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Giant Discoveries I

Discovery Thinking Forum

Monday, 8 June 2020, 1:15 p.m.–5:05 p.m.  |  Houston, Texas

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The “Discovery Thinking” Forum will be the twenty-second 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, AAPG is pleased to present “Giant Discoveries I.” Papers presented will be included in the upcoming AAPG Giant Fields Memoir planned for publication in June 2021. Houston is a center of pioneering spirit and well-positioned to feature significant exploration discoveries around the globe. We will focus on the science that brought about the discoveries and also the prosperity they bring locally and globally.


  • 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: John C. Dolson
  • Hunting Hidden Giants in a Mature Basin, North Platte and the Inboard Lower Tertiary Play, US Gulf of Mexico Deepwater: John Shinol, Kerry Inman, Tim Nicholson, James Painter, Jim Farnsworth, Bryan Delph, James Geary, Jean-Marc Pince, Jean-Yves Froute
  • Keys to Unlocking the Frontier Pre-Salt Play in the Deepwater Kwanza Basin of Offshore Angola: Tim Nicholson, Chris Olson, John Shinol, Jim Farnsworth, James Painter, Art Saller, Lino Buambua
  • The Giant Greater Tortue—Ahmeyim Discovery: Opening the Mauritania—Senegal Deep-Water Gas Basin Tortue: Dorie McGinnis, Jackie Reed Kosmos
  • Pikka Field and the Opening of the Nanushuk Play, North Slope, Alaska: Jesse Sommer, Bill Armstrong
  • Johan Castberg — The First Giant Oil Discovery in the Barents Sea: Ketil Sollid, Jan Ove Hansen, Leif Bjørnar Henriksen, Olaf Thießen, Alf Ryseth Simon Knight, A. Groth
  • Integrated Geology of the First Economical Unconventional Play Outside North America—The Vaca Muerta Play (Argentina): Daniel Minisini
  • Field Growth in the Super Giant Wattenberg Field, Denver Basin, Colorado: Steven Sonnenberg


Included with registration 


Charles Sternbach, Robert Merrill, and John Dolson


Giant Discoveries I
George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida De Las Americas
Houston, Texas 77010
United States
(713) 853-8000