AAPG’s Gries praises of ‘out of the box’

AAPG president Robbie Gries spoke to an enthusiastic audience of French geologists this month. Gries believes that exploration, not acquisition is needed to replace dwindling oil and gas reserves.

Speaking in Paris this month, AAPG president Robbie Gries forecast that the world will still depend on oil and gas for the next 60 to 80 years. Current reserves are estimated at 66 years for gas and 37 for oil supply but this assumes zero growth in the world economy. When probable growth is included in the calculation, existing reserves will only last a couple of decades! ‘Unconventional’ energy sources such as such as coal bed methane and tar sands will likely ameliorate the situation.

Risk of mergers

Today, oil companies find it easier to increase reserves by merger or acquisition, but the risk here is that global reserves are not affected by these transactions. What the industry needs are new methods for reserve discovery. To find such overlooked reserves the industry needs to overcome dogma, to think ‘out of the box’!


Gries offered a review of dogma-busting thinking such as Maury Deul’s work on coal bed methane – which turned a hazard into a revenue stream. Don Todd’s work in Indonesia led to the birth of off-shore exploration and the first production sharing agreement. Closer to home (for Greis) the sub-salt play in the gulf of Mexico and Peter Vail’s work on seismic stratigraphy were lauded as dogma busters.

Digital library

Gries announced that as of July 1st, paid-up AAPG members will have access to the entire AAPG digital library, from 1917 to the present.

Comment - Gries omitted to mention an interesting episode in the AAPG’s past. In the 1960’s and 1970’s when researchers worldwide were making spectacular discoveries in the field of plate tectonics, the AAPG’s reaction was to throw its weight behind the geological establishment with the publication of a Memoir backing the verticalist dogma of the day!

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