founder of the Turkish Republic.
Cappadocia, a province three-to-four hours southeast of Ankara, features an eroded volcanic ash terrain that has produced many elongated, pedestal and cone-shaped remnants of tuff. Underground dwellings were carved from the tuff in past centuries. Today tourists can sleep in an underground hotel.
My visit in Turkey was very interesting, broadening for me personally and will be remembered as a highlight of my year as president.
The final meeting on my tour was in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the International Petroleum Technology Conference organized and run by SPE with AAPG, SEG and EAGE as partners. The meeting was successful with over 3,000 attendees.
The Keynote Session featured a panel of well-known authorities speaking on “Energy Issues for a Changing World.” The three presidents of the sponsoring societies who were present had a role in the program.
Dubai is something one has to see, or watch on video or TV, to appreciate. It has 250 major building projects under construction. I counted 12 skyscraper office buildings under construction in one area. The glitzy Mall of the Emirates has a three-story enclosed ski “hill” at one end. The hill, covered with man-made snow, is served by a chair lift.
I didn’t have time to ski but I did get the T-shirt!
Our tour was great, and I enjoyed meeting many of our international members.