2014 ACE Announcement
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Forums and Special Sessions

All events take place in the George R. Prown Convention Center unless otherwise noted.

History of Petroleum Geology (AAPG)

Date: Sunday, 6 April
Time: 12:55 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Location: General Assembly B
Fee: Included with registration
Co-Chairs: R. Hardy and B. Blackstone


The History of Petroleum Geology Committee will again hold its annual forum at the AAPG 2014 ACE. We have a wide range of fascinating topics on people, technology, and events from the early nineteenth century to the future!


  • Gary Lash of SUNY Fredonia will talk on the early history of the natural gas industry around Fredonia in western New York state. Commercial production was established in the Devonian black shale (sound familiar?) way back in the 1820’s! Downhole techniques included copious amounts of black powder — frac on! By the 1850’s the area was employing ‘rock gas’ rather than whale oil for multiple uses.
  • Jeff Spencer of Amromco Energy will give a popular paper chronicling the early Texas oilfield photographers, many of whom were at the sites of massive blow-outs and rather crude production practices. Needless to say his slides will be detailed and colorful.
  • Ray Sorenson, a consultant, will summarize the history of early formation evaluation. Even before Schlumberger began commercial electrical coring operations in the United States in 1929, the petroleum industry had been employing varied technologies in addition to cutting analysis, including oriented cores, fracture detection, directional surveys and borehole imaging, much of which were borrowed from the mining industry. Within the first 30 years after the establishment of the wireline logging industry, the physical properties that are measured by most of today’s logging tools had been evaluated by service companies and oil company research laboratories. The physical principles were generally understood conceptually by the time SPWLA was formed in 1959, although commercial applications often had to await advances in measurement technology or data processing.
  • Jessica Moore of Chevron will discuss the fascinating life of Elizabeth Watson (1915-2000) who was both a geologist and an aviator, quite rare in the mid-20th century. After bachelor and master degrees at Stanford, focusing on Eocene biostratigraphy in the coast ranges of California, she joined the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II and ferried all kinds of military aircraft around the country. After the war she had a career with Union Oil of California employing her knowledge derived from college days.
  • Paul Mann of the University of Houston Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences will discuss the department’s origin and highlights of its first 80 years of education and service to the oil industry. From humble beginnings supported by Humble Oil in the 1930’s the department is currently the largest undergrad (650) and grad (350) program in geology and geophysics in the USA that also combines a specialty in an Atmospheric Sciences program that focuses its research on air quality issues in Houston and other major cities.
  • Ray Leonard of Hyperdynamics will carry us into “The New Oil World of the 21st Century”, where we will see a dramatic shift to unconventional and deepwater production. He will let us in on where most of the deepwater production will come from, when it will peak and what sources the unconventional production will come from. Ray will also discuss the ballet between these transitions and future price shocks.

Communicating Our Science (AAPG/GEO-DC/DPA)

Date: Monday, 7 April
Time: 8:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m.
Location: General Assembly A
Fee: Included with registration
Organizer: E. Allison
Moderators: C. North and C. Yielding


What do you tell people about energy and geoscience? How do you address laymen and skeptics? Communication skills are critical to doing our jobs and explaining the importance of petroleum to our neighbors and friends. Two expert panels will lead discussions of what and how to communicate about sensitive topics in energy and science and how new media are changing our communications with other scientists and the public. Our speakers will discuss communicating both the facts and the excitement of science — watch for the announcement of speakers. We also plan an open discussion of topics such as:

  • How to explain major energy issues to friends, colleagues and environmental activists: where energy comes from, the pros and cons of potential energy sources for the future and hydraulic fracturing.
  • How 21st century media affects how we get scientific information.
  • Why you or your colleagues are or are not publishing scientific information that is important for all of us to do our job.


  • Jim Reilly II, Former astronaut; Associate Vice President and Dean of Science and Technology Development, American Public University System
  • Michael Zehr, Federal Policy Advisory, Consumer Energy Alliance
  • Heather Saucier, Correspondent, AAPG EXPLORER
  • Jane Whaley, Editor-in-Chief, GeoExPro Magazine
  • Donald Paul, Executive Director, University of Southern California Energy Institute; Professor of Engineering and William M. Keck Chair of Energy Resources, University of Southern California
  • Iain Stewart, Professor of Geosciences Communication, University of Plymouth

Discovery Thinking (AAPG/DPA)

Date: Monday, 7 April
Time: 8:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.–5:05 p.m.
Location: General Assembly B
Fee: Included with registration
Co-Chairs: Morning: C. Sternbach and P. Weimer, Afternoon: C. Sternbach and E. Dolly


The Discovery Thinking Forums will be the ninth and tenth presentations of the AAPG 100th Anniversary Committee’s program recognizing “100 Who Made a Difference”. Each forum will feature four invited speakers who will describe major discoveries in both global and Gulf of Mexico exploration settings. The forums combined into a Day of Discovery Thinking will celebrate how Creative Thinking Leads to Giant Discoveries and New Plays. Each speaker and their associates overcame significant business, technical and professional challenges. Topics to be discussed will include philosophy of exploration, stories from remarkable careers, professional insights, colorful anecdotes and lessons learned on the path to success. As technology advances and young geoscientists enter our profession the organizers see continued interest in forums such as these. These forums provide a venue for explorers to discuss the personal side of success and what has been called the art of exploration. As always, the audience is fortunate to hear the speakers share their insights derived from hard won experience.

AAPG offers many technical sessions. Discovery Thinking forums fill an important gap in how technical and professional skills combine to turn prospects into discoveries. Speakers are encouraged to share personal stories about discoveries they know well to bring forward appropriate technical data and to address questions from the audience and fellow explorers. Morning talks will emphasize exciting discoveries in global settings while afternoon talks will feature major and significant discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico (including onshore Texas and Atlantic Margins). Houston, an important center for both global and Gulf of Mexico exploration, is a great venue to celebrate discoveries in both of these settings.

Morning Speakers

  • Antonio Escalera, Deputy Director of Exploration and Production, Pemex: Recent Discoveries in Ultra Deep Water Western Gulf of Mexico
  • Hans Rønnevik, Exploration Manager and Arild Jørstad, Lundin: Unfolding by Holistic Thinking, Giant and Significant Oil Discoveries in a Mature Area; Discovery of Edvard Grieg, Johan Sverdrup and Luno II in the Norwegian North Sea
  • Flavio Juarez Feijo, Senior Geologist, Petrobras: Sergipe Basin, An Oil Province Reborn
  • Fiona MacAulay, Technical Director, Rockhopper Exploration PLC: Size Doesn’t Always Matter — Twelve Months in the Life of a Small Oil Company; The Discovery and Appraisal of the Sea Lion Field, North Falklands Basin — A Casebook
  • Question and Answer Panel Discussion

Afternoon Speakers

  • John Dribus, Global Geosciences Advisor, Schlumberger: Three Important Conventional Reservoirs Receiving Exploration Focus in the Deep Water Today
  • Ernie Leyendecker, Vice President of Exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko: Discovery Thinking — The Gulf of Mexico Advantage
  • Scott Sheffield, Chief Executive Officer, Pioneer Resources: Discovery Thinking Leads to Success in Eagle Ford and Spraberry/Wolfcamp Plays, Texas
  • Kristin Wood, Mesozoic Area Exploration Manager, Shell: Appomattox — Persistence Pays Off in a Frontier Gulf of Mexico Play
  • Question and Answer Panel Discussion

Michael T. Halbouty Lecture

Date: Monday, 7 April
Time: 5:10 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Location: General Assembly B
Fee: Included with registration
Speaker: Carlos Dengo, Director, Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems, Texas A&M University

About the Halbouty Lecture

The Michel T. Halbouty lecture series is an ongoing special event that the AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition. Lecture topics are designed to focus either on wildcat exploration in any part of the world where major discoveries might contribute significantly to petroleum reserves or space exploration where astrogeological knowledge would further mankind’s ability to develop resources on Earth and in the Solar System.


This year’s speaker will be Carlos A. Dengo. After 30 years of career services, Dengo retired from Exxon Mobil Corporation in 2012 and is now principal of Tierranos Consulting.

He is discussing Transcending Geoscience Paradigms for Exploration Opportunity Growth. Exploration success is “seeing first what others have not.” Paradigm shifts in geologic concepts have grown resource opportunities, but historically have been relatively slow to gain favor due to perceived high risk, unfavorable price environment or lack of enabling technologies, among other factors.

Energy outlooks, tied to global population growth and economic development, point to a robust exploration future for decades ahead with a commodity price environment that should encourage testing of new play concepts while challenging existing paradigms of success in producing basins. Future success must continue to transcend paradigms and requires a balance and healthy tension between human creativity, innovation and the use of increasingly large, complex data sets and interpretation/modeling technologies. This presentation examines historical trends in the contributions of ideas and technologies to exploration and where they might lead while drawing attention for the need to place additional focus on the human element of our industry.

In his early career assignments, Carlos focused on structural geology research and technology applications with Exxon affiliates worldwide. From 1992 to 1999 he progressed through a number of supervisory and managerial positions of increasing responsibility with Exxon Exploration Company prior to being appointed U.S./Mexico geoscience area manager, responsible for all regional exploration activities, following the merger between Exxon and Mobil. In 2006 Carlos was appointed technical vice president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company and served as an exploration company executive until being appointed vice president of geoscience for ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company in 2008. As geoscience vice president for ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Carlos led the Corporation’s worldwide geoscience research function and the application of differentiating and proprietary technology in support of ExxonMobil’s global upstream operations.

Carlos is recipient of the Winchell Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, the best paper award from the U.S. National Rock Mechanics Committee and the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award from the AAPG. He has also served as an AAPG International Distinguished Lecturer. He has and continues to serve on several advisory boards, including having been on the Executive Advisory Council of the AAPG.

U.S. Shale Gas Reserves and Production: Accelerators and Inhibitors (AAPG)

Date: Tuesday, 8 April
Time: 8:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m.
Location: General Assembly B
Fee: Included with registration
Moderator: S. W. Tinker


There is much discussion in the United States and globally about the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing. The relevance of the debate depends, in part, on the robustness of shale gas reserve and production forecasts. Why develop an extensive regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing, invest substantially in LNG export terminals or risk the economic impact of stringent CO2 emissions standards on coal power plants if the shale gas future is insignificant? For the past three years a team at the Bureau of Economic Geology and Rice University have been conducting a highly integrated study of the shale gas reserve and production potential of the Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville and Marcellus. A primary goal is to reduce the uncertainty of the shale gas forecast so that policymakers, regulators, investors, operators and the public can make informed decisions on the basis of rigorous analysis. The results from the bottom-up study provide insights that cannot be obtained by simply looking at field wide averages of well performance or reserves.

This Forum, moderated by Dr. Scott W. Tinker, will examine the reserve and production forecasts and then present a candid look at factors that could either enhance or detract from the forecast. Featured will be key members of the BEG study team; representatives from federal and state agencies describing existing methods of resource estimation, regulatory challenges, rulemaking, and taxes and incentives that could accelerate or inhibit production; industry shale gas operators discussing operational challenges and realities; service-company representatives examining new technologies and industry analysts skeptical of the reality of shale gas economics. Audience members will have the opportunity to engage with the panel for what promises to be a lively and important discussion.


  • Eric Potter: BEG, Geology
  • John Browning: BEG, Engineering
  • Svetlana Ikonnikova: BEG, Economics
  • Troy Cook, Federal Forecasts, Energy Information Administration
  • Nick Tew, State Regulation, Alabama State Geologist and Oil and Gas Supervisor
  • Karen Wayland, Federal Policy: Department of Energy
  • Scott Anderson, Environmental Impacts, Energy Defense Fund
  • Mark Zoback, Induced Seismicity, Stanford University
  • Vikram Rao, Advances in Technology, RTEC (Research Triangle Energy Consortium)
  • John Applegath, Exploration and Development Opportunities, Range Resources

SEPM Research Symposium

New Advances in Devonian Carbonates: Outcrop Analogs, Reservoirs and Chronostratigraphy

Date: Tuesday, 8 April
Time: 8:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.–5:05 p.m.
Location: Room 361
Fee: Included with registration
Co-Chairs: T. Playton, C. Kerans and J. Weissenberger


The Devonian stratigraphic record contains a wealth of information that highlights the response of carbonate platforms to globalscale phenomena, such as changeovers from stressed to normal marine oceanic conditions, low- and high-frequency eustatic fluctuation and the onset of transitional climates from peak greenhouse settings. The unique occurrence of well-studied and pristinely preserved reefal carbonate outcrop and subsurface datasets, ranging across the globe from Australia to Canada, allows for a detailed look at Middle to Upper Devonian (Givetian, Frasnian and Famennian) carbonate systems from a global perspective and the opportunity to develop well-constrained, predictive relationships and conceptual models. Recent studies have validated the use of paleomagnetics, stable isotope geochemistry and elemental chemostratigraphy in conjunction with more traditional biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphic concepts as tools to construct integrated chronostratigraphic frameworks with both academic and applied utility. The generation of such frameworks not only enables unprecedented interpretation and correlation capability within a single outcrop or reservoir dataset, but also provides reference points that facilitate the comparison of ageequivalent carbonate platforms worldwide.

This all-day SEPM Research Symposium highlights this recent work on Middle-Upper Devonian carbonate platform to basin successions. The scope of the session is threefold: 1) present the current knowledge state of Devonian carbonate systems around the globe; 2) introduce integrated chronostratigraphic workflows and correlation constraints developed for various Middle-to-Upper Devonian datasets and 3) gather contributors and solicit potential manuscripts for an associated SEPM Special Publication to be assembled after the session.

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The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) does not endorse or recommend any products and services that may be cited, used or discussed in AAPG publications or in presentations at events associated with AAPG.