AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Cairo,
which has been sought-after and planned for almost a decade, proved
to be an experience as interesting as the Land of Pharaohs.
First scheduled for 1995, serious political threats
caused the first AAPG international meeting planned for Cairo to
be moved to Nice, France, which was host to its second successful
AAPG international meeting.
An active exploration community in Egypt continued
to press for a meeting venue and a conference was set for October,
2002. The terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11,
2001, created concerns for the safety of attendees and the potential
success of the meeting.
Strong and thoughtful discussions led to the decision
by the AAPG Executive Committee to go forth, in large measure due
to the strong and generous support of industry partners, volunteer
support and with Egyptian government endorsement.
The efforts over the years were acknowledged in October
with a high-level gathering of over 1,650 people from 45 countries
at the Cairo International Convention Center, exceeding all attendance
President Dan Smith opened the conference noting the enticing geology
of Egypt and its recent successes.
The importance placed on the meeting was underscored
by the presence and opening speeches of Egypt's Prime Minister H.E.
Dr. Atef Ebid, and His Excellency Minister of Petroleum, engineer
Sameh Fahmy. Their participation marked the highest-ranking governmental
officials ever to be personally involved in an AAPG international
In addition to addressing a crowd of over 1,000 at
the opening session, Ebid and Fahmy together visited the exhibits
hall, stopping at several booths to view the technology, surrounded
by security personnel and swarmed at every stop by news photographers.
Their participation drew nation-wide coverage for the conference.
Fahmy also made a second visit to the exhibits hall
the next day, spending over an hour chatting with companies working
the Egyptian geology.
Addressing the crowd in English at the opening session,
the prime minister spoke of Egypt's "commitments." His points included:
- A personal commitment to peace: "We are an honest party as
a team seeking a better future," he said.
- A commitment for stability.
- A commitment to "fully respect obligations to our partners.
We have met and will continue to meet this obligation. This is
the only road to attract needed capital."
- A commitment "to search for new partners."
- A presentation of new initiatives, such as the encouragement
of the transport and use of natural gas (August EXPLORER).
- A commitment to research and use of new technology.
- A commitment to development and growth in providing a stable
supply of energy.
- A commitment "to the welfare of all people" through the development
of human capital.
- A commitment "to humanity."
"We must all join to fight terrorism, he said. "It
is one of our major challenges in the years to come."
Registrants chose from among some 288 oral papers
and about 180 poster presentations, which included major themes
of technology, and geological specifics of frontier as well as mature
basins and plays far beyond the boundaries of Egypt.
Overcoming logistical and material difficulties,
such as the lack of program schedules for some participants, the
technical sessions drew much praise from registrants.
busy exhibits hall drew 63 exhibitors.
Ten of 11 field trip offerings were fully subscribed
and included the geology of the Pyramids and trips to Morocco, Kenya,
the Gulf of Suez, the Red Sea and North Oman.
In welcoming delegates at the opening session, Mostafa
El Ayouty, conference chairman, noted the progress over the last
60 years in finding reserves in Egypt, and thanked the major benefactors
of the meeting, including Ocean Energy, British Petroleum, Shell,
Anadarko, Apache, Gupco, Saudi Aramco, PetroWeb, Rising Star Energy
Publications, Toshiba/DCT, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Schlumberger,
Sipetrol and Xerox.
AAPG was joined in sponsoring the conference with
the Egyptian Petroleum Exploration Society, the Egyptian Geophysical
Society, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the European
Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.
Cooperating agencies included the Egypt National
Oil Company and the Egypt National Gas Company.