Since the announcement at the end of May that AAPG and the Society of Petroleum Engineers are exploring the possibility of merging to form a new organization, this subject has dominated my conversations with members. And well it should. This isn’t a decision taken lightly, as it affects each of us as members.
We’ve launched a dedicated website at aapg-spe-merger.org to keep you informed as this process unfolds. It includes a feature that allows you to provide your feedback and input. We ask you to please share your ideas and thoughts with us.
Why Explore a Merger?
On the website, there are four elements of the core proposition for why the AAPG Executive Committee and the SPE Board of Directors each voted unanimously to explore a merger.
First, a new organization would build on the shared legacy of engineering and geoscience in the petroleum industry.
AAPG and SPE have more than 150 years of combined experience serving professionals engaged in all aspects of exploration and production. And while there has certainly been a lot of talk about culture – yes, geoscientists and engineers approach problems differently – the fact remains that we find and produce oil and gas by working together.
Second, each organization has a solid foundation, and we would continue to emphasize our strengths as we explore new opportunities.
According to a recent analysis by the International Energy Agency, demand for oil is rebounding strongly as economic activity accelerates in the wake of the pandemic. IEA expects demand to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. Oil prices are up, and production is, too.
Excellence in geoscience and engineering – hallmarks of both AAPG and SPE – is what is required to meet this global demand for oil and natural gas. That was true before the pandemic and it’s true today. It also happens to be what our members do on a daily basis.
Third, we would not eliminate the fundamentals of our organization; we would expand our coverage of shared issues to actively engage in the evolution that’s taking place rather than reacting to it.
We’re not trying to become something we’re not. Our future is not built by walking away from what we know.
One question I get is whether the merged organization will be focused on petroleum or focused on the energy transition. My reply is that we need to be focused on our members and equipping them with the knowledge and information so that they can effectively apply their skills in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons or use their skills to unlock new energy and business opportunities.
Our industry and the global energy landscape are evolving, and our future is built on taking what we know – geoscience and engineering – and applying it to solve current and emerging energy issues. In the Gulf of Mexico, that could include bringing a new field on production or converting an abandoned offshore production platform to wind generation. We stay relevant by being adaptable and focused on solving problems.
Fourth, a merged organization would provide a “one-stop shop” for skills that will be necessary for the future of the world’s energy and also create a compelling new value proposition for members in transition.
As we’ve talked to companies both large and small over this past year, one theme has been constant: across the industry, geoscientists and engineers are being integrated in subsurface teams that combine their complementary strengths to solve business problems.
Another theme that has been constant is that companies are learning to be more efficient, to accomplish more with fewer people. This is a longterm trend.
Building for the Future
Merging AAPG and SPE into a new future-focused organization will enable us to serve the geoscientists and engineers that are and will continue to find and produce the oil and natural gas the world needs. But it will also enable us to serve those professionals who are looking to apply their skill sets to new and emerging industries, such as carbon capture, use, and storage or hydrogen or geothermal.
This proposed new organization will only succeed if its members believe that it offers value, which brings me back to the website: aapg-spe-merger.org. We really do want to hear what you have to say. What are your hopes for the new organization? What are your concerns? How can we assure that this new organization meets your career needs, both today and into the future?
For more than a century, AAPG and its members have navigated a changing energy landscape. Whether it was science and technology breakthroughs or weathering economic volatility, through it all this Association has persisted, focused on its mission to serve its members. We can be proud – we should be proud – of that heritage.
But as we look ahead to the next century, there is great potential in this proposed merger with SPE. As our industry and the energy sector continue to evolve, amid a future full of uncertainty, we are stronger together. Let’s build for tomorrow.