March 2016 - Dale Short

I looked at prices for oil and gas this morning (2/29/2016), and saw that oil was selling for about $34/barrel and natural gas was at $1.71/MCF.  Not encouraging at all unless you look back to mid-January and a couple of weeks ago when oil prices dropped below $30/barrel.  We all have friends and acquaintances who have lost their jobs and hear weekly of some company having mass layoffs or going into some sort of bankruptcy.  Hopes for a quick turnaround seem to be fading with every passing day and each new rumor or news article we read.  It’s hard to look past these unpleasant realities and focus on what we as geologists should be doing – generating ideas based on what we observe, developing models, iterating on, and refining those models with evidence, and developing prospects.  We can’t change what is going on: It’s out of our hands. But what we can do is stick to the science and keep prospecting.  In January, I wrote about uncertainty, and that is a fact of life.  What you do during periods of unpleasant uncertainty is the issue, and choosing a disciplined focus on your science will pay dividends to you, both now and in the future.  So during these uncertain, precarious times, BUILD THAT PROSPECT INVENTORY!

Oh, and one other thing – KEEP LEARNING!  The more you expose yourself to subjects outside your area of expertise, the better!  Subjects that may have been relevant for a “play du jour” in the past are still likely to have been based on solid science, and will add to your breadth of knowledge, and may even become the basis for a future “play du jour”.  Remember that three or four years ago, conventional prospects were not in vogue, but feedback I got from NAPE indicated that was changing, and that they were in short supply.  Time to dust off the old straight-hole prospect in your files and refine it based on what you have learned since you generated it.

Our speaker for the March 16th luncheon at The Cascades Country Club will be John Breyer of Marathon Oil.  The talk he will be presenting will be “From the Arch to the Uplift:  Depositional Changes in the Cenomanian-Turonian Interval (Eagle Ford and Woodbine Groups) across Central and East Texas”.  Now you may be thinking, “This is just another resource play (remember those?) talk” and “Why should I attend that?”  I telegraphed my answer earlier in this letter – it’s based on solid science and gives you a chance to KEEP LEARNING.

I hope to see you there, and please don’t forget to make your reservations.

Best Regards,

Dale Short

President, East Texas Geological Society