The title of this month’s column reflects my personal philosophy and framework to address issues that face AAPG. The philosophy embraces AAPG’s Mission by: preserving the past advancements in the science of geology, especially as it relates to petroleum, natural gas, other subsurface fluids, and mineral resources; promoting the present technology of exploring for, finding, and producing these materials in an economically and environmentally sound manner; and fostering the spirit of scientific research throughout its membership to meet the needs of the future.
The concept of sustainable development is also aligned with this philosophy. It honors the petroleum industry’s rich geoscience history and inventive technology, acknowledges the industry’s role in providing energy to meet the needs of the present, and looks to challenges the industry faces to explore for new sustainable energy solutions to meet the needs of the future.
This philosophy has guided me in leadership, especially this year as I met with students, AAPG Members, professional societies, companies and government officials to represent AAPG and the petroleum industry. It was and continues to be my mantra to help guide strategic discussions and operational decisions faced by AAPG’s Executive Committee. It is limiting to be anchored in the past, essential to act in the present, and energizing when we plan for the future.
2018-19 Looking Back Planning Forward
Strategic discussions on membership, intersociety relationships, conferences and programs provided the framework for the 2018-19 Executive Committee‘s operational decisions.
The year began with the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Executive Committees in a joint strategy discussion on membership and energy trends. The ECs discussed whether the AAPG should remain in a focused petroleum space or expand into the broader energy space. Based on AAPG membership trends, decreases in petroleum geoscience employment options, the global energy outlook and the strengths of the established Energy Minerals Division and Division of Environmental Geosciences, the consensus was to broaden AAPG’s energy focus.
AAPG made the decision to communicate our science and technology and engage with potential new members at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall meeting – “the world’s largest Earth and space science meeting.” AAPG representatives chaired oral and poster sessions on “The Role of Geoscience in Sustainable Energy Solutions” and had an outreach booth in the exhibits hall that attracted attendees with a message of sustainability and with the science of the AAPG divisions. AAPG continues to communicate our science at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting with “The Best of AAPG” Session that features AAPG’s Distinguished Lecturers.
The second strategic issue centers around AAPG’s global presence and our relationships with other petroleum associations. AAPG is in both cooperative and competitive relationships within the United States, as well as globally. Monthly teleconferences with AAPG’s section and region leadership outlined areas for more cooperation and areas in which AAPG needs a stronger presence to be competitive. Globally, visits with the leadership from EAGE, NAPE (Nigeria), PESGB, and SEAPEX have helped to define areas of cooperation and potential new markets for AAPG. The AAPG region-based Energy Transitions Forum and Energy Opportunities Conference are examples of AAPG addressing the technical and business needs of a broader energy market.
The EC’s third strategic discussion centered on AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition. On the recommendation of the Geologic Events Oversight Committee, AAPG will form a Global ACE Organizing Committee. This restructuring changes the ACE operating model from a location-based, affiliated society organizing committee to a venue-based, global organizing committee that is representative of AAPG’s diverse membership. The ACE restructuring also prompted a review and change in the ACE Surplus Sharing Policy. Funds will be calculated based on net financial surplus and distributed proportional to geographic attendance to all AAPG regions and sections. These organizational changes to ACE provide a consistent technical and financial connection of AAPG to the regions and sections
Publishing and programs are the fourth area of strategic discussion. The manner in which scientists and scientific organizations are publishing and consuming content is rapidly evolving. AAPG is evaluating potential publishing constraints involving open access, as well as technology platforms for improved delivery of the Bulletin and AAPG content. Hard copy special publications and the time from conception to print will continue to be topics for the incoming EC.
AAPG programs face similar strategic decisions related to the distribution of content and engagement with AAPG’s global membership. One example is the joint AAPG and AAPG Foundation Distinguished Lecturer program. This year, the DL program recorded videos of the six lecturers and made them widely available through AAPG’s media (See the January 2019 issue of the AAPG EXPLORER). The associated “Digging Deeper” personal interviews also help test the market for AAPG podcasts. In-person visits are still in demand, but will focus on larger audiences and connections with AAPG’s regions and sections. The strategic change in the DL program heightens the importance of local technical and non-technical visits by AAPG Visiting Geoscientists to maintain connections with students and universities.
The 2018-19 EC will end the year with a stronger global presence, new ways to connect with multiple generations of geoscientists, and a projected balanced budget. There is still more work that needs to be done to broaden AAPG’s global energy reach. We need our members to step up to leadership, add to AAPG’s technical content and volunteer with outreach efforts. Say “yes” when we call and help move AAPG … onward!
Past, Present and Future
For their insights and guidance this past year, I want to thank the 2018-19 Executive Committee whose terms will end June 30: David Cook, William Houston, Laura Johnson and Barry Katz, and those serving their second term: Jeff Aldrich, Richard Ball and Mike Party. You have helped the Association move “onward.” We welcome and look forward to the new 2019-20 EC under the leadership of Mike Party and incoming officers Richard Fritz, John Kaldi, Robert Merrill, Stephanie Nwoko and Robert Shoup.
To all the AAPG division, region and section officers, Advisory Council, board members, committee chairs, volunteers, and members, thank you. YOU are the heart and soul of AAPG. My sincere appreciation to the AAPG Foundation and the Trustees and Trustee Associates for their generous support of AAPG and our outreach programs. And all my “gold stars” to the AAPG staff – you make AAPG shine.
What Sustains You This Month
This month I am sustained and propelled “onward” by the excellence of AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition in San Antonio co-hosted by the South Texas Geologic Society and the Austin Geological Society.
Lorena Moscardelli of Equinor and Eddie Valek of EOG Resources, who served as general co-chairs of ACE, along with General Vice Co-Chairs Tom Ewing of Frontera Exploration and Dallas Dunlap of the Bureau of Economic Geology, and the entire Global Organizing Committee, delivered a dynamic and engaging conference and exhibition.
Special recognition goes out to the Technical Committee Chair Peter Hennings and Co-Chair Chris Zahm, both with the BEG, for assembling global theme chairs and session chairs that represent the diversity of AAPG. The blend of traditional and new themes and sessions brought an attendance and vitality to ACE that was enthusiastically noted by many.
On a personal note, I want to thank Kurt Cox, our family, and our AAPG family for their emojis, texts, chats, emails, messages, phone calls and notes this past year. Your support sustains me. #FamilySustainsMe #AAPGSustainsMe