This month’s column is a summary of outcomes of events that AAPG members have participated in that relate to the efforts of the GEO-DC office. Most of the activities have an element of “global” or “international” import as well as a U.S. domestic slant.
♦ Work Force Legislation – At this writing, the Senate, just ahead of the August recess, passed and sent to the president for his signature the legislation responding to work force and competitiveness needs arising from the National Academy of Science study “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.”
The legislation, comprising almost 500 pages of specific mandates for education and competitiveness initiatives is being hailed as a piece of landmark legislation that will focus broadly on science education.
Included in the final language was Section 5005, titled “Hydrocarbon Science Education,” that includes mandates for the work force associated with petroleum geology and engineering. An analysis of its provisions will appear in a future column.
♦ Reserves Conference – The published outcomes of the AAPG/SPE International Multidisciplinary Reserves Conference will be completed by the time this column is published. The analysis of the responses from the exit questionnaire prepared by SPE suggests that the participants deemed the conference a resounding success.
Each of the conference participants will receive a CD containing the presentation material and the text of presentations. We anticipate that the same material will be available on AAPG’s Web site.
The participating organizations will make recommendations related to future activities focused on gaining acceptance by the industry, regulatory community, the national oil companies and ministries, and the financial community.
♦ U.S. Geological Survey Congressional Briefing – AAPG sponsored, hosted and moderated a briefing for about 55 congressional staff and reporters on climate change and the energy. Three scientists from the USGS and the Department of Energy presented on various aspects of global fossil energy supplies, natural gas hydrates research and climate research. The focus of the climate research presentation highlighted the need to understand the implications of climate change in the context of making sound policy decisions that potentially have wide reaching social and economic implications.
The presentations on fossil resources highlighted the present and future dependence of the global economy on the use of oil, natural gas and coal as primary energy sources. The presentation also highlighted the state of global resource assessments for oil and natural gas being carried out by the USGS, and the ongoing efforts to complete the assessments of the major Arctic basins – the largest remaining un-assessed basins in the global endowment.
The briefing on gas hydrates focused on the joint international work under way to obtain better assessments of the geographic extent of hydrates offshore and in the Arctic.
The DOE presenter provided an overview of the work carried out on the North Slope of Alaska in drilling and recovering hydrate charged cores for scientific examination. Questions from the audience probed the state of knowledge regarding possible geo-hazard impacts, geologic existence and stability of offshore hydrate deposits and prospects for recovering the natural gas bound in hydrates as a future energy source.
Questions from the audience focused predominately on the science and the need to continue to research to more fully understand the climate science and understanding of the global endowment of fossil resources.
♦ NCSL – In early August AAPG sponsored a booth at the National Conference of State Legislators in Boston. It was the first broad scale opportunity for presentation of AAPG’s updated statements on OCS access, work force, climate, energy security, research and development needs, data preservation and other issues of interest to members.
Review the revised and new statements.
This conference provided a great opportunity for AAPG to engage state legislative officials and staff and provide those individuals with access to AAPG science-based publications and experts.
♦ NPC Study – The National Petroleum Council has issued its report in response to the Secretary of Energy ’s request to conduct a comprehensive study that would examine the future of oil and natural gas out to the year 2030 in the context of the global energy system.
I recommend that members take the time to read the 40-page executive summary published on the NPC Web site. The report encompasses findings on “peak oil,” work force, geopolitical considerations and technology trends.
The full report and associated back up documents, which run to hundreds of pages of text and graphics, are available on the site as well.