No one could put a finger on one specific reason — rising energy prices, a strong and diverse technical program and an exciting locale were all valid suggestions — but Paris 2005 proved to be among the most successful meetings in AAPG history.
The AAPG International Conference and Exhibition at Paris' modern CNIT Conference Center attracted 1,879 attendees, making it AAPG's second largest international meeting ever (behind only the 2,214 at Rio de Janeiro in 1998).
Although it was the third time AAPG has traveled to France for an international conference, the September meeting marked the first time such an event was held in Paris.
While the mood of the meeting was largely optimistic the meeting also sounded some notes of caution and concern.
"We must also be sobered by the realization that the world is now entering an energy transition in which our skills must contribute even more effectively than in the past," AAPG President Peter Rose said during his speech in the opening session. "Regardless of whether we encounter 'peak oil' next year or 20 years hence, growing demand is impinging inexorably upon more slowly-growing supply.
"As geoscientists, we know we must guide the way toward new provinces and new technologies as they apply to lower-grade energy resources," he said.
"However, the single most important element in making this work energy transition successful is…the continued function of vibrant international free markets," he continued, "for the magic of free pricing to influence and allocate among buyers and sellers, consumers and producers."
Rose praised European states for having been "able to be much more energy-wise and efficient, building a more effective interface between government and industry.
"We Americans can learn a lot from our European colleagues," he said, "especially about constructive interactions between government and the private sector, with respect to energy policy."
Rose specifically challenged American geoscientists to contribute to the development of "sound U.S. energy policy.
"Our future contributions must now be two-fold," he said. "(We must) find and develop the energy resources necessary to cross the bridge to the coming hydrogen economy, and effectively convey our special geological knowledge and counsel to our governments to build sound energy policies as well as on other geologically-influenced issues.
"American geoscientists will need to consult with our European colleagues," he said, "who seem to have been doing a much better job of this important work."