Petroleum, liquid hydrocarbons, natural gas, fossil fuel, black gold, Texas tea … call it what you like, but if not for the talented geologists who find this naturally occurring organic substance deep in our planet Earth, the modern economy with cell phones, Instagram, Teslas, extreme sports and Starbucks would not exist. Whales would be extinct and the world’s cities would be drenched in piles of poo from the millions of animals forced into labor transporting humans from place to place.
I, for one, love whales and am glad they still roam the world’s oceans. And I honestly hate the idea of forcing animals into a life of drudgery hauling people and their stuff from one location to the next.
Put just one gallon of gasoline into a truck, though, and you can haul people and stuff for more than 20 miles. You could even carry an animal. Thank God for oil! And thank God for the men and women who find it and bring it into service!
Yet hydrocarbons, and the people who find them, are facing the most uncertain and politically-charged future since our emergence on the world stage. Hollywood “brainiacs,” in partnership with left-wing political demagogues, tirelessly condemn the use of hydrocarbons as an “existential threat” to life on Earth. Petroleum geologists are “encouraged to transition” their skills into more acceptable activities, like pumping plant food (CO₂) into underground storage reservoirs, developing economically-viable green geothermal energy, or digging massive earth holes to extract rare minerals for batteries to store “clean, renewable” electricity.
Give me a break!
Those activities will not “save the planet”, they won’t provide any meaningful number of geoscience jobs, and they will not make life on Earth better. So, stop with the delusional advocacy.
Instead, amp up your advocacy for petroleum. For hydrocarbons and the economic prosperity they provide – for common sense, a cleaner world and true human compassion.
Truth and Lip Service
I do not have the space here to provide an exhaustive defense of hydrocarbons or rational arguments on climate science, but I can recommend others who have written extensively on the subject. Read Alex Epstein, Bjorn Lomborg, Steve Koonin, Mark Mills and fellow Division of Professional Affairs member Andy May. Study historical world affairs and how energy policy failures can lead to world wars. Pay attention to the modern crisis with Russia and the frightening consequences of self-induced import dependence facing Germany, as well as the hydrocarbon-starved energy dependence inherent to many countries. Hydrocarbon import agreements do not necessarily provide for national security. However, the ability to export hydrocarbons is very empowering.
Political leaders who care about their citizens are highly focused on finding reliable, affordable and secure sources of hydrocarbons. China is expanding their use of coal because they desire energy security and they have limited oil and gas reserves. President Xi knows his people and their economy need hydrocarbon energy to keep making “stuff” for the world. Oh, and that includes the rare earth minerals needed for the “green economy” of which China mines 60 percent of the global supply. China might provide lip service to combatting climate change, but the actions of their leadership tell a different story.
Leaders who want to attend Hollywood parties have a different focus. By promoting a climate catastrophism narrative that blames the use of hydrocarbons, these mostly Western leaders have used fear to try to crush the hydrocarbon economies in their own countries. They get away with it when the people are uninformed. If petroleum geoscientists don’t do more to educate the general population about the world of hydrocarbons, the negative political exploitation will continue. Informed citizens would never accept the incongruity of a U.S. president seeking more oil from foreign tyrants in Venezuela and Iran while a senator from Massachusetts wages her personal war on American oil producers. American oil production is a source of American national security. This adage holds true for every country. When domestic oil production is attacked from within or from the outside, it should be viewed as an attack on a nation’s security.
AAPG is Home
For those who have a passion for something other than petroleum geology, I encourage you to follow your dreams. We don’t all have to do the same things. But for the petroleum geologist, the women and men who apply enormous technical talent and creative thinking to find the hydrocarbon resources that power the world, know that AAPG is your natural home. Whatever merger or reinvention happens with AAPG, let’s make sure that the business of bringing hydrocarbons to an energy starved world remains the primary focus of our organization.
Yes, AAPG was founded by proud Americans, but the vision of this society is now shared across the globe. It is truly an international vision and we need each other now more than ever. The hostility toward petroleum is extreme and we need leaders in AAPG to emerge in every country to stand against this foolish onslaught. Become so well educated on the topic of hydrocarbons and the climate that when you are asked, “What do you do for a living?” you are prepared. No shy answers like, “You’ll probably hate me because I work for an oil company, but I really like nature!” Instead, be ready for succinct, passionate, confident answers that reveal your knowledge and conviction. Elaborate if asked, or if not, smile confidently. But more importantly, seek opportunities to be a discussion leader on the topic of hydrocarbons.
Within AAPG, the DPA is for the advocates in petroleum geology. There is no other professional society that brings together the aspects of science, technology and business to the world of petroleum geoscience. We must preserve that focus and, frankly, redouble our efforts to fulfill the core mission and not become distracted by non-petroleum pursuits. We must be the warriors who are unafraid to engage in the hydrocarbon debates.
If you agree, then join us.