From the President - March 2014

From the President - March 2014 by Barry Katz

Reasons to Join the Crowd -- Attend AAPG

Thirty five years ago I attended my first the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston. I interviewed with Texaco at that conference and within three months I began my professional career here in Houston. Since then I have attended all but two of the annual meetings. Why have I attended these meetings as well as several of the international conferences? There are several reasons for my continuous attendance at these conventions:


• The technical program provides a means to learn about some of the emerging exploration plays and new developments in the geosciences;
• There are numerous occasions for building and maintaining a professional network;
• Opportunities exist to present my work and have it vetted by peers.

This year, once again, the annual convention will be held in Houston and the Houston Geological Society will be acting as host. The technical program is quite robust and should provide those new to the industry an opportunity to begin building a strong technical foundation.

For those of us that have been around for a few years, there is the opportunity to see what is new and how things have changed. Just consider unconventional resources. A few years ago no one considered fine-grained rocks to be potentially exploitable reservoirs. They were considered source rocks and seals, but not reservoirs. Today, we view these rocks as complete petroleum systems. Concepts in geoscience are rapidly evolving and in a world of low natural gas prices we need to exploit these resources with a scalpel and not a machete. Our work requires a better understanding of where the core producing areas are and the stratigraphic position of the “sweet spot,” as well as the controls on both, and where the hydrocarbons are stored and ultimately how we can maximize production. These unconventional resources will be one of the eleven technical themes of this year’s convention. If the past is any guide to the future, this year’s meeting will also be an excellent networking opportunity. The last AAPG meeting in Houston was attended by more than 8100 attendees and this number may be exceeded this year. Use time between talks, during coffee breaks and lunch, at the many social events and in the exhibition hall to network. Meet new people working in your field and renew contacts face-to-face. We must all remember that a network is more than a connection on LinkedIn. An effective network requires nurturing, which means occasional face-to-face connections, phone calls, and emails. There is no better time for those face-to-face meetings than this year’s convention, and I will be scrambling to touch base with those in my personal network that has developed over the past few decades. A number of the contacts that I have made and nurtured at AAPG have over the years become friends and collaborators. They have provided data, technical reviews, and have helped with an interpretation of a unique dataset every once in a while.

I will also be presenting a paper at this year’s meeting. Early in my career, my reason for presenting at AAPG was to help establish my professional standing and to receive external feedback. I wanted to ensure that my thoughts, concepts, and beliefs were not too inwardly focused and limited by corporate needs and wants. Today, I believe that my professional standing has been established, but I still remain interested in having my work vetted. The program for this year has been set, but there will be opportunities to present at next year’s meeting in Denver or at the 100th Anniversary Convention in 2017 back here in Houston.

I strongly recommend that you register for this year’s convention. If you can’t break away from the office for the three days of the meeting, carefully review the program and pick a day to attend. All of us can find at least one day to attend this meeting. Professional conferences and conventions should truly be considered work and be part of one’s development.

There is more than AAPG for you to consider this month. The HGS Board has started considering awards and honors that will be presented this coming June. We have ideas but would like to hear from you. Are there members of the Society that you believe have contributed to the organization, the science, or the community? Send the Board a brief note letting us know who you believe should be recognized by the organization and why. At our January Board meeting, we decided to explore the idea of new awards so please don’t feel constrained by actions of prior boards. Remember, professional recognition is important.

Hoping to see you at the George R. Brown Convention Center in April.

Until next time...





Barry Katz
Saturday, March 1, 2014
From the President