AAPG’s Sustainable Development Committee was formed in 2018. It began as an ad hoc committee commissioned by then AAPG President Denise Cox. The mission of the Sustainable Development Committee was and is to communicate broadly the positive technical, economic, environmental and social benefits of the petroleum industry and its collective efforts toward sustainable development. To that end, Sustainable Development Committee members have spoken at numerous and diverse conferences around the world. Committee members have been important contributors to AAPG including its regions and divisions by providing content for AAPG, the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists conferences since inception. Many committee members have been the chairpersons for numerous events nationally and internationally. The Sustainable Development Committee has been instrumental in forming partnerships with AAPG’s sister societies to establish new programs including SPE’s Gaia Sustainability Program and the AAPG-SEG-SPE CCUS conference.
Outreach and Impact
The committee initiated the AAPG Sustainable Development in Energy competition in 2022. In the inaugural year, 20 teams submitted proposals with the winning proposals submitted by teams from Nigeria, the United States and Bolivia. In 2023, the Sustainable Development Competition received 42 submittals from 11 different countries. Judging will commence in August prior to the SEG-AAPG International Meeting for Applied Geoscience and Energy. We are extremely grateful the AAPG Foundation, BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco for sponsoring this competition.
Two committee members, Sarah Barnes and Julian Chenin, have interviewed many industry professionals, young professionals and students to explore their views on sustainable development. There are 31 episodes so far and you can find these podcasts on the AAPG website, or search “AAPG Energy Insights” at iheart.com or on Apple Podcasts.
Committee members have worked hard to communicate broadly about sustainable development and invite interested individuals to contact the committee to add their ideas and voice to continue the mission.
Sustainable Development Committee members, past and present, serve on multiple AAPG committees, including the Visiting Geoscientist and Distinguished Lecturer committees, to reach a broad range of audiences. For the past two years, the DL talks included prominent speakers on sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Committee members have a strong commitment to AAPG and have served in leadership roles on the Executive Committee, Division of Professional Affairs, Energy Minerals Division, Division of Environmental Geosciences and as longstanding participants on AAPG’s Corporate Advisory Board.
Three committee members – Denise Cox, Iain Stewart and Miriam Winsten – were founding members of the GAIA initiative, which is SPE’s sustainable development program. These three members were also instrumental contributors to the publication, “Geoscience in Action: An Atlas for Advancing Sustainability,” published by UNESCO and the American Geophysical Union. Their work will allow AAPG’s Sustainable Development Committee to continue to broaden its global reach.
Who’s Who on the Committee
The initial co-chairs for the Sustainable Development Committee were myself and Miriam Winsten. In 2020, Miriam stepped down as co-chair and Sara Barnes took her place. As of July 2023, both Sarah and I have stepped down as co-chairs and now Elvira Gomez and Julian Chenin are the new co-chairs of the Sustainable Development Committee.
Committee members past and present include students, young professionals plus a broad and diverse mix of industry professionals.
In addition to those already mentioned, they are: Henry Arhin, Steve Bell, Mike Bingle-Davis, Lorna Carlson, Joe Davis, Johana Dunlop, Maria Guedez, Autumn Haasgma, Ryan Herz Thyhsen, Mohammad Khadhrawi, Gabriela Knobelok, Francois Marcehal, Jan Mars, Kristi McLin, Mick McWalter, Chisom Onubogu, Nura Otabi, Andrea Reynolds, Bradley Ritts, Elaine Vance and Cindy Yielding.
In the six years since its inception, the AAPG Sustainable Development Committee has consistently made progress on its mission. However, there is still more to do. The petroleum industry is a critical player in supplying energy today and for the future. Providing that energy in a clean and sustainable manner has become the industry’s license to operate. AAPG’s Sustainable Development Committee will continue its programs to communicate the positive technical, economic, environmental and social benefits of the petroleum industry, as well as its collective efforts toward sustainable development. If you would like to join the committee or help in any aspect of the committee’s work, please contact Elvira Gomez or Julian Chenin, or reach out to Vicki Beighle at AAPG headquarters at [email protected].