I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old my father would take me to the barber shop on Saturdays and I would sit around listening to all the grown-ups talk. My vocabulary was limited, so I didn’t understand much of what they said. At times everyone would laugh when a joke had been made, but I could not grasp the punchline. It seems most of the grown-up conversation was simply over my head. Does this situation sound familiar? If you’re new to the oil and gas industry and you’ve had an opportunity sit in on a conversation between two geoscientists, it probably does.

Upon joining the E&P staff in June, I had a solid background in professional writing. I had also spent a year as intern for a major oilfield services company. I was familiar with most of the terminology. I can generally understand energy economics, drilling techniques, fracturing and other oilfield operations, but when it comes to surveying gravity and magnetic fields, interpreting 3-D seismic data, discussing satellite imagery or understanding the major principles of core analysis, I must admit that I am usually at a loss.

There is hope for people like me who are new to the business and need quick immersion into the world of geoscience. On Sept. 7 the first annual Geoscience Day was held at the University of Texas’ Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) facility in north Houston. The event was organized by the Houston Geological Society (HGS) and the Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH). According to Haynie Stringer, second vice president of GSH, the event was designed for individuals with one to three years in the oil and gas industry to show them different facets of the exploration side of the business and to provide the information in a “hands-on” format.

More than 100 attendees were present for the Geoscience day with an even mix of employees from oil companies, service companies and engineering firms. Attendees were separated into four groups, and the day was organized as a series of revolving breakout presentations, each lasting about half an hour, which offered the information in an easy-to-digest format. In addition to presenting information, part of the day was spent “in the field” reviewing seismic equipment and observing actual rock cores from different regions of the United States. The event also included a tour of BEG’s Geoscience Museum, where the evolution of equipment design displayed and discussed at length. Although you can’t become a geoscientist in a day, the event certainly gives a person more ground to stand on. But I still don’t get the jokes.

Both organizations have realized the need for such an introduction and have already announced a September date for the next Geoscience Day in 2008.