Everything is Possible
During my presidential address at the AAPG Annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah about two weeks ago, I asked about 1,000 attendees to recall an AAPG moment that positively impacted their life.
Perhaps you were there? I asked everyone to recall a memorable AAPG mentor, conversation, paper, book, field trip, short course, poster or presentation. AAPG creates magic moments, many of which occurred at our recent ACE, recapped in this and future issues of the EXPLORER.
I heard from courageous explorers like Paul Basinski. Paul was a pioneer for Conoco in the Eagle Ford Shale. A decade ago, doubters were all around. Paul told me that John Masters’ memoir on Elmsworth field gave him the courage he needed at a critical time. Past AAPG President Eddie David told me that he wrestled with fluid levels in one of his fields. The light bulb went on when he read a paper by Bob Berg on hydrodynamic traps.
Do you have an AAPG magical moment? I would like to hear from you ([email protected]).
A magic moment for me happened last year at the Division of Professional Affairs Heritage Luncheon at ACE in Houston. An actor portraying Wallace Pratt read from Pratt’s writing and told a large packed room that “Everything is possible, anything is possible.” In that time and place we believed. We showcased 101 incredible men and women featured in the Heritage Publication. That moment was special.
The single greatest AAPG event that changed my life happened in April 1997 in Dallas at a convention much like the one that just occurred in Salt Lake City. I sat in the front row and took ten pages of notes. The Legendary Tale, a program organized by Jim Gibbs, featured exploration greats telling how they found oil in far off places, made business contracts previously thought impossible, or went back to old fields and made breathtaking discoveries in bypassed zones.
Young Professionals, listen up! The Legends panelists that day recounted discoveries they made when they were young professionals! I was a young professional then and I wanted to be like them. I created events like the HGS Legends dinners, ACE and ICE Discovery Thinking Forums, Playmakers forums, and now the super basins conference so we could celebrate successful pioneers to better realize our own potential.
On the AAPG website, you can listen to my presidential address and stories about George Mitchell, Robbie Gries and others who remind us every day that everything is possible (aapg.to/ace2018prezvid).
Young leaders who believe everything is possible are stepping forward for AAPG. They were abundant at ACE in Salt Lake City (see my May column). They are standing forward to lead in AAPG sections, regions, divisions, committees and our Executive Committee.
To our young leaders, I say thank you! Be a part of our energy solution, be a lifelong learner, engage AAPG with your passion. Say yes to AAPG!
Super Basins: A New Way of Thinking
The paradigm of “super basins” is just beginning to take hold. This year, my first column in the EXPLORER talked about the possibility of a new content theme based on the largest petroleum provinces in the world. Just 11 months ago, super basins programs didn’t exist at AAPG. They were a vision of what might come to be. The concept of super basins – a new way of thinking – combines geoscience architecture, commerciality, infrastructure and above-ground issues.
AAPG’s focus on how geoscience matters enables us to make the case to CEOs and industry leaders that geoscientists are the foundation of any successful energy company. Super basins are relevant for our times and I believe for many decades to come.
AAPG hosted the Global Super Basin Leadership Conference Mar. 27-29 in Houston. More than half of the 260 attendees of this quick to market conference were global high-level decision makers (managers, CEO’s). Mike Party (president-elect-elect) and I are planning another GSBLC in early 2019 in Houston to feature a “deep dive” on the Permian Basin, a prototype for super basin success.
Other past and planned super basin forums include:
- We held an inaugural Super Basin Forum at ACE in Salt Lake City on May 21. This program had more than 600 attendees – the largest attended session – with standing room only.
- The European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers invited session on June 13, 2018, featuring Europe and North Africa super basins (Copenhagen). This will allow AAPG to showcase super basins and reach out to a non AAPG audience.
- I will chair a session with Nosa Omorodion on African and Middle East super basins at the International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) in South Africa in Nov. this year.
- I will chair a session on North American super basins at ACE in San Antonio in May 2019. I will also chair a poster session by students on global super basins.
- I will chair a session with Chandler Wilhelm on Latin American super basins at ICE in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Nov. 2019
In March 2018, the AAPG Bulletin launched the Global Super Basin initiative. Global experts on the world’s richest basins have been recruited to submit articles to the AAPG Bulletin. We have 10-15 papers committed. These should appear in the months and years ahead. Thank you to AAPG Editor Barry Katz and the Bulletin staff for supporting this initiative.
The Work That Awaits
While many super basins are experiencing an energy renaissance, others are in “standby” mode. Technical commonalities, actionable intelligence of basins that look like other basins and the ability to spot opportunities will be the focus of future effort. And, perfecting techniques in rejuvenated basins is still in the early phases and far from over!
Programs like Legends are look backs. Discovery Thinking and Playmaker forums are contemporary discoveries by those who know them well. Super basin programs are real-time assessments with an anticipatory, forward-looking nature. During the inaugural GSBLC, I took 35 pages of notes and wrote down at least 10 actionable geoscience and business opportunities.
With so many possible plays awaiting investment and talent, I believe the world will need AAPG geoscientists to pave the way!
Our FY 2018 goals are increased energy-relevant content, member engagement and financial strength (details in the upcoming AAPG Annual Report).
Remember the Permian Basin miracle production curve in the May EXPLORER? Analogous to the production curve turnaround, I believe AAPG finances are in the “Pratt Inflection” phase of an AAPG renaissance. What this means is that by 2020 or sooner, AAPG will not only be sustainable but have surplus as a result of far-reaching actions we have taken this year and because of the work of others before us.
AAPG finances are a big ship, but a turn is happening. We have made hard decisions reducing expenses by more than $700,000 this year. We are paying it forward by implementing a dues raise, retiring long-term obligations (staff pension), working to increase the profitability of ACE meetings and successfully launching efforts to grow revenue on AAPG intellectual property.
My Executive Committee is used to hearing my mantra, “What next?”
I say this many times at each of our EC meetings. So here is what is next for me and AAPG:
- As incoming chair of AAPG’s Advisory Council, we will be looking for deserving candidates for honors and awards. We are looking for A-team officer candidates for FY 2019 for secretary, vice president of regions, and president elect. Nominate! And most importantly, say yes!
- Based on the popularity of Memoir 113, Bob Merrill and I are working on the next volume on giant fields. Please contact us if you would like to write about a giant field (2010-20)!
- I will be teaching graduate-level classes on North American and global super basins. I look forward to traveling around the world to encourage students, teach classes, consult and to give presentations on super basins.
101+ Thanks For Our 101st Year, and Beyond!
You may have noticed that throughout my columns this year, I have mentioned many volunteers by name and shown many photos. That is by design! I have always believed that if you are given a spotlight, shine it on the good deeds of others! By my count, this year has recognized well over 100 incredible men and women geoscientists and leaders. So, let’s just call it 101-plus in recognition of AAPG beginning our second century.
Thanks to the Executive Committee, AAPG volunteers, headquarters staff, and to all of you for allowing me the opportunity to serve our membership and profession. Congratulations to new incoming EC members: President-elect Michael Party, Vice President of Sections Jeff Aldrich and Treasurer Richard Ball.