From the President- June 2010

The Year Has Gone By All Too Quickly.
This is it! My final President’s Column! What a year we have had! The technical program has been superb and well attended, thanks to Vice President Art Donovan and all the technical chairs and committees. Frank Walles and the Mudstone Group put on a tremendous Mudstone Conference which completely sold out ….again! The Board of Directors worked hard throughout this year to restructure the internal workings of the HGS. Their work, while not very visible or exciting to the membership, has resulted in an organization that functions much more smoothly and with greater efficiency and accountability. The HGS had become large enough that it had to be reorganized and run in a more businesslike and professional manner. I believe this puts the HGS in a position to concentrate now on programs and courses which will better benefit our members. This will enable us to grow as well as handle upcoming AAPG Conventions. Speaking of the upcoming 2011 AAPG Convention to be held here in Houston, we are going to need a lot of member volunteers. Students are welcome to volunteer as well. It is a great chance to network. To find out what you can do, please contact Linda Sternbach at or our volunteer coordinator, Sue Pritchett, at They will be able to get you in the right group.
The AAPG Convention in New Orleans was very well attended and sponsorships by some of the big companies were back after their notable absence last year. That really was a good thing. Many good technical talks were given on the exhibit floor this year. These were quite well attended. Of particular note was Statoil’s 3D visualization presentation. That was just too cool to a diehard geek like me! The technical talks were very good this year. We have a lot to live up to next year. And congratulations are due to the New Orleans Geological Society for a successful convention.
One of the more memorable talks I attended was the presentation on Davy Jones by Jim Bob Moffet (co-founder and CEO of McMoran). Davy Jones is McMoran’s SMI Block 230 Wilcox discovery. This well found 24% porosity Wilcox sands at depths greater than 27,300’ TVDss. The data from this well will make it geologically one of the most important wells since Mahogany. This well, along with Flat Rock and Blackbeard, has the potential to redefine the shelf in the GOM. Yes, it is deep and expensive, but if drilling in the GOM has taught us anything it is that drilling technology grows exponentially with each discovery. Costs and time to drill these wells will inevitably be greatly reduced as knowledge and technology increases. The fact that this well was ever drilled in the first place is a tribute to a geologist with the vision and the fortitude to see it through. Mr. Moffett is, of course, the geologist of whom I speak. Many may not realize that while he has gathered an excellent geosciences team around him, he is an outstanding geologist in his own right. It is this combination of geologic expertise and vision combined with the ability to actually make a decision that allowed Davy Jones to be drilled. It is the difference between a company with a leader who understands exploration, geology, and risk versus a company controlled by a CPA or a lawyer. It is the difference between a company whose main interest is in short-term stock price gains and a company that pursues true long-term growth, which for an exploration company comes from bold, deliberate exploration. Companies who evaluate risk by canned programs and statistics will NEVER find anything truly new and significant. After all, drilling by the statistics will not allow you to find anything that hasn’t been found before. Hopefully other CEOs are taking notice and will turn once again to their geologists for bold new ideas and actually listen to them. After all, it is this group that is responsible for making them an E&P company in the first place!
Thank you for allowing me to serve as HGS President this past year. It has been an experience for which I will always be grateful. I want to thank everyone who volunteered for making this an excellent year for the HGS. I wish everyone a great summer and success in all you do. Just remember, Fortes fortuna adiuvat.
Fortune favors the bold!
Happy Hunting!

Gary Coburn
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
From the President