When I chose sustainable development as one of the themes when I stood for AAPG president-elect in 2016, it was to define the role of petroleum geoscience in the energy transition. What I didn’t understand then was that sustainable development would become an important topic for the petroleum industry in 2019. At this year’s CERA Week conference in Houston hosted by IHS Markit, petroleum CEOs and executive vice presidents all included mention of sustainable development in their talks. This highly visible and unified message by petroleum companies underscores the importance of our industry’s role in providing accessible, affordable and reliable energy.
The Petroleum Industry’s Century Long Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals
Access to energy is central to all 17 of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The petroleum industry and the affordable energy we have produced for the past century have supported economic growth and employment that have reduced poverty and hunger and have provided a tax base for health and quality education programs (SDG 7, 8, 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively). As a global industry that values diversity, we have implemented programs for gender equality and reduced inequalities (SDG 5 and 10).
The petroleum industry is continually innovating for clean water and sanitation and infrastructure (SDG 6 and 9). As the petroleum industry moves forward with the energy transition, we have the technology and innovation to build sustainable communities and promote responsible consumption and production (SDG 11 and 12). Our environmental programs address climate through reduced emissions and carbon storage, life below water with “rigs to reefs,” and life on land with attention to surface footprint and local environmental projects (SDG 13, 14 and 15).
The petroleum industry provides the foundation for peace, justice and strong institutions by providing access to affordable and reliable energy (SDG 16). For the past century, the petroleum industry and our partnerships with governments, academic institutions and professional associations have contributed to all the UN sustainable development goals and more (SDG17).
AAPG’s Sustainable Future
Many in AAPG are talking about membership and their concerns about AAPG’s future. AAPG’s membership is challenged by evolving local and global demographics and the Association’s ability to be relevant to those geologic communities today. One of the current challenges to our industry is the energy transition. Sustainable development is one of the high-level strategies petroleum companies and associations are using to understand and address the transition.
For AAPG to be relevant to our members and the geoscience community at large, we must also continue to provide technical content and professional development programs. AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition is next month in San Antonio, Texas. The theme of the meeting, “A Sustainable Future,” captures the commitment of the petroleum industry to continue to contribute to the energy mix by providing relevant content through the technical program, short courses and field trips. The balance of traditional geoscience themes with newer themes on geoscience innovation, deep integration of data, sustainable energy and business provide a broad selection of information to enhance and sustain your career!
What Sustains You This Month
This month I’ve been traveling through the Asia Pacific Region to build relationships between AAPG, petroleum companies, local geoscience societies and universities. I am overwhelmed with the entrepreneurial spirit, thirst for petroleum geoscience and industry knowledge, and commitment to finding and producing petroleum along with carbon capture use and storage for sustainable energy development.
Thank you to John Kaldi for shepherding this trip and the many AAPG Asia Pacific Region members and affiliate societies who have provided valuable input to strengthen cooperative programs with AAPG. A sincere “terima kasih” to Herman Darman and Dwandari Ralanarko for arranging the Indonesia meetings in Jakarta, especially for bringing together students from seven universities for a one-day seminar. The appreciation of AAPG and the promise of the future of our industry is evident in the bright faces and spirit of those students.