Many years ago, when I was on the undergraduate Columbia College eight man rowing team in New York, I recall navigating treacherous wakes from speeding motorboats, unexpected boats passing in front of our path, birds swooping down on us, hazards in the water, unanticipated squalls, sudden rain, wind and choppy water. As the leader (coxswain) on the crew team, I sighted distant guideposts and kept the crew motivated. As a manager, I made sure our efforts were efficient, synchronized and moving toward victory. As I think back fondly on those college days, I realize that I learned a lot from my crew team experience on guiding and leading people. I learned that “leadership” is doing the right things, while “management” is doing things the right way.
AAPG needs both.
Key guideposts for AAPG include relevant scientific content for our members. This includes the super basin phenomenon of our age. Super basins are important because they hold the world’s greatest known petroleum deposits. Optimizing infrastructure and reducing the carbon footprint by sensible choices leads to sustainable energy for decades ahead. Registration for the Global Super Basins Leadership Conference on March 27-29 is now open: superbasins.aapg.org/2018
Scanning for guideposts also includes a careful watch on new trends of possible game-changing developments around the globe (more on that to follow).
‘Energy Capital of the World’
I would like to salute Houston, Texas, as a resource to all AAPG members and to recognize some of the many AAPG leaders who are moving us toward energy focused guideposts.
Most people are proud of their hometown. I am no exception. For 34 years I have deliberately chosen to live in Houston. Many AAPG members live in or near Houston. The Gulf Coast is the largest section of AAPG with 6,500 members. Numerous international members travel through Houston, attend conferences in Houston, teleconference with partners in Houston, or will serve in one or more Houston- based postings sometime during their careers. I hope AAPG members will continue to benefit from Houston’s extraordinary resources. Houston remains a gateway of technology – especially offshore technology – to the world.
I would like to focus on some information you might not know about Houston, the fourth most populous city in the United States. Houston’s nicknames include: H-Town, Space City and the Bayou City. Many consider Houston the “Energy Capital of the World.”
Here are a few venues of great importance to our energy industry:
The George R. Brown Convention Center is the home of NAPE, the North American Prospect Expo; AAPG Annual Conventions; IHS CERA Week, and many AAPG Gulf Coast (GCAGS) section conferences. The George R. Brown convention center has hosted more than 8,000 geoscientists at AAPG’s best attended meetings. I am sure readers will remember networking and education experiences at these Houston annual meetings, which are among our Association’s most attended events.
As an example of Houston’s rich offerings, perhaps 15,000 to 19,000 geoscientists, land men and women and investors will be attending the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) Feb. 7-9. This is just days after this column hits inboxes around the world. AAPG is a proud co-sponsor of this event. For those of us in the prospect-generating and investment business, I have heard NAPE compared to a “geological theme park.” Overheard on the floor: “Are you buying, selling or kicking tires?” I have seen deals struck while standing in a lunch line. Such is the adventure of a global prospect marketplace!
The Houston Petroleum Club has hosted local society meetings for decades going back the 1950s in Houston. The Petroleum Club used to be in the Exxon Building at 800 Bell Street, but has now moved to the 35th floor of 1200 Louisiana Street. The Club is the venue for monthly luncheon meetings of the Houston Geological Society and Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists. The Club also features an amazing mineral collection and signature Gulf Coast salt dome cross-section wall mural.
Houston has great corporate venues for geosciences professional meetings. Anadarko, Southwest, Marathon, Noble, Chevron and other companies have arranged for societies to use their conference space in affordable ways. AAPG’s Division of Professional Affairs is hosting an upcoming April 26 Playmaker Forum in Houston in the Marathon Oil Conference Center. The topic will be the Haynesville and re-emerging resource plays of the Gulf Coast (see page 24). Kudos to Bill DeMis and his team who organized it!
The Houston based Offshore Technology Conference will be April 28- May 3 at NRG Center near the Astrodome and Reliant Stadium (home of the Texans football team). AAPG is a co-sponsor of OTC. In recent years, more than 100,000 industry participants have attended this meeting. I would like to recognize Buford Pollett and his team for creating a great geoscience technical program. Last year, I participated in a panel discussion on “Women Leaders in the Energy Profession” at OTC, chaired by Kim Faulk.
I am hopeful we will be able to address the offshore initiative mentioned below in future AAPG and OTC events. The OTC program has evolved from just offshore Gulf of Mexico to include offshore international areas. The offshore Gulf suffered under government regulations and moratoriums. With changing regulations I hope we will see new seismic surveys, new drilling and major discoveries.
U.S. Coastal Opening
Recently, on Jan. 11, the U.S. Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced opening additional U.S. offshore coastlines for oil and gas exploration. This initiative would take many years to unfold and implement. I believe AAPG needs to lead the conversation about the geoscience that will be needed to deliver the energy that these offshore areas could offer the world. If there is an opportunity to lead, AAPG must assess and prepare. Please contact me with your thoughts. For more information, see the offshore area BOEM map at boem.gov/National-Assessment-2016.
The challenges are great. But explorers like to explore and AAPG members do not shy away from challenges, especially when the prize is also great: 90 BBO and 327 TCF (according to the BOEM). Possible areas to explore include offshore areas of the Atlantic, eastern Gulf of Mexico, California, the Pacific Coast and Alaska.
More Resources: Houston Museums
The Houston Museum of Natural Science now features the redesigned Weiss Energy Hall 3.0.
The new Wiess Energy Hall is on the floor above the famous Morian Hall of Paleontology (notable for its T-Rex dinosaurs displayed in action poses) and is designed to explain the oil and gas and renewable energy industry using colorful animations and theme park-like rides into the subsurface. You owe it to yourself and your family to see the “Energy City of the Future” laser light exhibit. This just opened in November 2017.
There is also the Offshore Technology Museum in Galveston. This museum is actually a decommissioned offshore jackup rig where visitors can walk on the drilling platform under the derrick and also learn from three floors of museum exhibits about offshore drilling.
And, there is NASA’s Space Center Houston, which has been the site of several AAPG field trips. Many field trip participants remember tours of the Apollo 18 Saturn V Rocket Park and the historic 1970s Mission Control room. But, recent AAPG field trips have also lead geoscientists to the Mars Yard where NASA is testing lunar and Mars rovers. AAPG has bestowed Honorary Membership on Apollo 17 lunar geologist Harrison “Jack” Schmitt. The Apollo 17 capsule and moon rocks Jack (and others) collected are permanently on display at Space Center Houston.
Houston Geological Society
As past general chairman and organizer for AAPG Annual Houston conventions, past president of HGS and past president of GCAGS, I have seen Houston’s gems shine from many different facets. One of these gems is the Houston Geological Society (now 95 years old). With close to 3,000 members, the HGS hosts up to six events per month and more than 40 meetings per year. HGS invented and expanded many special theme concepts including the Mud Rocks Conference (March 6-8) and the Africa Conference (Sept. 11-12, co-hosted with the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain). Thanks to HGS President John Adamick, President-Elect Cheryl Desforges and team for their leadership.
As we navigate the choppy waters of the energy business, I am pleased we are steering AAPG toward energy guideposts to help members find and produce energy for the world long into the future!