It has been a very enjoyable month as Cathie and I have traveled to three additional sectional meetings across the United States.
Our first stop was in Wichita, Kan. for the Mid-Continent Section Meeting. Congratulations go out to Toby Eck, general chair, and the entire convention committee for an excellent convention. There was an afternoon session dedicated to talks on different aspects of carbon capture, utilization and storage, or “CCUS.” These talks gave the attendees a broad understanding of what was being researched. Several shale plays are being drilled in the Mid-Continent area, and papers were presented on the Woodford and aspects of the SCOOP/STACK, along with other unconventional plays in the United States. Susan Nash, AAPG’s director of innovation and emerging science and technology, did a special session on the use of drones, which is becoming a hot topic in the oil field.
As a side note, AAPG has a Technical Interest Group, or “TIG,” on drones. I will discuss more on TIGs next month, but you can go to AAPG website and see information on all of the TIGs.
One highlight was the all-convention luncheon with David Houseknecht from the U.S. Geological Survey, who spoke on the recent discovery in the Arctic of Alaska. He discussed how the paradigm shifted after a discovery defined by a 3-D seismic amplitude anomaly in 2013. Recoverable oil in the field is estimated to be between 400-750 million barrels. At ACE 2020, the AAPG will award the Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award to William D. Armstrong and Jessie V. Sommer for being instrumental in the discovery of this field.
Eastern Section Meeting
In the middle of October we were off to the Eastern Section Meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Steve Zody, general chair, and the convention committee put together a great convention. Talks were presented giving a historical perspective on drilling in the eastern part of the United States. Talks on CCUS were also presented at this convention, and it is evident this will be a big topic going forward (see page 8 of this issue for some coverage of CCUS).
Attendees were able to listen to a set of talks presenting arguments for and against anthropogenic global warming, followed by a panel discussion on the subject. It was a very good debate and gave the attendees some insight into the science that leads to both conclusions.
On Monday night, a Young Professionals event was held at a local arcade that was very well attended with pizza and drinks. I will show my age here and say I am of the “Pinball Wizard”-era: I like hearing “those buzzers and bells and seeing the lights a-flashin.’” Remember the first time you played Pong on the old Atari system – was that not exciting?! Sorry to any members under about 35 that may not understand. Google “Atari Pong” and you will see how exciting it was.
Gulf Coast Meeting
Next stop was Houston, Texas for the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Convention, GEOGULF 19. General Chair Mike Erpenbeck and the convention committee pulled together a very good slate of talks featuring the offshore Gulf of Mexico, both in the United States and Mexico.
One session dealt with the Deep Gulf play and the potential that remains to be tapped from these fields. Sessions on data analytics demonstrated how machine learning can help with an analysis of a potential area or field evaluation. Mark Schuster from the Bureau of Economic Geology gave a luncheon talk comparing the deepwater conventional and unconventional onshore exploration and production metrics. Both plays are very cash intensive, but Mark highlighted the fact that most of the reserves in the onshore unconventional produce a large amount of their reserves in the first couple of years. With that, operators are held captive to product price versus the flatter decline curves of the deepwater offshore, which allows you to potentially take advantage of a product price over a longer period.
The show-stopper at the convention, to me, was a post-Harvey sand peel exhibit. It was a combination of geology and art. The sand peels were created from the deposits left by Hurricane Harvey in Buffalo Bayou. Thanks to Linda Sternbach, who was taking photos at the convention, for allowing me to use a couple of her photos.
OU Student Chapter Visit
I drove down to Norman, Okla. to visit with the Student Chapter at the University of Oklahoma after the Mid-Continent Section Meeting. The trip to Norman had some personal significance to me. In my first column I mentioned that Cy Wagner was a person who had a major influence on my career, not only from having worked for him 28 years but also from the vast experience and knowledge that I gained from him. Cy was a graduate from OU and a generous donor to the University. He was 100-percent Oklahoma University. To visit the AAPG Student Chapter at the university that meant so much to him was an honor and an extreme pleasure.
I met with the students for a meet-and-greet before I presented a talk on how to market yourself. The talk covered getting that first job to later career decisions. I want to thank Hope Williams for setting everything up at the university and for all of the students and faculty who came out to hear me speak. My hopes are to get the talk put to a podcast so it is more accessible to all students and YPs. I told the students at OU, “If it is going to be, it is up to me.” Only you can make your decisions and plot your path for your career.
I received my 40-year certificate from AAPG, and it seems like only yesterday I was that young kid leaving Missouri and headed to the oilfields of Texas. At the bottom it reads, “In Recognition and Appreciation of your Loyalty to AAPG,” but it is I who should be thanking AAPG for allowing me to be part of this great organization. AAPG allowed me to network and make contacts with smarter people than me and to learn and expand my knowledge base. This is a great profession, and I have found a career in the geological sciences to be extremely rewarding.
Remember; You do not have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
Party On until next month!