GEO ExPro

2,000 GEO ExPro Articles and Counting

GEO ExPro was founded in 2004 and is now a well-established Geoscience publication. Kirsti Karlsson, Sales and Marketing Director of GEO ExPro talks about her career with the magazine and how it is adapting to the new world order.
This article appeared in Vol. 18, No. 4 - 2021

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2,000 GEO ExPro Articles and Counting

Why did you get involved with GEO ExPro?

Kirsti Karlsson, Sales & Marketing Director, GEO ExPro I had been a spouse in this industry for many years and had been quite involved in expat spouse communities. For example, when I lived in Stavanger, being a teacher by training, I started teaching Schlumberger spouses Norwegian on my own initiative and I was also the president for the Schlumberger spouses’ association in London for a couple of years. We had just moved back to London and our founding editor approached my husband about starting an international magazine for geoscientists and engineers. He was not sure he would have time to do this but thought it might be a good opportunity for me. I took on the challenge and since I am not a geoscientist and had never worked in publishing before it was a steep learning curve and not at all the part-time job I had envisioned.

What were the founding principles of the magazine?

Geoscience and technology explained is the subtitle of GEO ExPro and we wanted to create an educational magazine for geoscientists and engineers focusing on the subsurface in the upstream oil and gas industry. A magazine with articles that were informative but not written in a too technical way. Informative for experts in one discipline about topics in another. In addition to the written text, pictures and illustrations play an important role and we wanted to include other topics in addition to technical articles like ‘Geotourism’, history of oil, country profiles etc. 

GEO ExPro tells stories and has found a niche in the market between the academic, peer reviewed, highly technical journals and publications focusing on current news. 

We believe we have succeeded in the goal we set for the magazine as we are now reaching a wide range of people with an interest in this industry. For example, it is fun to learn that spouses are reading it too. People tell me they love the magazine and that we tell complex stories in simple words.

Conference attendance has always been a key part of GEO ExPro’s interaction with the energy industry. How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the ability of the publication to do business and interact with colleagues and clients?

We decided to launch the magazine at the EAGE conference in Paris in 2004 as we thought this was a good way to make the magazine known. We had not originally planned to attend so many conferences each year but we saw this worked very well because we got to meet the readers in person, the advertisers saw their clients carrying copies of GEO ExPro and last but not least, conferences provide good opportunities to pick up ideas for current stories and help to keep on top of what is happening in the industry. We have media partnership deals with most of the important associations and organizations hosting conferences, which is beneficial for both parties.

An advantage for GEO ExPro during the pandemic has been that we already had a solid online presence but obviously it has made it more challenging to do business. On the other hand, we have attended many virtual conferences and delegates have been able to download the pdf copy of the magazine. As for most other businesses, Zoom/Teams meetings have been the main way to keep in touch with colleagues and the rest of the community but I really do miss meeting people in person and the informal networking possibilities that are difficult to create virtually. I think hybrid conferences are the likely format from now on.

GEO ExPro is a content focused magazine with strength in the upstream oil and gas industry. How have you coped with the changes wrought by the energy transition and what do you think the future of the oil and gas industry might look like?

GEO ExPro is a magazine for geoscientists and engineers focusing on the subsurface and we are of course adapting to the changing landscape by publishing articles of interest to this community including articles on energy transition topics relevant for this group. Our clients are themselves changing and we have to reflect that.

I believe easy-to-read cross-discipline information is even more important now when people need to learn about new disciplines where geoscientists and engineers will play an important role, for example in geothermal carbon storage, minerals etc. We are evolving from an oil and gas magazine to an energy magazine but I believe oil and gas will play a very important role in this mix for many years to come.

What are your best and worst memories of your 17 years at GEO ExPro?

The worst memory must be when the shipment with magazines for the EAGE conference in Paris where we were launching GEO ExPro was stuck in customs. Luckily, we had hand-carried a few copies with us so people did not notice. When we did not have any more magazines left, we told people we were sold out and the whole team went and had a very long lunch. To our great relief the shipment arrived on the last day and we were quite proud that we managed to hand out 1,000 copies that day. Since then, we only use companies that are specialists in conference shipments!

There are so many good memories, so it is difficult to pick one. I have visited many beautiful cities, for example the AAPG International Conference in Cartagena was one of the highlights. Celebrating our 10th and 15th anniversaries at the EAGE conferences in Amsterdam and London are also good memories because of the warmth and the support we felt from so many of our readers, contributors and advertisers attending the events. 

This is a great industry to be part of and what I have enjoyed most is working in great teams, traveling and meeting all the very interesting and professional people with a passion for their disciplines. This is why I am still here.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges of producing a specialist print and online publication and what gives you most satisfaction in your role?

We are working on tight schedules since we cannot miss printing slots as magazines are shipped to conferences. The biggest challenge is to receive all the material by the deadlines and cope with last minute changes. What gives me most satisfaction, in addition to working in a great team and the industry people we meet, is to close ad sales especially with clients I have been trying to get onboard for a long time.

Can you tell us about any new initiatives at GEO ExPro that we can expect to see over the rest of this year and 2022?

We will endeavor to continue to create a high quality magazine both online and in print and make necessary changes before our readers start thinking we need to renew ourselves. We launched our webinar series ‘GEOTalks’ this year and have so far completed two, one on flaring and another on the geology of the planet Mars. Both got excellent reviews. 

I also think we are sitting on a gold mine of an archive with 2,000 excellent and still very topical articles that everybody should know about and therefore we want to find new ways to promote this.

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