What is the energy trilemma? It’s the global challenge to provide humanity with life-giving and economy-developing energy in a manner that is secure, sustainable and affordable.
It’s a topic that I revisit repeatedly in this column, because as energy geoscientists, this is what we do – particularly people like you and me, trained as petroleum geoscientists. These skills that we possess are foundational to solving the energy trilemma.
The theme of the upcoming 2023 International Conference and Exhibition – fittingly – is “Geoscience Solutions to the Energy Trilemma,” and will take place in Madrid, Spain Nov. 6-8.
Joseba Murillas, executive director of exploration and business development at Repsol, and Max Brouwers, chief business development officer at Getech, co-chair the event, with a focus on how, having transformed the globe and created modern life through affordable and reliable energy, petroleum geoscientists and engineers can also address sustainability.
The co-chairs, supported by an advisory board and an organizing committee with deep global geoscience expertise, have designed this conference to connect the scientific and technical components with the managerial and regional perspectives that reflect the issues confronting today’s energy sector.
A Preview of Events
The event will kick off with opening remarks from Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of Repsol, followed by an opening panel entitled, “Solutions to the Energy Trilemma – Affordability, Security, Climate Impact,” moderated by Luis Cabra, deputy CEO of Repsol, and featuring:
- Cristina Lobillo, director of energy policy for the European Commission
- Iman Hill, executive director of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers
- Atul Arya, senior vice-president and chief energy strategist of S&P Global
- Dr. Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OCGI Climate Investments
- Ana Palacio, member of the Board of the Atlantic Council of the United States
On Monday afternoon, Mr. Murillas will moderate a panel on the future of exploration – a topic of considerable interest to most AAPG members – and how while some analysts believe that exploration is no longer needed, others suggest that underinvestment in new supply will leave the world short of essential hydrocarbons.
The panelists include a truly global perspective with:
- Liz Schwarze, vice president of exploration for Chevron
- Aldo Napolitano, exploration director for Eni
- Marc Guerrits, executive vice president of Shell International
- John Ardill, vice president and head of global exploration for ExxonMobil
Geothermal energy and critical minerals are the subject of Wednesday’s midday panel, moderated by Mr. Brouwers, investigating how to “close the gap” between the geothermal resource and critical minerals available in the subsurface to expand low-carbon power production and electrification and the aspirations of those who think these resources can quickly and easily come on-stream .
His panelists include:
- Robert Winsloe, executive vice president of Eavor Origination
- Angelika Zartl-Klik, senior vice president for renewable and geothermal energy at OMV
- Ann Robertson-Tait, president of GeothermEx (a SLB company)
- Jan-Henk van Konijnenberg, head of Europe/Africa region for metals exploration at BHP
- Dr. Ing. Horst Kreuter, CEO of Vulcan Energy
In addition to these topical panels, the technical program includes a full complement of technical presentations on a broad range of topics required for successful E&P – this is a conference for petroleum geoscientists. Frontiers in digitalization and the application of E&P skills to carbon storage are also on the program. Finally, regional panels focused on Latin America, the North Sea and Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean, and West Africa will investigate the opportunities in these places.
A Vision for Geoscientists
A particular focus for this conference is the next generation. In Europe, as in other parts of the world, it’s increasingly difficult to attract students to study geology, particularly anything associated with petroleum. At ICE 2023, student attendees will gain a much broader perspective on the role of geoscientists in today’s energy sector – and catch the vision of how they can help solve the energy trilemma.
Have I mentioned that this is a conference designed for geoscientists? And all geoscientists – young and seasoned alike – enjoy getting out in the field. Exploring the geology of Spain delivers its own rewards, and the committee is planning several field trips from which to choose.
It’s the organizing committee that is doing the heavy lifting to ensure the success of this event. I’d like to thank them for their continued efforts:
- David Ramos (Repsol) as energy transition chair
- José Joaquin Martin (Repsol) and Andrew Christie (Repsol) country sessions co-chairs
- Carlo Sanders (Repsol) and Gabor Tari (OMV Upstream), core geosciences program co-chairs
- Jorge Navarro Comet (AGGEP) and Gonzalo Zamora Valcarce (Repsol), field trips co-chairs
- Maria Josefa Herrero (UCM), chair of the student activities and co-chair with Irene Garcia Saiz (Repsol) of young professional activities
- Victor Vega (Frontera Energy), sponsorship chair
A final note: Some of you might know that AAPG member Piotr Krzywiec, an associate professor at the Institute of Geological Sciences at the Polish Academy of Sciences, with the support of AAPG past president Robbie Gries and others sprang into action as Russian troops invaded Ukraine, focusing on immediate humanitarian needs of Ukrainian woman geoscientists fleeing their country.
As these refugees began establishing themselves in Poland, Krzywiec approached the AAPG Foundation about supporting online language courses – in English and Polish – for these Ukrainian geologists. The lessons have been recorded and are available online.
Now it’s your turn.
We hope you will join us in Madrid in early November for ICE 2023. We’re also raising money to sponsor Ukrainian woman geoscientists who are currently refugees to attend the conference, spending three days with you – their geoscience colleagues – and enjoying the benefits of learning, socializing and strengthening the global geoscience community.
If you’d like to support this effort, please reach out to Tracy Thompson ([email protected]) or Sue-Ellen Rhine ([email protected]) and they’ll help you make this happen.
Secure, sustainable and affordable energy – it’s a possibility for our planet and an opportunity for AAPG members of today and tomorrow. The world is counting on us.