From the President - February 2013

HGS President's Column - February 2013  by Martin Cassidy

Midwinter Greetings.  New Openness in the Industry

Winter is upon us and the cold wind may blow, but in the industry the warm breezes of openness and communication are felt among us. Companies that were unwilling to share data now volunteer to give talks at meetings and encourage their employees to attend by paying for their meals when expense accounts are submitted. Some companies are open to trading well data where previously participation in funding the well was required.

The willingness to make presentations at meetings is illustrated in the upcoming HGS Applied Geoscience Conference “Applied Geosciences for Mudrocks System” to be held Monday February 18 and Tuesday February 19, 2013 at the Westin Memorial City hotel. We have recruited an outstanding roster of presenters. Among them are Shell, Noble, Bill Barrett Corp., Laredo Petroleum, Hess, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips, whose experts are to give presentations. University researchers from California State University, Arkansas Geological Survey, Kansas Geological Survey, University of Rennes, France, University of Manchester UK, and the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology will also present.

Service companies whose work is to be presented include Global Geophysical Houston, Corelab, Schlumberger, and Southwest Research Institute. This mix of presenters will provide new data to understand shale basins around the world.

HGS is not the only organization that offers meetings and training. Where a need exists, companies and organizations will move to take advantage of it. Advertisements for courses rain down each week. The AAPG, SPE, Hart and other organizations have scheduled courses here in Houston, the heart of the domestic, and much international, oil and gas business.

Why is this? During the downturn many oil and gas companies gave up or consolidated in-house training. Research laboratories were closed. Employee numbers were reduced.

Now, with the rush into resource plays, additional employees are being hired, especially those with training in fine-grained clastic sediments. The whole industry has awakened to a new day. Data flood in from numerous wells drilled in lightly-explored plays. Well completions and engineering methods have changed, and the best methods have yet to be settled upon.

Not only is formal training needed, but a whole new set of information needs to be absorbed. Cooperation is more important than ever. Competition still exists but is muted by huge acreage positions. The early idea of simply drilling up great pods of hydrocarbon saturated sediments has become more complex as we learn of sweet spots, dry gas trends, and the details that lead to economic resource plays.

Companies cannot develop all the expertise they need in the time available. The time has arrived to listen to other explorers and completion experts. Thus the new open attitude of sharing and cooperation born of necessity.

All of us can benefit from the changes in our business. We, and our companies, need the information found from others in technical meetings. HGS arranges useful meetings. There are great one and two day seminars, noon and evening meetings. We have a variety of emphases through our interest groups, are less expensive, and we are local so hotel stays and air travel are not required. Companies want you to get out and acquire new insights so participation is to your benefit. The greater breadth of training you possess, the greater your value to your employer.

So in spite of the cold weather, drive on through the wind, drive on through the dark, to the golden light of your evening meeting — with other members of the HGS.*

*(With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein.)


Martin Cassidy
Friday, February 1, 2013
From the President