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Petroleum Industry


The basic purpose of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, as cited in its constitution, "is to promote the science of geology, especially as it relates to petroleum and natural gas." This organization began early in 1915 when Charles H. Taylor, head of the geology department at the University of Oklahoma, and Everette L. DeGolyer organized a small group of geologists at Norman and Oklahoma City. On October 7, 1915, J. Elmer Thomas and other geologists formed a similar group in Tulsa. On January 7 and 8, 1916, the two organizations, comprising some forty individuals, held a joint conference in Norman at which thirteen professional papers were delivered. A union of the two groups was proposed and resulted in the formation of the Southwestern Association of Petroleum Geologists (SAPG).

The SAPG met in 1917 and promptly changed its name to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) to better represent the organization's national scope. When the AAPG convened in Oklahoma City on January 15–16, 1918, they had a total membership of 167 active and 17 associate members. The association's first technical bulletin resulted from the papers delivered at the 1917 meeting and this educational aspect became one of the organization's primary activities. In those early days important AAPG papers accompanied the organization's elected officials, as the group had no permanent home. The situation began to be rectified on April 21, 1924, when the organization incorporated, and the next year it hired a paid staff.

In 1926 the AAPG leased a permanent headquarters building in Tulsa and thereafter experienced a period of growth. With a home base, the association began aiding professional book publication, broadening the base of the bulletin, publishing books under its own banner, providing statistics on the petroleum industry, and establishing affiliations with geological societies across the nation. By 1953, with more than ten thousand members, the association erected a permanent headquarters building in Tulsa and subsequently expanded both in services and in membership.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century the AAPG was the world's largest professional geological society with more than thirty thousand members in 116 countries. It provided publications, conferences, and other educational benefits to members and, in keeping with its primary purpose, disseminated the latest geological data to the general public.

Bobby D. Weaver



Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 23 April 1939.

Harold T. Morley, A History of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists: First Fifty Years (Tulsa, Okla.: AAPG, 1966).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Bobby D. Weaver, “American Association of Petroleum Geologists,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=AM019.