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Discovery Thinking Forum – Giant Global Discoveries I & II (AAPG/DPA)

Tuesday, 29 September 2020, 1:15 p.m.–5:15 p.m.  |  Austin, Texas

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  • 1:15 pm–5:15 pm (Tuesday)
  • 8:00 am–11:50 am (Thursday)

The “Discovery Thinking I & II” Forums will be the twenty second and twenty third presentation of the AAPG 100th Anniversary Committee’s program recognizing “100 Who Made a Difference.” These Forums, co-sponsored by AAPG’s Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), will feature invited speakers who will describe major and significant discoveries. We are pleased to announce this Forum will continue at Houston ACE 2020 with four (or more) very notable discovery presentations.

Each speaker and their colleagues 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 younger 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 abundant technical data and insights derived from costly and 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. As a resource to fellow explorers, many previous Discovery Thinking presentations can be found on the AAPG Search and Discovery website, under the Special Collection tab.

This year, ACE 2020 brings forward a second Discovery Thinking session: “Global Giant Discoveries”. The forum will focus on the science that brings about giant discoveries and the prosperity they bring.


  • The Giant Greater Tortue / Ahmeyim Discovery: Opening the Mauritania / Senegal Deep-Water Gas Basin Tortue: D. B. McGuinness, S. Konings*
  • Brulpadda a Key Play Opening Discovery in Offshore South Africa: A Tale of Discovery and Managing an Extremely Challenging Operating Environment: Celine Scheffer, Total, Exploration Manager for South Africa
  • Pikka Field and the Opening of the Nanushuk Play, North Slope, Alaska: J. V. Sommer
  • Johan Castberg - The first Giant Oil discovery in the Barents Sea: Ketil Sollid, Jan Ove Hansen, Leif Bjørnar Henriksen, Olaf Thießen, Alf Ryseth and Simon Knight, Equinor
  • Integrated Geology of the First Economical Unconventional Play Outside North America: The Vaca Muerta Play (Argentina): D. Minisini
  • Field Growth in the Super Giant Wattenberg Field, Denver Basin, Colorado: S. A. Sonnenberg
  • A Step-Change in Success Rates Finding Giant Stratigraphic Traps in the Past 20 Years: How 3-D Seismic and Petroleum Systems Analysis has Created a Game-Changer in New, Non-Structural Plays: J. C. Dolson1, Z. He2, B. Horn3; 1DSP Geosciences and Associates, LLC, Coconut Grove, FL, 2Zetaware, Houston, TX, 3ION E&P Advisors, Houston, TX.


C. A. Sternbach, J. C. Dolson, R. K. Merrill


Discovery Thinking Forum – Giant Global Discoveries I & II (AAPG/DPA)
Austin, TX
Austin, Texas
United States


AAPG Instructor  
President, Star Creek Energy, Houston
AAPG Instructor  
Catheart Energy, Sugar Land, Texas
AAPG Instructor  
DSP Geosciences and Associates, LLC