Sustainable Development in Energy and AAPG

It has been an educational and productive year serving on the 2017-18 Executive Committee. Your Association has benefited greatly under the leadership of Charles Sternbach and with the strategic input from outgoing members Marty Hewitt, Dan Schwartz and Dave Entzminger and continuing members Dave Cook, Laura Johnson and Barry Katz. We welcome the leadership and insights of the 2018-19 EC members Mike Party, Jeff Aldrich, Richard Ball and Bill Houston.

Each AAPG Executive Committee has a distinct identity defined by external factors – the state of the global energy industry, and internal factors – state of the Association, and the personal goals of those elected to serve in leadership roles. The dedicated AAPG staff, under the leadership of our Executive Director David Curtiss, maintain continuity through this annual transition. Together, we strive to fulfill AAPG’s mission to advance the science of geology, promote research and technology to find and produce energy, and inspire high standards of professional conduct.

We do this for you – to advance your well-being as members.

Sustainable Energy Development

The 2018 British Petroleum report, “Peak oil demand and long-run oil prices,” highlights the uncertainty of future world oil demand with the prospect of a lower carbon future.

This is a strategic issue facing the petroleum industry, the geoscience profession and AAPG, and it provides the context for AAPG’s continuing objectives to develop scientific content, engage and reengage members, prioritize operations and manage the budget.

The upward pressure on demand is based in part on a global shift from energy scarcity to energy abundance and the availability of low-cost energy for economic growth. The flattening and downward pressure on demand illustrates the uncertainty the petroleum industry faces with sustainable energy development.

The range of world oil demand scenarios supports the need for continued petroleum development, but with attention to sustainable development.

Image Caption

The petroleum industry’s map to the UN sustainable development goals. Image courtesy of IPIECA.

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It has been an educational and productive year serving on the 2017-18 Executive Committee. Your Association has benefited greatly under the leadership of Charles Sternbach and with the strategic input from outgoing members Marty Hewitt, Dan Schwartz and Dave Entzminger and continuing members Dave Cook, Laura Johnson and Barry Katz. We welcome the leadership and insights of the 2018-19 EC members Mike Party, Jeff Aldrich, Richard Ball and Bill Houston.

Each AAPG Executive Committee has a distinct identity defined by external factors – the state of the global energy industry, and internal factors – state of the Association, and the personal goals of those elected to serve in leadership roles. The dedicated AAPG staff, under the leadership of our Executive Director David Curtiss, maintain continuity through this annual transition. Together, we strive to fulfill AAPG’s mission to advance the science of geology, promote research and technology to find and produce energy, and inspire high standards of professional conduct.

We do this for you – to advance your well-being as members.

Sustainable Energy Development

The 2018 British Petroleum report, “Peak oil demand and long-run oil prices,” highlights the uncertainty of future world oil demand with the prospect of a lower carbon future.

This is a strategic issue facing the petroleum industry, the geoscience profession and AAPG, and it provides the context for AAPG’s continuing objectives to develop scientific content, engage and reengage members, prioritize operations and manage the budget.

The upward pressure on demand is based in part on a global shift from energy scarcity to energy abundance and the availability of low-cost energy for economic growth. The flattening and downward pressure on demand illustrates the uncertainty the petroleum industry faces with sustainable energy development.

The range of world oil demand scenarios supports the need for continued petroleum development, but with attention to sustainable development.

The concept of “sustainable development” derives from the 1987 report, “Our Common Future,” also known as the Brundtland Report.

The report states, “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

The Brundtland Report initiated a change in the way extractive industries were viewed. The price of oil hit a low of $17.75 in 1987 and the petroleum industry’s view was focused on survival.

In 2002, the Brundtland Report’s sustainable development concepts were expanded and outlined with the publication of Agenda 21. The report defined three pillars of sustainable development: economic development, environmental responsibility and social progress, and their effects on the world. A common 2-D representation of the three pillars illustrates an equal contribution of the parameters that overlap to define “sustainable development.” The parameters will vary globally in their contribution to sustainable development based on geography (i.e., resources), industrialization, culture and political conditions.

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and expanded the three pillars to 17 sustainable development goals.

The concept of sustainable development has become widely adopted and now defines the way global leadership and the general public view energy solutions.

Work by IPIECA (originally the “International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association”), the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, illustrates that the petroleum industry can and does make significant contributions to all 17 of the UN sustainable development goals. The petroleum industry provides access to abundant and affordable oil and natural gas, which creates employment and generates revenue for economic growth that fosters social progress.

The petroleum industry specifically makes contributions to SDG 7, which is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” In support of SDG 7, the industry can increase the proportion of clean burning natural gas in the energy market and work collaboratively with alternative energies to provide back-up power. The industry can continue to work to lessen environmental impacts through energy efficiency in operations and production and with carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects.

The petroleum industry’s contributions to sustainable development are included in corporate annual reports and are used by financial institutions to assign sustainability ratings. The petroleum industry’s sustainable development programs are recognized by financial institutions with several companies currently included in sustainable investment funds.

The industry’s historical practices have always included a degree of environmental and social awareness with development programs. Now, environmental and social development programs are part of core business strategies and addressed with local and global resources.

Sustainable AAPG Development

While there is a diversity of views about the topics and terms of sustainable energy development, these are the trends that are shaping our industry, and because we’re a global industry it affects every one of us.AAPG must recognize these trends and engage its current and future members in the discussion.

Accordingly, three strategic goals for AAPG in the next year are to:

  • Define the role of geoscience in sustainable petroleum development
  • Promote the diversity of AAPG’s science and technology to engage new and renewing members
  • Communicate broadly the economic, environmental and social benefits of the petroleum industry and its collective efforts to address the challenges of sustainable development

To begin to address the first goal, AAPG is partnering with Shell for a conference, “Geoscience in a New Era - Energy Transition,” to be held Sept. 5-6, 2018 in Amsterdam (visit EnergyTransition.AAPG.org, and see related article on page 20).

AAPG will also convene a session at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting, Dec. 10-14, 2018 in Washington, D.C, “Geoscience and Sustainable Energy Solutions” to reach new members through the science of AAPG and its divisions. Your abstract submissions are encouraged before the Aug. 1 deadline (FallMeeting.AGU.org).

An ad hoc committee on sustainable development with representation from majors, independents, NOCs, service companies and consultants will focus on the third goal. The committee will collect information from companies and academic consortia for a coordinated message from AAPG on the petroleum industry’s contributions to sustainable development.

AAPG’s divisions, regions, sections, committees, YPs and student chapters will also be working to capture and communicate the science and technology of the petroleum industry and how it is contributing to sustainable energy development. Watch the EXPLORER and the AAPG website to learn more!

What’s Sustaining You This Month?

What’s sustaining me this month is outcrop photos from summer field trips posted on social media from friends and connections. Our best understanding of the subsurface geology comes from understanding the rocks!

Post your photos of field work, cores, maps, cross sections, short courses, projects, networking or comments and let us know what sustains you. #AAPGSustainsMe

Onward!

Comments (2)

AGENDA 21
The “Sustainable Development” idea is the worst thing the AAPG should be involved with!!! Agenda 21 is promoted by non-government organizations that pressure governments to enforce it based on the age old socialist scheme of redistribution of wealth and its effect on property rights and national sovereignty. Why would AAPG be embracing such a policy??? Why would I want to be part of an organization that embraces such a position…which is why I’m no longer a member of AAPG after 34 years. The AAPG is losing its identity and purpose. Why would the AAPG succumb to the green movement’s attack on the fossil fuel industry? These activists are successfully pressuring fossil fuel companies to comply with biased environmental reporting practices, such as “climate risk disclosures” and produce “sustainability reports” that are encouraging investors to underestimate the future value of fossil fuel companies. Does the AAPG not understand this threat? My preference would be that the AAPG highlight the environmental and climate benefits of the affordable, abundant, reliable energy we produce and explain how these benefits outweigh any negative impact. The AAPG should be pushing against this “keep it in the ground” green movement.
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8/9/2018 3:20:18 PM
AAPG President's Column
Excellent, well-written column, Denise. DEG is with you 100%.
7/10/2018 9:55:22 AM