Permian Basin (Prototype Super Basin) and other Superbasins: Discovery Thinking, Innovation, and Lessons

Charles Sternbach | AAPG President, 2017-2018

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Doors open 11:30am announcements begin at 11:45 am
Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Crystal Ballroom | 133 9 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 2M3

Please note: Ticket Sales are now closed

The Permian “SuperBasin” of Texas and New Mexico is comprised primarily of a thick sequence of Permian sediments deposited in the foreland of the Ouachita-Marathon Thrust Belt.  It is a composite feature made up of the better-known Delaware Basin, the Central Basin Platform and the Midland Basin.  Although a prolific hydrocarbon province with productive wells dating back to 1921, its recent emergence has only been since 2008.  Perhaps most remarkably and for a range of reasons, it has become virtually the only area of the United States that has not experienced a decline of either drilling or production in the midst of the industry’s current low price environment.  It is “super” in more than just a geological sense.

Charles will enlighten on what makes this “superbasin” tick.  He will include Discovery Thinking lessons from other superbasins and petroleum rich areas. The audience will be provided with geological and technological fodder that can be used in the rejuvenation of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, a sister “superbasin”.
Charles began his career with Shell Oil in a variety of assignments between 1984 and 1997.  He managed an Exploration Office in Houston for Tom Jordan 1997-2004. He is now the President of Star Creek Energy in Houston.  He begins his terms as President of the AAPG in July 2017.  He is perhaps best known for his organizational role in the establishment and continued success of the innovative “Discovery Thinking” sessions featured at each year’s AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition. 


Charles A. Sternbach has explored for and discovered Energy in the US and around the globe for 35 years. He was Staff Geologist for Shell Oil Company, Exploration Manager for Tom Jordan (Jordan Oil and Gas), President of First Place Energy (International frontier exploration) and is currently President of Star Creek Energy. Charles has a PhD (and MS) in Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BA in geology from Columbia University. He is also proudly a member of AAPG and CSPG.

Charles has focused his efforts on Exploration Creativity, studying how explorers and their teams have found giant fields. He created and leads the popular AAPG Discovery Thinking Forums which have been standing room only events at annual AAPG conventions in North America (ACE) and around the world (ICE). These impactful programs integrate geology, geophysics and engineering into case studies of business success. 

There have been 18 Discovery Thinking Forums since 2008 with about 10,000 attendees. About 115 speakers have permitted their video presentations to be posted on the AAPG Search and Discovery Website with 40,000 viewings around the globe. In addition, Charles created the AAPG Playmaker program in 2012. These 1 day forums on exploration creativity have been presented 10 times in the US, Canada, and Europe. More than 1,500 professionals have attended and presentations have received 10,000 web views around the world. More of these forums are planned.

Charles believes case histories of successful explorers and their discoveries is a short cut to wisdom. Every geologist around the globe raises the level of collective intelligence for all by sharing information and techniques. Critical insights fall into patterns that can be recognized and anticipated. The legacy of exploration literature forms a syllabus for future explorers. Technology enables preservation and communication of critical knowledge via the internet through programs like Search and Discovery, Datapages, and GIS spatial related databases. He is a co-editor with Dr. Robert Merrill on the fifth installment of the AAPG memoir series Giant Fields of the Decade 2000-2010 (Memoir 113, in press).

Charles resides in Houston, Texas. His wife Linda is also a distinguished geophysical advisor. Charles is a leader in the global geological community: president-elect AAPG, past president Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, past president Houston Geological Society, and past president of AAPG’s Division of Professional Affairs. He is an Honorary Member of AAPG, HGS, and DPA.