PESGB August/September 2007
President’s Page- Stephen Pickering
The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. which overwhelmed Pompeii also resulted in the death of Pliny the Elder, overcome so it was said, by poisonous gas emanating from the volcano. Pliny’s death has been immortalized in geology, with the type of volcanic eruption which shoots gas and debris kilometers skywards being known as a Plinean (or Plinian) eruption. Pliny was a Roman soldier and philosopher, who wrote in Naturalis Historia – “Ex Africa simper aliquid novi” – which translates “There is always something new from Africa”. This month the PESGB Africa conference is held in Cape Town in association with the Houston Geological Society and PetroSA. Looking at the conference programme Pliny was indeed correct; those PESGB members fortunate enough to attend should gain many new ideas on African petroleum systems and play fairways!
African exploration though is not the only interest of the PESGB membership. In the PESGB North Sea Special Session at the EAGE annual conference in June, various speakers showed that there are many new opportunities in the North Sea; with new interpretations of North Sea play fairways and new technologies transforming the economics of, for instance heavy oil. In December the PESGB hosts the 5th Prospect Fair at the Business Design Centre, an event now firmly established in the Society’s calendar, I hope you attend as there will be lots of new ideas and prospects to be seen.
Recently I attended a reception, where I was surprised to see a poster of the Forbes gasfield in UK block 43/8a; which I mapped as a junior interpreter prior to its development in 1985. Block 43/8a was awarded in 1964 in the first UKCS licence round, as part of licence P048. The field was abandoned in 1993, and even though now being considered for gas storage, the poster demonstrated with new interpretation techniques that there were significant residual hydrocarbons in the field. This gas potential, which was not recognized at abandonment, may now have commercial value. In 2006 there were eight new field discoveries on the UKCS, significantly three were on licences awarded in the first two UKCS rounds in 1964 and 1965. These two licence rounds originally comprised some 480 UKCS blocks, and despite being due for relinquishment in 2010 and 2011 respectively, we clearly still have not finished exploring them yet!
New understanding and new technologies then are helping our understanding of old acreage, and our industry is reaping the commercial benefit. Finally, it is time for you to vote for a new PESGB Council – and I am sure that you will not be surprised that this year we are using a new method, we are holding the election on the internet. Any member wishing to vote but unable to access the internet should contact the office to register their vote. If you would like to stand for election, or nominate someone else, please contact Jerry Chessell (President-elect) via the office. Well there is always something new from the PESGB or should I say, “Ex PESGB simper aliquid novi”.