It has been a busy month working on committee assignments, budgets and the 2020 ACE to be held in Houston. The 2019-20 Executive Committee held its first meeting, and we focused on members in all of our conversations. It is our hope that you, as a member, will see major changes in how AAPG interacts and engages with the members by the end of this EC.
Super Basins and Other Events
The last year as president-elect of AAPG was very eventful. It started with organizing the second installment of the Global Super Basins Leadership Program, established by AAPG past President Charles Sternbach in 2018. This program is designed to highlight the major basins, “Super Basins,” around the world. It is a multidisciplinary conference with discussions, not only on the geology, but also completion and drilling practices, economic factors and water issues and water management as well.
In late January, with the help of Charles, we held Super Basins 2.0 in Sugarland, Texas. Super Basins 2.0 centered on the Permian Basin and included 24 presentations and two keynote speakers: Michael Wichterich, president of Three Rivers Operating Company, and Christopher Spies, vice president of geoscience and technology for Concho Resources. The 300 attendees – which was the capacity for the conference – also heard from two great luncheon speakers: Staale Gjervik, senior vice president of Permian integrated development for XTO, and Liz Schwarze, vice president of geosciences and technology for Chevron.
This program has been well received, and Charles, with help from Bob Fryklund and a steering committee, are working on Super Basins 3.0, which will be held in Sugarland Feb. 11-13, 2020. This program will focus on geoscience insights and actionable intelligence from the world’s richest basins.
Stay tuned for more information: AAPG.org/events/conferences/superbasins
I also want to commend the General Co-Chairs Lorena Moscardelli and Eddie Valek and the rest of the San Antonio ACE 2019 Committee for a job well done. The committee put together a great technical program along with the field trips, short courses, social events and the many other activities that take place at an AAPG Convention. The ACE and ICE conventions are a great way for the membership of AAPG to come together and share ideas and lessons learned. In this day and time when everyone is demanding peak performance, we as geologists need to fully understand the zones we are drilling and how to achieve the best possible results for our respective companies. Coming to AAPG events will help you with that mission.
Scene of the Crime
On both a personal and business note, I got a chance to revisit the scene of the crime, so to speak, after the first of the year. Cathie and I went to Australia to celebrate the New Year and see the fireworks on Sydney Harbour, which were fantastic.
I call it the “scene of the crime” because I had the good fortune of spending some time in Australia – Adelaide to be specific – in the 1990s while working for Wagner & Brown Ltd. Wagner & Brown, through its subsidiary Canyon Australia, had a concession in the Gulf of St. Vincent and was preparing to drill two wells – their first offshore wells ever.
Pictured is the Maersk Victory Jack-Up that was brought in on the Super Servant 3 heavy lift ship. They sunk the Super Servant 3 to a level where the rig floats and can be pulled into position. The rig was towed into position, and they started jacking it up to prepare for drilling. The next call I got that morning was that they were abandoning the rig – we had a punch through. The rig was listing and, at the time, no one was sure what was going to happen. A couple of days later the rig was stabilized and we moved into a salvage operation.
However, the South Australian government said that we had to request permission to leave the country. I guess they were afraid we would leave them with the mess! After petitioning the government, they granted me permission to leave and I headed back to Midland. I later returned to drill the two wells - the No. 1 Frijole and the No. 1 Enchilada. They were named the “Frijole” and “Enchilada” so as not to have a name that could be misinterpreted or misrepresented. Sadly, both were dry holes, so my offshore drilling career consists of collapsing a rig and drilling two dry holes.
During our New Year’s trip, we stopped in Brisbane before heading on to Adelaide to meet up with some of the friends I made while working in Australia. One of those friends was Elinor Alexander, who was a geologist working for the South Australian government at that time.
Another was a “new” friend, John Kaldi, whom I have gotten to know through AAPG over the years since drilling the wells. I am pleased he will also serve on the EC with me this year. For those unfamiliar with the area, Adelaide is surrounded by numerous wineries. John and his wife Paula, Rhodri Johns and Elinor showed Cathie and me many of these over a couple of days. We had the pleasure of being shown around Thorn-Clarke Winery by geologist Dave Clarke, who was CEO of Stuart Petroleum but now owns the Thorn-Clarke Winery. While on a jeep tour, we saw kangaroos in the vineyard, which was different, and learned a lot about wine making. Thorn-Clarke makes a great wine. I suggest you look them up if you’re lucky enough to be in that area, or go on their website and order some!
Another highlight of the trip was going to the University of Adelaide and meeting the students on campus at the time. Keep in mind, mid-January is part of their summer break, so it was a little quiet. This was my first campus visit as president-elect. I talked with the students and they asked questions while we enjoyed coffee and Tim Tam cookies. If you’ve never had them, you have to try them (you can order off of Amazon, and feel free to send me a box as well). Safe to say, Tim Tams are better than vegemite.
We had a wonderful trip, and Cathie and I were worn out but sad to leave as we boarded our flight back to Midland.
Since visiting the University of Adelaide I’ve had the opportunity to visit two other universities: Texas Tech and my alma mater the University of Missouri-Rolla, now Missouri S&T. I enjoyed speaking with the students about careers in the oil and gas industry and answering their many questions. At Missouri S&T, I got the chance to talk to a class that was studying unconventional plays around the United States. I was able to talk about the Permian and how we went from dead in 1985 to head of the class.
To quote Mike Rowe, “I am looking forward to the future, and feeling grateful for the past.” I am grateful for the opportunity to have met so many AAPG members this past year as president-elect, and I know the insights I’ve gained this past year will serve me well as president.