Blog & News

President’s Blog | December 2022

Wed 07 December 2022

Welcome to the Geoscience Energy Society of Great Britain (GESGB)


I would like to thank all our members that took part in our two formal votes during this year and participated in the debate. This year was certainly an important year for your Society, and perhaps one of the most important since our beginnings almost sixty years ago.  In Q1 around 30% of our membership took part in a formal membership vote and supported a change to our charitable objects evolving from a narrow focus on petroleum exploration to embrace subsurface energy & related technologies.


This was a significant vote since our charitable objects define what we can and cannot do as a society. Clearly quite some years ago we had moved away from the original narrow focus to encompass, appraisal, development across the entire E&P cycle with a whole host of associated disciplines. Continued evolution allows the society to encompass carbon capture and storage (CCS) and geothermal, in which an increasing number of members are working.


Following this, a working group of members was set up to consider a change in our Society’s name that better reflected our new charitable objectives. Their recommendation was to move forward with a further membership vote on the matter. This was not something that we took lightly as a name talks to our identity -past, present, and future. During the vote, I received messages from members with very strong views on both sides of the debate.


I am delighted to say that around 50% of our members decided to have their say and participated in the vote over the summer. I am also pleased to convey that over 77% of those voting members also decided that the name of your Society should change. The vote was carried out in accordance with the strict requirements of the Charity Commission with a significant hurdle of 75% voting members required to support a change. We have exceeded that threshold.


Of the two options presented to ‘yes-voting’ members, an overwhelming 66% chose the Geoscience Energy Society of Great Britain (GESGB) as the new name for our Society. This name draws upon our unique identity, remembering the early North Sea explorers who founded our Society in 1964. With the members making the decision, I am proud to say that we will become the GESGB. This next step prepares the Society for a long-term future where our technical skills remain relevant as subsurface professionals cross over between different energy types that will become increasingly more integrated.


Oil and gas will continue to play a big role in what we do for the foreseeable future and remain core to the Society. It will sit firmly at the heart of our heritage. Evolving into the GESGB recognises this and positions your Society for an exciting long-term future leading us to our centenary in 2064. You should expect to see the new name adopted and visible in the first quarter of next year.


At our AGM in November, we also presented the financial results and accounts for your Society for 2021. Following the cost control measures put in place in 2020, the future is looking brighter for your Society, but we must continue the path of financial prudence.  We showed a profit of £229,890 at end 2021, which was up from a small loss in 2020, reflecting a very successful PETEX. Our investment portfolio was valued at £512,662 underpinning the Society as a going concern. Importantly the PESGB Charity held its own for the first time since 2013.


It was great to see a return to in-person conferences this year and by year end we will have held seven in person. We are looking to move away from set-piece large conferences and move to smaller in collaboration with other membership societies. We saw that risk/reward share model in action with Asia Pacific in collaboration with SEAPEX in June and with the new Business Exploration Opportunities show (BEOS) in collaboration with AAPG in September. Our key conference in 2023 is the Energy Geoscience Conference (Powering the Energy Transition through Subsurface collaboration) 16-18th May next year. We are closely collaborating with the Geolsoc as part of our risk-reward conference model. We will not have a PETEX in 2023 but work has already start on its evolution for 2024.


I welcome Ian Sayers as your President-Elect in 2023. Sadly, Chris Howells has decided not to take up the position of President next year, and I recognize that it must have been a very tough decision given the time needed by the role. Chris played an important part this year in chairing the name change working group. Following a decision by Council, both James Churchill and I will continue in our President and Past President roles for another year.  It is a privilege for us to continue working on your behalf for another year for your society.


As always, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or feedback at


Written by Julian Bessa.