María De Lourdes Clara Valdés
President
AMGP
/
View from the Top

Keeping Up Talent & Expertise Development In A Difficult Year

By Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 04/22/2021 - 09:51

Q: What were the most pressing items on your agenda when you took over this new role?

A: Before I took this position, I spent the last couple of years studying the AMGP’s commitments in regard to similar industry associations, as well as scientific and technological developments through research and publications managed and presented by our association. Like many other associations, one of the items that is at the top of our agenda is what will happen to the Mexican Petroleum Congress (CMP), which has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next CMP had been scheduled for June 2021 but we realized that we could not guarantee the safety of all attendees by this time, given how the pandemic has gained strength in the past two months. The decision was made to once again delay the event to late November 2021, when we expect that appropriate sanitary and infrastructure conditions will be in place.

Approximately 5,000 oil and gas professionals participate in CMP. This forum gives us the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge among members of similar associations. It is also a great introduction to the industry for students and aspiring geologists. If the event cannot be held in November due to a lack of safety protocols, we are OK with delaying it once again to 2022; the safety of our members and of all attendees is paramount.

The association is also continuing to build a lockdown-proof program of digital symposiums for 2021. This includes workshops for the development of education regarding deepwater development, which is becoming increasingly relevant to Mexico’s exploration professionals as more private operators continue to execute their exploration campaigns.

Q: How has AMGP remained connected to academic and educational communities? 

A: In recent years, the association has opened chapters for student communities. Through these chapters we engage with the entire student body in all disciplines and degrees related to earth sciences. We have supported them through digital courses and virtual conference programs. We have included student chapter members from other industry associations. The association maintains constant communication with university professors across all disciplines in order to coordinate our efforts as effectively as possible. We want students to have access to as many resources as possible. We also have a vested interest in making sure their education reaches an international standard. Due to the pandemic, the on-site visits for classes have been suspended. We have also tried to organize alternative visits to key geological sites under strictly controlled sanitary conditions. We know from experience that certain aspects of stratigraphy, sedimentology, geochemistry and fracture analysis can only be learned and applied on the field. We want to make sure our young aspiring professionals are not deprived of these areas in their education. In some cases, instead of bringing students to the field, we are trying to bring the field to them. All of this applies not only to students but to our own professional members as well. Our disciplines represent an education that is a lifelong process and we must find ways to continue teaching throughout the pandemic.

Q: What is your view on the development of geological knowledge in 2020 through oil and gas exploration campaigns?

A: We have collaborated with other associations to put together a brief that we submit to CNH, where we evaluate the most interesting prospective resources being explored and studied. We have several Ph.D. members who participate in the drafting of these briefings and are aware of the current interests and ideas of private upstream operators. This process has allowed us to reevaluate certain areas that are much more interesting than previously thought. We have also been involved in advising PEMEX directly on some of the exploration drilling campaigns that have proven successful in the last one to two years. We are also in communication with SENER and SE so that they take into account our perspective regarding the methods and approaches being applied to all exploration campaigns.

While deepwater exploration successes have played a larger part in the country’s ongoing expansion of its geological potential, the truth is that deepwater exploration has represented a series of significant technological challenges for Mexico that date back to the 1990s. These challenges are not limited to exploration or drilling technologies but are related to broader field development issues, such as the design of platforms and other infrastructure. This turns all deepwater exploration campaigns into a multidisciplinary effort for operators and researchers. Some exploration campaigns take place through specialized vessels that are carrying anywhere from 10 to 30 tons of exploration equipment and tubing. This is an example of the type of scale that these campaigns have. It takes three to four years of development and planning to execute these campaigns successfully.  We have played a part in making sure that our members and oil and gas exploration professionals in the country have a chance to train in places like Brazil and Norway to be capable of understanding and managing these new technologies and methodologies. 

 

The Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists (AMGP), founded in 1949, is a scientific and technical organization composed of oil industry professionals. It promotes petroleum geology.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Journalist and Industry Analyst