Listening to “You Are My Life/Enta Omri” as I write prompted me to think about how much I love what I do, including past and future travel and the evolving energy industry.
Late last year, I spent two weeks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, meeting with exploration geoscientists and teaching petroleum geology to a group of young petroleum engineers. The trip was made more special by seeing geoscience facilities that were built after my last visit and by interacting with young professionals in the Dhahran Geoscience Society. The weather was fantastic for checking out a few outcrops of the Dammam Dome, where the first oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia while AAPG Sidney Powers medalist Max Steineke served as chief geologist of Standard Oil of California and contributed critical insights that accelerated the discovery. A visit to the Dammam-7 well reminded me of the amazing changes that followed that discovery in 1938.
The World Petroleum Congress was getting started as I returned to Houston, shortly after Daniel Yergin published “Why the Energy Transition Will Be So Complicated” in The Atlantic on Nov. 27. This reminded me of the work AAPG Halbouty medalist Dr. Scott Tinker is doing to inform the public about energy. And I listened to other voices describing the challenges of the energy transition – the scale of energy demand that cannot be fulfilled entirely by renewable energy at this stage, the different paces of the energy transition internationally, and the urgency with which our industry is challenged to reduce emissions.
This environment of constant change reminds me that geoscientists are the people who advance a science that involves lots of change, for example: plate tectonics, evolution and changing climate recorded in the rock record. We also advance and apply technology such as 3-D and 4-D seismic interpretation, sensors to acquire new types of downhole data and imaging technology to help us see the pores in mudrocks.
Our adaptability is essential to our careers and to our existence as humans who use energy every day.
Adaptability of AAPG
AAPG is changing to better serve members into the future. After many hours of thoughtful discussion with the AAPG Executive Committee and the Society of Petroleum Engineers Board – and picking apart each and every word – the AAPG-SPE merger Steering Committee has articulated a mission, vision and values for the new organization:
(The new organization) connects a global community of geoscientists, engineers and other energy professionals to advance and share the knowledge, technology and experiences needed to achieve a safe and sustainable energy future.
Safe, reliable and affordable energy for everyone.
Innovation: We build upon a strong foundation of oil and gas exploration, development, and production to deliver energy to meet the world’s needs.
Global Scale, Local Solutions: We are prepared and accessible to serve our members’ needs wherever they are.
Lifelong Learning: We empower students and young professionals and provide compelling learning opportunities for members throughout their careers.
Collaboration: We pursue common scientific and engineering interests through technical excellence, integration and shared knowledge.
Inclusion: We embrace diversity as essential to the success of our industry and society.
Integrity: We commit to the highest standards of professional, scientific and ethical conduct.
These concepts resonate with me. I hope they resonate with you. I hope they will prove attractive to geoscientists, engineers and other energy professionals who will benefit from an expanded network, more extensive publications, and events designed to enhance collaboration and reduce competition between like-minded societies. Like other information related to the merger, these statements are available at www.aapg-spe-merger.org.
Speaking of future travel, I hope you will consider visiting Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the International Petroleum Technology Conference in February; Houston for AAPG’s second Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Conference in March; and Cartagena, Colombia, for the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in April. Of course, there are many regional, local and virtual events planned for the benefit of our community – check out the list at www.aapg.org/events/event-listings.
In closing, I congratulate AAPG Honorary Member Dr. Pinar Yilmaz for her success as a member of the World Petroleum Congress Executive Committee and I thank her for pointing me toward wonderful music from the Middle East. “You Are My Life” was recorded by Umm Kulthum, an Egyptian singer, songwriter and actor known as “Star of the East.” After listening to her music, it is clear why – as Pinar told me – traffic in Egypt stopped when her music was broadcast on the radio.
Since you have read this far, I will award a $100 AAPG gift certificate to the first person who provides an interesting fact about petroleum discoveries in the Middle East and North Africa as an online comment to this EXPLORER article.
Until next time,