Cancun! What a terrific international conference!
The AAPG staff did an outstanding job assisting general chair
Alfredo Guzmán and his committees for our most recent international
meeting, held in late October. Asociación Mexicana de Geólogos Petroleros
(AMGP) President Adán Oviedo and his executive committee made all
attendees feel very welcome. At least 1,799 registrants participated
in a splendid lineup of technical talks, exhibits, short courses,
luncheons and social events.
For me it was an especially valuable time to discuss topics of
interest with many international members — and the AMGP annual
meeting, a formal event in which new officers are installed and
recognition awards presented, gave me at least a couple of examples
worth importing to you.
The Cancun conference also presented an opportunity to review,
reflect and present information on AAPG's international heritage
and current circumstances.
As I remarked during the meeting's opening session, the very first
issue of the BULLETIN (published in 1917 under our first name of
the Southwestern Association of Petroleum Geologists) conveniently
— and fittingly — carried two international articles:
- Dutch geologist (and an AAPG founder) W.A.J.M. Van Waterschoot
Van der Gracht's paper was about salt domes in northwest Europe.
- K.D. White (another founder) reported on oil developments in
Also shown to the audience during my talk was the change in proportions
of international and U.S. members (all classes, based upon mailing
addresses) since 1918. Today, international members constitute about
one-third of the total.
A survey of "site-specific" or regional papers in the BULLETIN
indicates about two-thirds of the total concern areas outside the
So, is it fair that one-third of the membership gets two-thirds
of these papers? In a narrow context it is not fair. But I hope
you join me in believing it is NOT UNFAIR.
There are complications to this analysis: For example, some members
with U.S. addresses are actually working outside the United States,
while others may be working in the United States but on projects
Of course, the reciprocal also applies, especially to international
company employees working on Gulf of Mexico and Rocky Mountain basins
while living outside the United States. More over, since exploration
is a "leading edge" topic, perhaps we should expect fewer papers
concerning mature regions.
Even so, most would agree that even with adjustments — i.e.,
areas of work focus — there seems to be a substantial disparity
in favor of papers covering international locales.
I believe what is important is to consider all the products and
services AAPG offers before coming to conclusions about fairness
of distribution of such.
For example, the Distinguished Lecture Program in recent years
has averaged about 25 percent of its total audience count outside
the United States. About 40 percent of all schools visited in the
last four years by the Visiting Geologist Program were outside the
United States. On the other hand, the Student Expo/Job Fair has
been used mostly by U.S.-based students (the new Virtual Student
Expo initiative may provide a partial balancing).
If we look at all the products and services provided by AAPG we'll
see a similar wide range of variables. Some favor international
members, and others are more focused on members in the United States.
I hope you will join me in treating the mix as a natural outgrowth
of "different strokes for different folks," and that members in
general benefit greatly from the wide range of Association activities.
This wide and growing choice of services makes the Association stronger.
Let me hear from you as to how to make our "mix" even better. (Thanks
to President-Elect Pete Rose for helpful suggestions.)