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The Business of AAPG

When I ask our members why they joined our Association, most say they joined for the science.

Some say they joined for professionalism and ethics, some say they joined for the significant digital data offered through Datapages; the BULLETIN, Search and Discovery and our historic digital archives.

Members rarely, if ever, say they joined for our conventions – either the Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) or the International Conference and Exhibition (ICE).

In fact, the department that generates the majority of revenue yearly for AAPG is our convention department – from our annual and international meetings.


So how is our yearly revenue generated?

Let's start with membership dues; they generate about 11 percent of our yearly revenue.

On average, ACE and ICE account for approximately 32 percent of our revenue each year.

Interestingly, when we look at the average number for attendees at ACE (2011-15), we see that of the total attendance, on average 32 percent are members and associates. The number goes to 41 percent if we include students. For ICE (2011-15) members and associates equal on average 22 percent of the total – a number that jumps to 28 percent when student members are added.

In other words, our conferences and exhibitions attract many more non-members than members – every year, at every event!

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When I ask our members why they joined our Association, most say they joined for the science.

Some say they joined for professionalism and ethics, some say they joined for the significant digital data offered through Datapages; the BULLETIN, Search and Discovery and our historic digital archives.

Members rarely, if ever, say they joined for our conventions – either the Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) or the International Conference and Exhibition (ICE).

In fact, the department that generates the majority of revenue yearly for AAPG is our convention department – from our annual and international meetings.


So how is our yearly revenue generated?

Let's start with membership dues; they generate about 11 percent of our yearly revenue.

On average, ACE and ICE account for approximately 32 percent of our revenue each year.

Interestingly, when we look at the average number for attendees at ACE (2011-15), we see that of the total attendance, on average 32 percent are members and associates. The number goes to 41 percent if we include students. For ICE (2011-15) members and associates equal on average 22 percent of the total – a number that jumps to 28 percent when student members are added.

In other words, our conferences and exhibitions attract many more non-members than members – every year, at every event!

The core of shared-events for AAPG include:

The Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, (URTeC).

The Arctic Technology Conference (ATC).

The North American Prospect Expo (NAPE).

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).

The International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC)

The Middle East Geoscience Conference (GEO).

These shared-events account for approximately 22 percent of AAPG's total revenue each year.

Our AAPG Regions generate revenue each year through regional conferences, APPEX-events, GTWs and other co-branded events, which generate approximately 8 percent of our yearly AAPG revenues.

The remainder of our revenue is generated through our EXPLORER advertising, publication sales, revenue from Geoscience World (GSW) and North American-based training events – approximately 27 percent of our revenue base.

Thanks to our staff, working every year with our volunteers, AAPG provides scientific and professional services to our members and non-members.

Our challenge during the downturn is that when the industry is down, conference attendance, exhibitor participation, sponsorship and advertising – our principal revenue sources – also are all down, lowering our revenue base and impacting our budget.

What does this mean?

For the last two years (our fiscal year starts July 1) we have been running deficits – but your Executive Committee, working closely with the directors, continues to look for ways to weather the downturn and focus on adding value to the membership.


In October we held our first AAPG Mid-Year Business Meeting – a new event that allowed all of the AAPG Divisions, Executive Committee, Advisory Council, House of Delegates, Region and Section presidents and invited Young Professionals to meet for three days in Houston.

It was a chance to have these leaders not only complete their mid-year meetings but also meet together as a group for joint sessions.

One of the highlights was when past AAPG President Lee Krystinik presented the findings of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Governance, appointed last year by then-president Randi Martinsen.

Lee's committee did an outstanding job of looking at how our organization is governed through the Executive Committee, Advisory Council and House of Delegates, and made a number of recommendations for each of the bodies to consider moving into our second century.

An article on the meeting will be included in the December EXPLORER, and Lee's report soon will be available to all members.

I look forward to the future deliberations by the three bodies on the suggestions made by his committee.


Speaking of ACE – the next one will be held in June in my hometown of Calgary, Canada.

Abstract submissions are now closed, and were at a record number of 1,800-plus. Paul MacKay, the general chairman, Jen Russel-Houston (general vice chair), Ryan Mohr (general technical chair) and their entire Organizing Committee have done an outstanding job of putting together a great program featuring amazing field trips and short courses.

All of that, combined with the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists International Core Conference, will again put Calgary on the geoscience map.

I hope you can attend!

Finally, for those of you in the Twitter-verse, I would like to update you on my progress as the first AAPG president to Twitter: After a slow start – single digits! – I'm climbing toward 100. To be exact, I'm now at 55 followers – so if you are on Twitter, follow me at @AAPG President.

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