Blog & News


Thu 01 October 2015

Category: President's Page

‘…Educating in the scientific and technical aspects of petroleum exploration’

Hamish Wilson reflects on how PESGB is meeting its core objective by delivering two strong technical conferences, public outreach work and receiving such positive member feedback

HamishSeptember saw the PESGB involved in two very successful conferences, The Africa Conference and the Petroleum Geology of Europe. Both, very successful examples of the PESGB’s core service of providing low cost technically strong conferences.

The success of the Africa Conference demonstrated the continuing exploration allure of a continent that has its fair share of challenges, both technical but perhaps more importantly political. Despite these challenges and coupled with low oil prices, the industry sees tremendous opportunities. The key attraction being the relatively unexplored nature of many of the basins and the chance of finding truly huge hydrocarbon resources as demonstrated very recently with Eni in Egypt, Cairn in Senegal and Kosmos in Mauritania.

However despite these successes, there is the continual underlying theme of poor exploration similar to that I reflected on last month for the North Sea. Richmond Energy Partner’s Evening Lecture last month pointed out 22 frontier dry wells in the African Transform margin following the Jubiliee discovery. Exploration programmes in Morocco, Angola, Kenya have also been disappointing. The conclusions from these failures are obvious:

• Escalation in acreage bidding ‘prices’ leading to over commitment in exploration programmes
• Which leads to tight drilling schedules with not enough time to undertake proper geoscience analysis
• Over reliance of DHI’s
• Not understanding the petroleum geology

The Petroleum Geology of Europe Conference focused on the deepening understanding of the petroleum geology of our core producing basins; supporting both reservoir management and the search for new exploration plays. Glen Cayley gave the opening address and reflected on the state of the industry and its continual importance to our economies.

This month the PESGB hosted the first training session for the ‘Exploration Game’. Around 20 people were taught how to run the game and have gone out equipped to run the game in schools, universities and communities. The game is an accessible way of building an understanding of petroleum exploration and the interaction between geoscience and luck in creating commercial value. We envisage that further training sessions will be run depending on the feedback received from our first outreach ‘evangelists’!

Another part of our outreach programme is that we are developing a pack that members would be able to use in schools to help explain the industry, the key issues and how students can engage and have a fulfilled career in this sector.
In amongst the hectic task of running conferences and field trip’s PESGB staff have been analysing the responses to the membership survey. An important headline from the responses is that over 90% of membership are very happy with the services that the PESGB provides – leading to a possible conclusion of don’t change anything. However digging deeper, the survey responses provide some telling insights of how the society should evolve to reflect the changing nature of our membership base. Council will be reflecting on these at our October meeting and will feed back to you in the December magazine.

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