With this column I hope to cover the events of note in the Asia-Pacific Region -- and that's no mean feat.
The Asia-Pacific Region spans the largest area of any of our AAPG regions, extending over three continents, stretching through two hemispheres, 14 countries and the largest population by far of any area in our global village.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is to consider this huge region, with its myriad of cultures, diversity of languages and religions and range of attitudes, perceptions and opinions as simply one entity.
Perth, Western Australia, has been selected as the site of the 2006 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition. The meeting, with the theme of “Reunite Gondwana -- Realize the Potential," will be hosted by the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA) and is scheduled for Oct. 22-25, 2006.
An exciting technical program, highlighted by a wide array of exotic field trips, will ensure that visitors “down under" will have a memorable geo-experience! Principal committee chairs are Agu Kantsler (Woodside Petroleum) general chair; Peter and Robyn Purcell (P&R Geological Consultants) general vice chairs; John Kaldi (Australian School of Petroleum) and Ian Russell (ExxonMobil) technical program chairs.
Student leaders from all 11 AAPG Student Chapters in Indonesia (above) gathered in Depok, West Java, last August for three days of workshops, technical presentations and short courses. This Leadership Conference was organized as a special event to coordinate Student Chapter activities and learn more effective ways to conduct events, manage costs and work with the AAPG and the local oversight committee.
The conference was sponsored by the Southeast Asia Petroleum Exploration Society (SEAPEX), a professional organization with headquarters in Singapore and more than 500 members worldwide. Many of these members live and work in southeast Asia, and SEAPEX is the local AAPG affiliate for this area.
In December, the Indonesian Petroleum Association hosted a deepwater conference in Jakarta, co-sponsored by AAPG, which brought together experts from around the region and the world for three days of short courses and technical papers focused on deepwater and frontier exploration in Asia and Australasia.
The conference, chaired by Ron Noble of Unocal, attracted about 250 people.
The second APG-India conference and exhibition was held last September at Khajuraho, M.P., India, with the theme “Promoting Excellence for Exploration of Oil and Gas." The meeting was opened by AAPG Vice President Neil F. Hurley, with guests of honor professor D.H. Welte, YB Sinha, Patron AP. The conference had seven technical sessions, three short courses and showcased the first APG Special Publication on “An Overview of Litho-Bio-Chrono-Sequence Stratigraphy and Sea Level Changes of Indian Sedimentary Basins," edited by D.S.N. Raju, James Peters, Ravi Shankar and Gopender Kumar.
The sixth International Conference on Petroleum Geochemistry and Exploration in the Afro-Asian Region, co-organized by China National Petroleum Corp. and Chinese Academy of Sciences, was held in Beijing last October. The conference attracted 233 geochemists from 23 countries that included China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway etc, which participated in the conference.
A plenary session and four technical sessions were held, focusing on:
- Petroleum geochemistry and exploration in the Afro-Asian frontier basins.
- Source rock evaluation, migration and reservoir geochemistry.
- Molecular and isotopic geochemistry.
- Basin modeling, novel geochemical approaches and petroleum strategies.
Altogether, 111 technical papers and 50 posters were presented. The conference provided a great opportunity for technical exchanges among world petroleum geochemists and was highly valued by the participants.
This island nation's exploration scene is responding to a wake-up call since the giant offshore Maui gas field entered its decline stage in 2003. Since its initial development 25 years ago, Maui has comfortably sustained the energy market of a country the same approximate size and population as the state of Colorado -- or, put an Asia-Pacific way, the land area of Japan and population of Singapore.
Now, as a substantial methanol industry is down to 20 percent of its size of just years ago, and new power stations can't be financed for shortage of fuel, government and industry are cranking exploration up to levels not seen since the late 1980s.
The discovery of condensate-rich 700 bcf Pohokura Field in 2000 and a cluster of oil fields west of Maui over the past two years have testified to the remaining potential of the offshore Taranaki Basin, where Pogo Producing Co. is currently acquiring the largest ever 3-D seismic survey over three blocks awarded to them at the beginning of 2004.
Onshore in the same basin, Swift Energy have established a string of oil and gas discoveries and brought them into production, since 1999.
Meanwhile, government is moving to reduce costs and risks of exploration in New Zealand's extensive offshore frontier basins, committing NZ$15 million (about US$10 million) to new seismic and other work that will be made freely available to industry. Acquisition off the eastern North Island commenced in late January.
AAPG member A.H.M. Shamsuddin has been elected vice president of the Bangladesh Geological Society, the country's only geoscientific society.
Shamsuddin writes that the country's energy sector, which had been expanding at a 10 percent growth rate over the last four years, has been suffering more recently from a shortage of gas. The recent development of Unocal's Bibiyana and Moulavibazar gas fields has had huge impacts on this situation.