Last year, the extraordinarily high quality of the technical program was the talk of the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Calgary, and this was at an ACE with plenty of high points to talk about.
Along with the hard work and talent of the organizing committee, they also had the benefit of a record number of abstract submissions, which meant they could be highly selective.
The technical program for the 2017 ACE in Houston promises to be even better than last year’s.
Craig Shipp, the 2017 ACE technical program chair, said the presentations, poster sessions, forums and special sessions are “very strong.”
Shipp is principal technical expert in geohazards assessment for Shell International E&P.
Diversity and Quality
In addition to having a record number of abstracts submitted, Shipp said the theme session chairs, who put the technical program together, are a diverse group.
“We have a lot of gender and generational diversity on the program committee. It was wonderful to watch the whole process come together,” he said. “I was very impressed with how hard everyone worked.”
Shipp said almost 2,400 abstracts were submitted – a more than 30-percent increase over last year’s record submissions.
An acceptance rate of about 50 percent helped ensure all the presentations are top-tier, he said, adding, “I think we’ve really been able to up the game.”
Scheduling constraints limit the program to no more than eight concurrent sessions. There are 432 oral presentations planned.
“To take advantage of the large number of abstract submissions, the number of poster sessions was boosted from 600 to 700 this year,” Shipp said.
He said organizers made a concerted effort to schedule interesting and significant sessions for each day of the conference.
“We want to keep people there,” he said.
While commending the quality of all the theme sessions, Shipp said some are especially different or significant for a number of reasons.
“We’ve made a concerted effort to target young career folks in the technical program planning process,” he said.
A SEPM-AAPG research symposium on Tuesday, “How Seismic and Sequence Stratigraphy Have Advanced: 40 Years after AAPG Memoir 26 and 30 Years after SEPM Special Publication 42,” is an effort to “commemorate two key publications that brought us seismic and sequence stratigraphy as we know it,” Shipp said.
Two Discovery Thinking sessions, chaired by AAPG President-elect Charles Sternbach and Past President Paul Weimer, will highlight new ideas and new discoveries of significant global interest, he said (see related article on page 34).
“The Next 100 Years of Global Energy Use: Resources, Impacts and Economics” is a special event open to the public, in which “very high-end speakers” will address the challenges of meeting the world’s increasing energy needs without compromising global environmental concerns with continued use of fossil fuels. The panel will discuss the global challenges in transitioning to a low-carbon energy future.
“Future of Energy: Previous Predictions and Future Trends” is co-chaired by Peter Carragher and James Courtier. “Carragher is a predictor; they will be benchmarking predictions from 10 years ago and what things will look like in the future,” Shipp said.
Theme 10 is an integrated effort representing the various AAPG international Regions. Presentations by representatives from the various Regions will be devoted to characterizing the basins, the fields studied and ongoing basin developments, he said.
Theme 5 on Wednesday morning is “an important deepwater forum on major discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico,” Shipp said (see related article on page 36).
Wednesday afternoon’s Theme 11, “Future of Energy: Essential Tools for the Next Generation of Geoscientists,” Shipp described as “very cool, with people everybody in our field knows” and “of special interest to Millennials in the industry.”
A Wednesday afternoon session in the Theme 1 “Siliciclastics” consists of presentations by many former students of John Anderson from Rice University, Shipp noted. “A lot of people in the industry today were trained by this guy,” he said.
Theme 7, “Energy and Environment,” addresses induced seismicity, hydraulic fracturing, wetlands, climate risk, carbon dioxide storage and other relevant current issues.
While some of the topics being presented touch on some hot-button political issues, Shipp said none of the sessions are aimed at controversy.
“Every subdiscipline in AAPG has stuff ‘on the edge’ ... conference attendees want to see data, and AAPG Members pride themselves on data-driven presentations,” he said.