PESGB March 2007

Thu 01 March 2007

Category: Magazines

President’s Page- Stephen Pickering

It is over 40 years since the PESGB was founded by a group of forward thinking petroleum explorationists in 1965. Remarkable since, at the time the first North Sea discoveries on the UKCS, the West Sole and Viking gas fields, were yet to be made. The first PESGB Chairman was the late Bob Dyk, Managing Director of Hamilton Brothers Oil and Gas and under whose leadership Hamilton would later make a number of famous North Sea discoveries. These included the Argyll Field, which in 1975 was the first North Sea field to produce oil, and also the world’s first FPSO development. I was extremely privileged to work as a junior interpreter for Bob Dyk for a short period in 1981-2 before he retired.
Our Society though is but a mere youngster by comparison with the Geological Society of London which celebrates its bicentenary in 2007. Recently I had the honour of attending a celebratory
lecture “History of Life” presented by Richard Fortey, a geologist of international fame and reputation. The lecture reminded me of the importance of fieldwork not just in palaeontology but also in petroleum exploration and production. Ever since 1857 when James Hutton at Siccar Point deduced that the geologic processes must take immeasurable periods of time, the importance of field work in geologic deduction has been understood and appreciated.
The PESGB also recognises the value of fieldwork as a way of educating and informing the members of our society. The very first PESGB field trip in 1966 was made to see the classic south coast Mesozoic stratigraphy at outcrop, containing potential source and reservoir units known from onshore drilling. Obviously, those early pioneers of the PESGB appreciated that besides fresh air, exercise and congenial company, there were significant benefits to field studies in developing geologic understanding, knowledge and reasoning; not only for geologists, but also for geophysicists and engineers.
To date there have been over 140 PESGB field trips, including locations such as the Caspian and Morocco, as well as the classic British locations. Dick Selley who was recently made an honorary member of the Society, led his first fieldtrip in 1974 and his most recent to the now classic Denbies Vineyard in 2006. Well done, Dick! Steve Cannon, PESGB Director of Education, is organizing a number of field trips in 2007, including the Cheshire Basin led by Neil Meadows in May, and West Midlands Carboniferous and Permo/Triassic field trip led by Bernard Besly in September. Both these trips offer excellent opportunities to study the stratigraphy, sedimentology and structural styles of rocks which, just a few miles away, are producing fields in Liverpool Bay and the Southern Gas Basin.
I hope we will have a great turnout for these field trips – whether you come with friends and colleagues, or on your own you will be made very welcome. I am certainly looking forward to attending at least one of the trips – the view from the top of Beeston Castle is sufficient reason alone – I hope you will join me. And lest I forget – Happy Birthday Geol. Soc.

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