I just love marketplaces. Whether it’s the Junction (Texas) Livestock Auction, the Bazaar in Istanbul or the Weekend Market in Bangkok, the action between buyers, sellers and middlemen is endlessly varied and fascinating. Marketplaces affirm the basic verities of Adam Smith, the father of economics.
AAPG was one of the sponsors of a vibrant market in early February in Houston: the North American Prospect Exposition (NAPE). This year’s NAPE, as reported in the March EXPLORER, was the largest ever -- more than 12,000 E&P folks crowded into the George R. Brown Convention Center to show their prospects and plays and acreage blocks to a host of prospective investors.
All elements of the E&P world were present and fully engaged -- large integrated companies, mid-caps, small-caps, independent prospectors and landmen, national oil companies, investors of all stripes and service companies as well. There was a lot of action, and deals were being done everywhere -- in the booths, along the aisles, over the lunch tables.
Free enterprise is alive and well!
And I’m so proud that AAPG could help make such a marketplace possible, for the benefit of its members as well as the entire E&P community.
The next event on my February calendar was the 25th annual Leadership Conference (Feb. 10-12), the first to be held away from Tulsa (AAPG’s headquarters) and by far the largest ever.
This year’s conference took place in Galveston, Texas, at the San Luis Resort. More than 190 AAPG folks and friends attended -- officers, candidates, Advisory Council and House of Delegates leaders, representatives of Regions, Sections and Affiliated societies, committee chairs, vice chairs and members, young professionals, students, spouses, representatives of our sister societies (such as SEG, SPE, GSA, AGI) and 24 of our headquarters’ staffers, who made everything go like clockwork. Good job, Tulsa folks!
Key committees met on Friday, setting their agendas and goals for the last half of FY 2005-06. On Saturday morning, participants were treated to their choice of two outstanding learning opportunities: (a) “How to make a Committee Work”; and (b) “How to Interact Productively with the Media.”
Eight intensive roundtables and workshops were offered on Saturday afternoon, dealing with “hot” topics on AAPG’s current agenda:
- Establishment of a Graduated Dues Structure for AAPG.
- Implementation of Joint AAPG/SEG 2009 Annual Meeting and International Conference.
- Practical New AAPG Programs for Independents.
- Best Models to Achieve Permanent International Representation on AAPG’s Executive Committee.
- Improving Relationships Between Professional and Academic Geoscience.
- Implementation of Specific Joint Events with Sister Societies.
- Common-Sense Modifications of AAPG’s Election Procedures.
- Establishing Effective Overseas Offices -- Justification, Barriers and Priorities.
Sunday morning featured short reports from the chairs of all eight work sessions, plus reports from key committee chairs, AAPG’s division presidents, HoD Chair Don Clarke, Advisory Council Chair Pat Gratton, Charles Sternbach (general chair of the upcoming Houston annual meeting), John Kaldi (technical program chair for the upcoming international conference in November in Perth, Australia), Executive Director Rick Fritz and a closing summary by yours truly.
But the 25th annual Leadership Conference wasn’t just about AAPG business -- Friday and Saturday evenings were given over to happy hours, good food and drink, and amazing entertainment provided by officers and members alike.
In addition, participants were polled to discover their opinions on:
- The “two vice presidents amendments” that the HoD will consider at their annual meeting April 9 in Houston (86 to 6 in favor).
- Various approaches by which a graduated dues system might be designed (for the edification of the new ad hoc committee that is looking into the issue -- attendees generally favored the idea and responded to several different schemes).
All in all, the Leadership Conference was a rousing success. AAPG members will be reaping the benefits of a more efficient, service-oriented, focused and forward-looking Association in the coming years!
Immediately following the Leadership Conference I flew to London, England, where I represented AAPG at “IP Week,” the long-running International Petroleum Conference (now in it’s 93rd year), sponsored by The Energy Institute.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, I began a tour of AAPG’s Asia-Pacific Region, flying first to Adelaide, where I spoke at a luncheon of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA), then back to Perth, where I spoke to another large PESA crowd and met with the Perth 2006 Organizing Committee (Agu Kantsler, general chair; Peter and Robyn Purcell, co-general vice chairs; and John Kaldi, technical program chair).
Nearly 750 abstracts have been received for the Perth conference, the largest number ever for an AAPG international conference! A host of outstanding field trips, short courses, technical sessions and social events have been arranged. The Perth convention center is a new, well-arranged open facility at the edge of the city center, overlooking the yacht basin and Swan River. The city of Perth presents a bright, stunningly beautiful cityscape, and November Down Under will provide ideal weather. And of course, the Aussies are always enthusiastic and gracious hosts.
AAPG members, spouses and guests will not want to miss Perth 2006 -- it is going to be memorable!
As I write this from my Beijing hotel room, I am midway through my Asia-Pacific tour. In Kuala Lumpur I spoke to industry professionals of the Petronas/Carigali companies and to the KLX (Kuala Lumpur Exploration Society), as well as students and faculty of the geology department at Malaya University.
I also had promising discussions with senior officials of Petronas/Carigali regarding arrangements by which AAPG membership could be expanded among their professional employees.
In Beijing, I toured the Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, sponsored by PetroChina Co. Ltd. Sponsored by Dr. Jia Chengzao, vice president and chief geologist of PetroChina (also a member of the Chinese Academy of Science), I spoke to a large audience of Chinese petroleum geoscientists, E&P executives and academicians, as the second AAPG president to officially visit China (Robbie Gries visited China as AAPG president in 2001).
I also initiated official discussions regarding increased Chinese membership in AAPG. Similar discussions later during my trip to India may also lead to expanded India membership. But that must await my May presidential letter, because my deadline for the April EXPLORER looms.
Bottom Line: As with my November tour of Central and Eastern Europe, my geological hosts in the Asia-Pacific Region have received me everywhere most warmly, manifesting great respect for AAPG as an admirable and worthy scientific and professional association.
It only remains for us now to reach out to the global community of petroleum geoscientists to bring them into AAPG membership.
Shortly after your April EXPLORER arrives, AAPG will hold its 91st annual meeting, April 9-12, in Houston. This is shaping up to be one of the largest ever -- General Chair Charles Sternbach and his HGS pals have been knocking themselves out to make Houston 2006 a showstopper, and I can’t wait to be there!
I’d like to share some final thoughts with AAPG members on two other important meetings that also will take place in Houston 2006 -- events that will greatly affect AAPG’s future:
- The Advisory Council will present to the Executive Committee a slate of recommended nominees for AAPG officers for the 2007-08 fiscal year. Chairman Pat Gratton and I have both urged AC members to generate an increased number of candidates from which to select, and the EC looks forward to receiving their recommendations.
As president, I urge all AC members (as well as all EC members) to match the demands of each office with the qualifications and talents of the candidates, to deliberate thoughtfully, objectively and collegially so as to produce the best slate of nominees possible.
AAPG members deserve no less from their representatives.
- On Sunday morning, April 9, the House of Delegates will vote on proposed amendments to set up dual vice presidents -- one to represent AAPG’s Sections on the Executive Committee with special focus on AAPG’s service to U.S. members, and a counterpart VP representing AAPG’s International Regions.
It is critically important that these amendments be approved now if the Association is to meet its goals as laid out in our Strategic Plan, and continue to serve all its members. The proposed legislation has been approved unanimously by both the HoD leadership as well as the Advisory Council. It was approved by the EC by a 6 to 1 vote, and by 86 to 6 by the participants of the recent Galveston Leadership Conference.
Limited but vocal opposition appears unfortunately to be based mostly upon conjured fears of a loss of service and influence to U.S. members -- an isolationist point of view that ignores the reality and pace of E&P globalization as well as the specter of AAPG’s consequential eclipse as the world’s leading petroleum geoscience association. Isn’t it time for us to embrace a global future now?
Remember, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
I ask all members to urge their HoD representatives to vote for this legislation.
A Thousand Barrels a Second: The Coming Oil Break Point and the Challenges Facing an Energy Dependent World, by Peter Tertzakian, 2006, McGraw-Hill.
I have been waiting for this book for eight years now, and finally here it is! Written by an ex-Chevron geophysicist (now morphed into chief energy economist of ARC Financial Corp., Calgary), the book looks at the present and coming world energy transition in a fully integrated way, involving resources, geopolitics, infrastructure, economics and finance, lead-times, changing fuel mixes and possible futures. Adam Smith would have loved this book.
Incidentally, Peter Tertzakian will address the opening session at the Annual Convention April 9 in Houston.
Don’t miss it!