The Erosion of Knowledge and the Roles of Professional Societies:
Is there a Responsibility Implied?
Or...Larson’s Look at the Future of Finding Oil and Gas)*
J. B. (Jack) Thomas1
Search and Discovery Article #70011 (2004)
*Adapted from oral presentation to Tulsa Geological Society, September 7, 2004.
1AAPG Geoscience Director, Tulsa, OK ([email protected])
· 1996 estimate of 400,000 geologists, engineers, and geophysicists in energy
· 2000 forecast ~ 100,000 projected
· 2002 extrapolated < 80,000
· 2004 extrapolated < 50,000
If Workforce is growing in 2004 and beyond…where and how?
* A.Anderson Consulting report, 1998, estimates excludes data from China.
Lower enrollment in petroleum
Increased strain on industry workforce (Figure 1)
Last 20 Years
Where do the mentors go (Figure 2)?
To fight this, companies:
Use vendor specialists.
But it cannot come to this (Figure 3)!
We need information access from:
People who “have done it”…the Mentors
Where to learn about these sources?
“Surf the Net”
Need to know how people learn: graphic, audio, tactile.
Emphasize understanding “basics” and “case studies.”
Be a partner in digital archiving.
Show successful “Shortcuts.”
Mentor and train.
The only difference between a library and dead storage is an index- Put it to use!
Develop relevant publications.
Show people how to do it--Professional Development.
Help them experience the “hunt.”
Celebrate and learn from the past.
It is not efficient for every company to create its own library.
Societies (as publishers) have a responsibility to foster this activity
Societies can lead in professional development
Rapid access to data
The challenge to think differently (Figure 5)
Needs to know:
Source of the data
Quality of the data
Projection stats, etc.
Presented as quickly as possible
Documentation on how well the data were utilized
Where to go?
TGS has created Regional Guidebooks, Field Trips, Short Courses, a Digest of Important Papers
AAPG provides more than 100 different products on technical and business aspects of E&P
SEPM- petrology and paleo that documents key concepts.
SEG- important geophysical theory and application publications (digital and print)
SPE- important knowledge on petroleum engineering, drilling topics
SPWLA- critical understanding on formation evaluation topics
When a society goes out of existence…
What happens to the knowledge?
What happens to the mentors?
Will the “wheel be re-discovered”?
Requirement of future generations…
Tap the knowledge by reading.
Listen to the oral histories.
Generate new ideas based on past experiences (LEARN!).
AAPG Special Publications
Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)
Journal of Petroleum Geology (Scientific Press)
Gulf Coast Transactions (GCAGS)
Canadian (CSPG) Bulletin
Canadian (CSPG) Special Publications
New Orleans Geological Society
Lafayette Geological Society
Oklahoma City Geological Society
Tulsa Geological Society
Ft. Worth Geol. Society
Kansas Geological Society
Wyoming Geological Association
Geophysics- 3D, 4D
Drilling- deeper, smarter
Gas utilization- GTL, Pipelines
Re-supply of offshore operations
Trained work force
Deep Shelf, Gulf of Mexico
< 500 wells TD below 18,000’
North America, Onshore, Offshore
Gas; basin centered, CBM, low BTU
Revitalizing Mature Properties
UK Continental Shelf
Satellite fields tied to infrastructure
3D-defined prospects further from land
Russia, China, West Africa, Middle East
Don’t plug the dike with a straw.
Think about the aerodynamics of your kite (Figure 6)!
Train, Mentor, Publish…It is Our True Responsibility.