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The Three R’s: Resource Plays, Risk, and the Role of the Geoscientist

All-Convention Luncheon

Monday, 8 June 2020, 11:30 a.m.–1:15 p.m.  |  Houston, Texas

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During the past 15 years, the onshore U.S. exploration and production business has undergone a remarkable transition with the development of resource plays. Along the way, our industry changed from one in which geologic risk was the dominant controlling factor to one in which operational risk, cost, and reserve risk have become controlling factors. Many of the advances that have driven resource play innovation have been empirical, wherein trial and error have taken the place of geoscience driven concept tests. Consequently, a generation of geoscientists are unfamiliar with geologic risk analysis and its implications to risk economics.

In resource play development, the role of the geoscientist has evolved commensurately with the diminished role of geologic risk. Geoscientists have oftentimes found their role to be one that attempts to explain operational results rather than leading the charge. Where once, geoscience was the leading discipline, in many resource plays the geoscientist plays a supporting role to engineers and landmen. Team dynamics have been rewritten, and geoscientists struggle to find their place in a realigned professional hierarchy.

The geoscientist has a special challenge in adapting to this new resource era. Geoscientists’ unique education and appreciation for the interpretive ambiguity that comes with conflicting or missing information makes the geoscientist uniquely qualified to regain a leading role in the resource era. Our industry needs leaders, and geoscientists can and must regain a leading role.

The AAPG Foundation’s Teacher of the Year Award will be presented during the All-Convention Luncheon. The annual Teacher of the Year award of $6,000 is given to a K-12 teacher for excellence in the teaching of natural resources in the earth sciences. The award includes $3,000 to the recipient’s school and $3,000 for the recipient’s personal use. In addition, the recipient receives an expense-paid trip to the Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) to receive the award. Nominations for the award are submitted by the AAPG sections and the winner is chosen by AAPG Foundation’s Teacher of the Year Judges. Each section winner receives a $500 cash award.


Thomas E. Jorden was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Cimarex in September 2011 and Chairman of the Board in August 2012. Mr. Jorden previously served as Executive Vice President of Exploration since the formation of Cimarex in December 2003 and held that same position at Key Production Company, Inc., Cimarex’s predecessor. Prior to joining Key, Mr. Jorden was with Union Pacific Resources and Superior Oil Company. He is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines where he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geophysics. Mr. Jorden serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Colorado School of Mines. He also serves on several industry and charitable boards, including the American Petroleum Institute and the American Exploration and Production Council. Tom enjoys travel, scuba diving, and history.


Thomas E. Jorden, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cimarex




The Three R’s: Resource Plays, Risk, and the Role of the Geoscientist
George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida De Las Americas
Houston, Texas 77010
United States
(713) 853-8000