University of Aberdeen Takes you to the main page for this section
Media Release

Headline News : New Media Releases : Media Releases Archive

President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
to visit Aberdeen University

Ms Robbie Gries, President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, is to visit the University of Aberdeen tomorrow and Thursday (February 6 and 7), as part of a European tour, which covers Ireland, the UK, Norway, France and Italy.

She will visit the University’s Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology and will participate in a programme of activities over the two days.  Her itinerary will include opportunities to hear about the latest research being undertaken at the University, which has extensive funding from the oil and gas majors.  She will hear from students and will meet with business contacts from the oil industry in a discussion forum Enhancing the UK Operating Environment - a Partnership between Industry and Academia.

During her visit to the University she will also address the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Briatin (PESGB) at the Jarvis Hotel, Market Street, Aberdeen on Wednesday, February 6, at 6.30pm.  She will give a lecture Thinking “Out of the Box” - the Role of the Geologist in Meeting Future Energy Demand (please see abstract in Notes to Editors).  This event is open to PESGB members and will be free of charge; non-members can attend but will be charged a small fee at the door.

Andrew Hurst, Professor of Production Geoscience, at Aberdeen said: “The visit by Robbie Gries will give the University an opportunity to showcase its many areas of excellence related to the oil industry.

“This will include the recently launched Scottish Offshore Material Centre (SOMC), which is a High Pressure, High Temperature facility.  The Centre encourages SMEs to multinationals to use the facility for their testin needs.

“The University also launched the MSc in Hydrocarbon Enterprise last year and this course aims to provide training in commercialisation, economics and law as well gaining an understanding of how science and technology can be applied at the cutting edge to improve hydrocarbon exploration success and recovery.

“It will be a great honour for the University to provide a warm welcome to Robbie Gries and I hope that we will provide her with a valuable insight into the work being undertaken at the University, which is an internationally distinguished, research-led institution.”


Notes to Editors

Anyone requiring further information about the visit by Ms Robbie Gries should contact Liz Bowie, Consultancy Manager, University of Aberdeen, Research & Innovation, on: (01224) 272484 or email:

Biography – Robbie Gries

Ms Robbie Gries is President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.  She is founder and President of Priority Oil & Gas LLC, a Denver-based natural gas production, petroleum exploration and development company operating in Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.  Priority has also been instrumental in the development of a one million acre “tight gas sand” project onshore in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where there is no economic production to date. Partners are currently drilling a pilot project to evaluate the area.

Ms Gries has been active in the petroleum industry for 28 years, working initially for Texaco, Inc., then Reserve Oil Inc.  She has been independent since 1980. She has combined the business side of oil and gas with her passion for the science of geology, publishing over 30 professional papers.  She has developed and published ideas about drilling beneath thrusted Precambrian rocks along the Rocky Mountain uplifts.  In the 1980s she pioneered the discovery of a concealed and unexplored Cretaceous basin beneath the San Juan volcanic field in southern Colorado.  Ms Gries is a Director for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an Honor Alumnus of Colorado State University and has a Master’s Degree in Geology from The University of Texas at Austin where she currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Geology Foundation.

Thinking “Out of the Box” - the Role of the Geologist in Meeting Future Energy Demand


The demand for oil and gas in the next century will greatly increase in the next few decades and reserves are limited.  Converting vast amounts of “undiscovered” resources into proven reserves will require geologists “to think out of the box”.  This means looking at methods no one has tried before, looking for accumulations previously thought unlikely, and looking in places where others have overlooked or thought impossible.

This has never been easy, but it has been the key to giant new reserves being developed.  Overturning the “dogma” that is currently favored by explorationists with a new “heresy” has a history of difficulty. From the “anticlinal theory” in the 1880s to sequence stratigraphy in the 1980’s, geologists have had to persevere to get a new idea tested.  The latest plays that have convincingly converted former “undiscovered resources” into “proven reserves” are basin-centered gas, coal bed methane, and sub-salt exploration.  Some plays, like the early offshore Indonesian exploration, required not only creative geology, but unusual deal making.

Buying reserves or increasing reserves by merging with another company does not discover new oil and gas.  Taking the risk to develop a new idea, to finance an unusual idea, and to drill is what will provide the supply needed in the next century.

Issued by Public Relations Office, External Relations, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen.  Tel: 01224 272014  Fax: 01224 272086.

Ref: 947gries
Date: February 5, 2002

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-272960 or email