I am excited and honored to serve as president of the Energy Minerals Division for the 2021-2022 term. The EMD covers many different energy resources, providing our Members with information and learning opportunities related to those resources. Because of the diverse array of subjects covered by the Division, we are positioned to play a key role within AAPG as the energy transition/revolution continues, and we all navigate the seemingly ever-changing energy landscape.
I started my involvement with EMD as a contributor to the now retired Oil Shale Commodity Committee in 2011, working with then chair and now EMD past president Jerry Boak and learning the ropes of what EMD is and what makes it such an important part of the AAPG. Later I served as the first chair of the recently formed Tight Oil and Gas Committee, and now more of my focus, interest and effort has shifted toward geothermal.
Pivoting between these three very different resources over the course of ten years, both as a geoscientist and EMD volunteer, has taught me that the only constant in a geoscience career is change – something I’m sure many AAPG Members can relate to.
Living in Interesting Times
This has been a year and then some. Blessing or curse, there’s no doubt we’re living in interesting times, or that the events that make now so unusual are largely responsible for the many changes coming to AAPG. Combining conferences, merging organizations and changing opportunities are just a few of the changes happening now, and who knows what other challenges we might face going forward. Many members of our community are struggling to make their way as the energy industry transitions and the focus of governments and major energy companies shifts from fossil energy to a wider array of resources due to new environmental, political and economic pressures. Throw a lingering global pandemic into the mix, and if you’re like me, you might think events could stand to be just a little less interesting. But, through all this upheaval, our purpose hasn’t changed. The world needs energy, and our Members play a vital role in keeping the lights on.
In his June 2021 column, now AAPG past President Rick Fritz laid out the two main paths open to us for meeting the challenges we face as an energy geoscience organization. I firmly believe that the New Partnerships path is the way to preserve what is best about AAPG and will provide us an opportunity to forge a new path for the Association and its partners that will better serve Members and the energy geoscience profession.
My goal is for EMD to contribute wherever possible to addressing the changes or “pivots” that are coming. But as Rick noted, the biggest pivot will be about us as individuals and how we navigate new career paths, integrating what those in our profession have learned over the last century with new concepts and ideas to power the next. There will certainly be bumps along the path, but I am confident that we are up to the challenges that lie ahead.
What’s Next? EMD Plans for 2021-22
My main goal as president this year is to continue EMD’s tradition of service to the AAPG and its Membership by providing information resources through our commodity committees, organizing at conferences and holding seminars/webinars on specific energy topics and issues.
Here’s a list of some of the projects we’re working on that will roll out over the next year:
- New commodity committees (hydrogen and energy storage)
- Additions to commodity reports (play summaries, other resources on the AAPG Wiki)
- Quarterly email newsletter for members
- New energy economy continuing education opportunities (in collaboration with Susan Nash)
- Geothermal workshop focused on utilizing oil patch expertise to develop geothermal energy (in collaboration with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology)
EMD will also support AAPG efforts to strengthen ties with partners like the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Society of Petroleum Engineers and reach out to other groups within and outside the Association to identify opportunities for collaboration.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank several EMD past presidents for their dedication, leadership and mentoring. First, Doug Wyatt for recruiting me to run for EMD president the first time. Next, Wayne Camp and Edith Wilson for encouraging me to run again. And last but certainly not least, Ursula Hammes for her outstanding leadership over the last 12 months and showing me how to do this job. These and many other volunteers, including new President-Elect Mike Bingle-Davis and Vice-President Randy Blood, have helped make my experience with EMD over the last decade very rewarding. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in EMD’s mission to get involved.