PESGB January 2007
President’s Page- Stephen Pickering
I am looking at the Membership Directory as I write this article and observe that “the object of the Society is to promote for public benefit, education in the scientific and technical aspects of the petroleum industry”. I also notice that in 1976 a certain J J Williams was Chairman of the PESGB – we did not have Presidents in those days.
Thinking back to 1976, or thereabouts, I had the privilege of attending a 2-week training course on Petroleum Exploration at the Royal School of Mines. The industry speakers included ‘Jerry’ Williams, then Exploration Manager for Occidental, who presented a case study of the recently discovered Piper oilfield. I was mightily impressed not just by his knowledge, but that he and others took the time to present to the likes of myself.
I believe that the training course I attended was a prototype for JAPEC (Joint Association for Petroleum Exploration Courses) a joint venture between the Geological Society, Imperial College and the PESGB. For many years JAPEC fulfilled the Society’s object of public education, presenting many courses including the widely acclaimed Petroleum Geology of the North Sea.
In the late 1990s I was briefly a trustee of JAPEC, before it folded, a casualty of declining demand in a low oil price world where training was a by-word for waste – and staff levels vigorously pruned. But things have changed – with high oil prices the industry is once again recruiting and demand for knowledge once more exists – and the committee is actively considering how we can once again support the provision of selected training for the benefit of the membership.
As I write the results of the society elections have yet to be announced, but I am less interested in the outcome, more the fact that there were elections at all. In recent years the Society has struggled to get people to stand as officers – but this year we were most fortunate in having contested elections. I take this as a positive sign of the future – because the Society is run by the membership for the membership. A society without an active membership would be a poor one indeed. So I would like to encourage every member of PESGB to have new resolve in 2007.
Participate in the Society, attend the meetings, conferences and field trips, share your knowledge and expertise, and make social and business contacts; just like Jerry Williams did in 1976 and others before and since.
Finally, I take this opportunity to thank those retiring members of the council Mike Marriott, John Hartley and Jim Munns; and all those who contested the election. If unsuccessful in the election I encourage you to stand again, and to those elected – congratulations!