page content

ETF 2018– A New Era for Geoscience

The “AAPG Energy Transition Forum – A New Era for Geoscience” in Amsterdam, September 2018, brought together expert speakers and distinguished participants to discuss the Future of Energy, Sustainability, Digitalisation, and Skills and New Ways of Working. Sessions provided thought-provoking presentations and interactive breakout sessions utilising a variety of facilitation styles to maximise engagement.

The emerging consensus in 2018 was that:

  • The Energy Transition is irreversible but will take different speeds and shapes in different geographies, given various local economic and societal pressures. In all scenarios there is still a need for oil and gas for the foreseeable future, and the demand for certain earth metals will actually materially increase.
  • Geoscience skills are still needed during the Energy Transition to continue to provide the increasing amount of sustainable energy the world needs in the decades to come. This energy will come from a more diverse set of sources and many require geoscience skills (e.g. geothermal). Also, subsurface skills are required for environmental solutions, such as carbon capture and sequestration.
  • Digitalization will transform the geosciences as it is such a data-rich field and that is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can have the biggest impact. Digitalization is not expected to take away geoscience roles but will materially change the way we work.
  • Geoscientists bring unique skills to the Energy Transition, given their deep experience dealing with highly complex problems and the use of big data. The geoscientist of the future needs deep ‘domain knowledge’ as well as being adept with digitalization

ETF 2018 Summary Report

ETF 2019 – A New Era for the Geoscientist

Despite the vast majority of all scenarios indicating that oil and gas will be required for decades to come, there will be changes in what, how and when to explore and exploit, considering the already discovered resources and new types required. This means the role of the geoscientist will gradually change.

The projected global increase in energy demand, and the diversification of supply sources means a deep, solid understanding of geoscience core skills are still required, be it for oil & gas exploration, CCS, rare earth metal mining or geothermal energy extraction. Due to the growth in digitalisation and fusion of energy supplies, there will be a wider spectrum of roles for geoscientists, especially those who have multi-domain knowledge and maintain a learning mind-set.

More discussion is required outside our ecosystem, especially with governments and the public at large on how traditional integrated oil & gas companies are transforming into integrated energy companies, diversifying the service they provide to society and how they can be part of the solution. The discussion should not underplay the contributions made in the improvement of people’s lives due to greater access to energy and be a source of investment capital required for renewable energy, whilst also acknowledging the environmental challenges of the current energy supply mix.

In particular, geoscientists need reach out and encourage the next generation of geoscience students. This new generation deeply cares about climate change and is keen to get involved. To attract talent, universities and companies need to show how their studies & work link to their core values, and how they too can become part of the solution.

ETF 2019 Summary Report