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What do brittleness and lanyards have in common?

May 11, 2018

 

I'm exhausted. GeoConvention 2018 is over, and I spent the bulk of today at the annual CSPG Core Conference. I know most conferences are old and fusty (see Velvet Chainsaw's website or Matt Hall's blog, both of which I am a fan), but they're still a way to share knowledge, catch up with old colleagues and meet new ones. We got a kick out of sponsoring the wi-fi at GeoConvention and making people type "enlightenme" into their devices to get connected, and we're super grateful to the people who stopped by the booth just to thank us for the connection and/or laugh with us over the shameless self-promotion.

 

As usual at any convention, or even just a technical luncheon, I was inspired to write about a number of topics. I initially thought each idea would be a separate post, but then I decided to put them all in one. Here they are, in brief.

 

1. BRITTLENESS. If you've followed my musings either here or on LinkedIn, you probably know how much I hate this word. Why? Because it's a HUGE red herring. It's an easy button. It's a fad. It's physically almost meaningless as it is applied today in the oil and gas industry. I was both discouraged and encouraged by what I heard at the conferences. First, I was discouraged by a highly esteemed U.S. geomechanics colleague who was not at all impressed by how much it came up at the technical talks. (I quote, to the best of my recollection, "I don't know why you're not at more of the talks. They're all about rock mechanics! Too bad that means they're all about brittleness.") In fact, I intentionally avoided talks because I knew brittleness was going to be a part of the presentation. However, I was also encouraged to hear from another U.S. colleague that the fad is fading in the U.S. Seems Canada is lagging a little behind, but there may be a light on the horizon. Finally.

 

2. LANYARDS. Why. Just why. I do not need, nor can I think of a creative use for, hundreds of conference badge lanyards. Can they be recycled? I don't think so. If you know differently, please please tell me what to do with them. My only idea currently is to turn them into a braided rug for the office. If conferences need sponsors, let it be for something other than lanyards. There just must be a better idea. Enlighten is a small organization, yet we netted at least 8 lanyards this week. All of which are headed for the garbage bin.

 

3. BOOTHS. Last year we had a bare bones, last-minute booth at GeoConvention. It was sort-of a "look, we're here" statement. This year we purposefully positioned ourselves near the technical posters and had a poster presentation kind of theme. No big-screen TVs. No flashy give-aways. Just a presentation of our technical work, with a different play focus each day. We sat at an old-school map table and worked on projects during lulls in traffic. From the feedback we've received, a lot of people liked it. We're glad for that, but really we just did it because that's who we are. We're big believers in authenticity, not publicity.

 

4. INNOVATION. I hate to say it, but I told you so. Even as the current downturn was starting, part of me thought, "Thank <deity of your choice>, now we can slow down from factory drilling and think hard about what's working and what isn't." It seems the industry is (perhaps reluctantly) realizing that we're drilling into rocks, not homogeneous materials. Sure, it would be awesome if we could simply engineer wells, but we can't. To quote the back of Dr. Tom Moslow's lab coat, "Rocks don't lie."

 

I guess those are my main musings over the week. If you've read this far, thanks. I truly appreciate it.

 

 

 

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