GEO ExPro

AAPG European Regional Conference

GEO ExPro's Conference Round-Ups: AAPG European Regional Conference: "Global Analogues for the Atlantic Margin” 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.
This article appeared in May, 2018

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AAPG Regional Conference: Global Analogues of the Atlantic Margin

The AAPG European Region can be justifiably proud of their conference on Global Analogues of the Atlantic Margin, held in Lisbon on 2-3 May, 2018. It was an ambitiously wide-ranging but very topical subject, and attract a huge range of talks, nearly 70 in total, covering the whole of the Atlantic, from north to south, with the notable exception of the east coast USA, still at the moment under embargo, as discussed in the most recent issue of GEO ExPro.

Outstanding Conference Location

The beautiful historic town of Lisbon, located on the Tagus estuary. Photo credit: Jane Whaley. Lisbon was a great choice of location for this conference, situated as it is in the heart of the Atlantic seaboard. In addition to being a fascinating and vibrant city, buzzing with life, it was from here that, several hundred years ago, men set sail in small ships to find out what lay on the other side of that great ocean. As was pointed out in the opening speeches, it is important that in similar fashion we take the information we have gleaned from research and exploration on the Atlantic margins and export them throughout the rest of the world. Neil Hodgson, AAPG European President-Elect, noted that the world recently passed an important landmark, and is now consuming over 100 MMbopd – oil which will need to be replaced since this consumption rate is not showing any signs of decreasing.

Huge Array of Geoscience Knowledge & Initiative 

The beauty of Lisbon's historic, grand architecture. Photo credit: Jane Whaley. Whether by design or happy accident, the conference coincided with the release of data from the Dunquin North well in Ireland’s Porcupine Basin, one of the most talked about wells in this frontier region, drilled in 2013. As a result, there was a series of interesting presentations about the well, starting with a ‘setting the scene’ talk by John O’Sullivan of Providence Resources, the operator, which was followed by discussions on different aspects of the wildcat, which, while not being commercial, had validated a new carbonate bank play in the sparsely explored basin. The programme committee can be congratulated on arranging the talks in this complementary fashion, rather than the slightly scatter-gun approach which sometimes seems to be applied.

There was evidence of significant academic involvement in the conference with some interesting ‘blue-skies thinking’ on such topics as magma budgets, the influence of halokinesis and different modelling systems

These included talks entitled:

  • "Is a conjugate an analogue?"
  • "An Atlas of Character"
  • and; "The Atlantic Ocean: 200 million years young and full of surprises".


Maybe I’m just a bit shallow, but those titles got me wondering what they were about and keen to attend the talks. Is it time we all got a bit more imaginative with our presentation titles?

Multi-phase Petroleum Exploration in the Atlantic Margin

Pictured here (left to right), Jane Whaley​, Canadian Simon Haynes from Statoil and Australian Mary Munroe from Woodside Energy. Photo credit: Jane Whaley. Several people pointed out that Atlantic margin exploration seems to have a couple of phases, with the initial much-hyped discovery not always fully delivering in the appraisal stage, before a 2nd phase of successful discoveries after the models and data were re-analysed. This was one of several experiences that could have implications for explorers throughout the world.

In fact, there were a number of presentations and posters from areas well away from the Atlantic, including Greece, the Black Sea and South East Asia, which demonstrated that learnings gleaned from Atlantic margin exploration are being spread around the world. As was pointed out, analogues in outcrops or acquired data are major tools for exploring both new frontiers and mature provinces, and we need to learn as much as possible from them.

Cruising Down the River Tagus

Cruising down the River Tagus in the evening of the first day of the conference. Photo credit: Jane Whaley. Nearly 200 delegates, the majority working as geoscientists in exploration, attended this excellent conference, and the AAPG Regional Group, and especially the Events and Office Administrator, Marta Diaz, must be congratulated for such a successful event. On top of the excellent technical conference and the pleasant venue (with copious quantities of very good food), delegates enjoyed a cruise down the River Tagus (courtesy of Repsol), with fine sunset views of the beautiful city of Lisbon – an excellent end to the first day.

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