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6 takeaways on the challenges of sustainability

On 12 October 2020, Wafik Beydoun, IOGP Director Americas, moderated a panel of sustainability experts at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) 90th Annual Conference & Exhibition. This year, it was a fully virtual event.

They discussed how geoscientists can become more engaged in today’s social and environmental sustainability challenges. Here are insights Wafik took away from the event:

  1. By working collectively on sustainability challenges, professional associations and societies would provide an aggregated approach for understanding and communicating effectively how (and how fast) the industry is making progress. SPE’s GAIA sustainability programme is a good example of this.
  2. Energy transition is a huge global challenge with no silver bullet. Various options/solutions must be experimented with, while keeping oil and gas with CCUS as part of the solution toolbox.
  3. There are multiple pathways to a sustainable future. As individuals and global citizens (all capable and accountable), we need to find our path and participate on sustainability initiatives. As an industry, we need to emphasize the positive role that we can play in coming up with those solutions.
  4. Geoscientists and geo-engineers are possibly the most capable of understanding the earth  –  with their expertise on how to extract resources from the subsurface efficiently and sustainably. They are the custodian of Gaia (the Greek goddess who personified the earth).
  5. More geoscience data from collaboration projects should be published in the public domain for the benefit of the society.
  6. Geoscientists have a great opportunity to find solutions to our sustainability challenges. The outlook is positive, and the future looks bright for junior as well as for senior geoscientists – with a variety of topics that includes energy, minerals, water, emissions, agriculture, urban infrastructure, nuclear threat, and cybersecurity.
Top: (left to right) Johana Dunlop, 2017-2020 SPE International Board Member, Director HSE & Sustainability; Neal Anderson, President & CEO, Wood Mackenzie; Daniel Palmer, Deployment Manager, OGCI Climate Investments. Bottom: (left to right) Emer Caslin, Senior Geoscientist, Schlumberger; David Lumley, Chair in Geophysics, The University of Texas at Dallas and SEG Board Member; Wafik Beydoun, IOGP Director Americas

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