III Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists

On February 24, 2005, in the Assembly Hall of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, more than 60 delegates gathered at the III Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists, dedicated to the deepening of cooperation with international organizations and increasing the role of departments of the UAG. The reporting and election Congress of the UAG was also held.

The сhairman of the Board Pavlo Zagorodnyuk reported on the work of the association. He shared with the audience his vision of the current situation in the geological industry, the role that the association should play in the state policy formation on the study and use of mineral resources and outlined plans for the future.

Prerequisites for the public organization establishment that would unite geologists have emerged with the beginning of the formation of market relations in the economy of our state and the emergence of enterprises with different forms of ownership. The monopoly of the Ministry of Geology, which took over all public and non-public organizations, including the Committee of Soviet Geologists, has gone into the past. The latter did not even have formal signs of the public organization. Under the new conditions, the need to create such an association of geologists, which would contribute to the preservation of geological traditions, experience, scientific schools, affecting the processes taking place in the state and to protect their interests is clear. The forerunner of this association can be considered created in 1916 as the Kharkiv Geological Community. However, it did not last long, because the activities of such public organizations in Soviet times were impossible.

In early 2000, on the initiative of a group of geologists, after studying international experience, the Ukrainian Association of Geologists, which became the successor of the Kharkiv Geological Community, was established. The association was designed to support geological science and education, to raise the prestige of the profession of geologist and to promote the development of mineral resources of our country, the rational use of mineral resources and the preservation of geological heritage.

Now, the organization has 23 territorial cells located in regional centres, Kyiv and the Republic of Crimea. As collective members of the association, 13 geological companies, associations and enterprises were included in particular, the State Geological Service of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Mineralogical Society, the Ukrainian Paleontological Society, the State Commission of Ukraine on Mineral Reserves, State Regional Geological Exploration Enterprise Donetskgeologiya, the Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Academy of Mining Sciences of Ukraine, etc. The number of individual members of the association has increased to 2000. A student section of the organization has been created.

The higher authority of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists is the Conference which elects the Board and its chairman. The association also has an Expert Council and a Council of Veterans. Immediately after the founding, Petro Shpak, who put a lot of effort to create the organization and supported it at the stage of its formation was elected as the Honorary President of the Association. After his untimely death, this position will forever remain vacant.

The Association has a registered logo, as well as membership badges and certificates, which are received by each individual member of the organization.

As a public organization, the Ukrainian Association of Geologists is unprofitable. According to the Statute, its financing is mainly due to entrance and membership fees, charitable contributions of citizens, enterprises, institutions and organizations and income from economic, commercial and other activities of enterprises and organizations established by the association. Therefore, to provide certain types of services in particular, the distribution of the journal Ukrainian Geologist, advertising, expertise, its subsidiary, the Expert Council of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists, was created.

However, for the period of existence of the association, the main burden of financial support of its activity – the maintenance of office, purchase of furniture, office equipment, lease payments, wages of office staff, payment of telephone and postal expenses and holding of congresses and conferences – was carried out by CJSC Concern Nadra. The journal Ukrainian Geologist also would not have been without the financial and information support of the CJSC Concern Nadra.

However, the Board is sincerely grateful to the leaders and teams of the following enterprises for their financial support to the association and other organizations: the Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth, SE Ukrgazvydobuvannya, SE Naukanaftogaz, JSC Ukrnaftogazheofyzika and State Regional Geological Enterprise Donetskgeologiya.

The spokesman noted that Concern Nadra did not have any commercial benefit from the Ukrainian Association of Geologists. His main income was by working contractually at the enterprises of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, carrying out for them volume seismic and industrial and geophysical explorations. Part of the profit was allocated to support the association, as the majority of geologists-shareholders of the company were not indifferent to the fate of domestic geology.

After the I Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists, there were well-wishers who initiated a large-scale audit of the Group Nadra to determine how the Conference was financed. No violations were found. Budget funds were not used, and all payments were made at the expense of the Group’s net profit.

The I Conference of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists has played an important role in the life of the state, because the delegates of that forum reviewed the Concept of reforming the geological industry to the conditions of the market economy. The concept was developed based on the experience of geological services in developed countries of Western Europe and North America.

In the Soviet Union, there was a system according to which the enterprise that extracted minerals paid to the budget for geological prospecting and exploration, and already from the budget these funds were returned to the enterprises that performed geological exploration. New explored deposits were transferred to miners from balance to balance. However, under the new conditions, the developed system began to show significant failures. The funds that the mining companies sent to the budget and to the geological prospecting and exploration enterprises stopped coming, because the state used them for other more urgent needs. The system began to work inefficiently. The free transfer of the fully explored deposit to other business entities was contrary to the laws of the market economy.

Developed countries have a different system. Their geological services conduct regional studies and build the principles of state policy in the field of natural resources management. Mining companies at its expense, perform search operations, scout the field and take care of all risks.

And the I Conference, after a lively discussion, generally approved the concept of reorganization of the industry Geology and Exploration Survey developed on the basis of foreign experience. The decision of the Conference was given to the authorities, but no specific steps were taken to implement the concept. On the contrary, geological exploration enterprises that were under privatization were removed from the list and merged into NJSC Nadra of Ukraine. That is, in fact, a second oil and gas extraction company was created, which, having no place in the market, worked in parallel with NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine.

Such actions led to the fact that the Ukrainian Association of Geologists was in opposition to the current government. During the II Conference, which was held in 2003, the government ignored the proposals and recommendations of the geological community. But only now, when not only the government but also the country as a whole has changed, appropriate mechanisms aimed at close cooperation with the government are being developed. Therefore, it is hoped that the voice of the geological community will be heard.

During the reporting period, the Ukrainian Association of Geologists held and participated in the organization of about 50 scientific conferences. Only one dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the discovery marked the emergence of the oil and gas industry. Few people know that in Lviv in 1853, Jan Zeg, for the first time in the world, carried out the distillation of oil, receiving kerosene, and that it was here that the first kerosene lamp (Betty lamp) was created. Since then, mass production of kerosene from oil has been started, but after a personal tragedy, Jan Zeg retired, and his colleague Ignatiy Lukashevych more successfully engaged in the production of kerosene. Having launched a dynamic activity, he transferred the main part of it to the territory of Krosno (Poland); later, the streets of Vienna were lit with kerosene lamps. However, Ukraine is the centre of the world’s oil and gas industry. In Poland, 2003 was declared as the year of Lukashevych, because the Poles interpret the events associated with the discovery of the kerosene lamp as exclusively their achievement. The Ukrainian Association of Geologists restored historical justice by holding a scientific conference in Lviv – History, Current State and Prospects of Development of the Oil and Gas Industry of Ukraine in the Context of International Integration – and installing a bronze plaque made at its own expense. Unfortunately, all proposals and requests for help to organizations, in particular to NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, remained unanswered. The idea of creating a museum of the oil and gas industry of Ukraine in Lviv was not supported either.

The сhairman of the Association noted that at the very beginning of its existence, there was a question of active cooperation with the world geological community. The relevant work was carried out, as a result of which the activities of the organization are now not limited to Ukraine. The Association is an associate member of the EAGE and the AAPG – the most influential geological public organization that publishes a scientific journal and newsletters, holds international conferences and is engaged in the education of young people. In 2001, the Association hosted the Head of the Association Robert Gris in Kyiv. Her visit to Ukraine, during which the presentation of her organization was held, was the first in the CIS countries. And last year, Gris came to the Ukrainian Association of Geologists on a private visit.

Cooperation with this Association will be developing over the next five years, that is, the Association will participate in all major AAPG conferences, exchange of students, specialists, and printed publications will begin.

The EAGE is an influential European organization in which the Association is also involved. Integration into the world geological community will continue to be one of the main priorities of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists.

The spokesman paid much attention to the journal Ukrainian Geologist. There are already eight issues of this publication. The journal is interesting and has found its place among such publications. It publishes materials on the history of geology and geological research, scientific and popular science articles, thematic reviews, memories of veterans, critical and discussion materials and art and poetry penned by geologists. The journal systematically introduces readers to the people who glorified domestic geology. One of the issues was fully dedicated to the 170th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and the 60th anniversary of its geological faculty.

Soon, the structure of the journal will be slightly changed. Scientific publications will be counted as professional, and the number of journalistic discussion materials aimed at the formation of civil society in Ukraine will increase. It is planned to create a purely scientific publication, a collection of scientific papers, which will be published alongside the journal.

Great work within the Ukrainian Association of Geologists is carried out by the Council of Veterans, which was founded and headed by Petro Shpak. Mykola , his successor, adequately continues and develops the started work. Today, the Council of Veterans represents a few cells that unite a large cohort of members of the Association.

The Ukrainian Association of Geologists designs and manufactures awards – silver and gold awards. For devotion to geology and for significant contribution to its development, 94 geologists were awarded silver awards and 101 awarded gold. A geological hammer engraved with the awardees’ name to honour them were given by the Association to prominent geologists who work in the field. Only once was a non-geologist awarded by the Association. It happened in 2001, when the geological hammer engraved with the recipient’s name and a gold lapel badge were awarded to the then Prime Minister of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko.

Geology is an art that is passed on from generation to generation, and which cannot be taught only by the textbook. And though the considerable present problem is ‘aging’ of staff, among modern ‘geological’ youth, there are many such who can become worthy successors of traditions of the Ukrainian geologists. To do this, they should not work in stalls but in geological production and science. That is why the Association pays special attention to the working with young people.

Several inter-university Scientific and Practical Conferences were held and an interdepartmental educational and methodological coordination centre was established to train young specialists. In order to master the advanced technologies corresponding to the world level, the centre organizes postgraduate training of graduates of higher educational institutions, promotes their further professional growth, is engaged in search of orders and employment of young specialists-geologists and provides qualified personnel temporary teams created specifically for the implementation of individual projects and tasks won on the terms of the tender both in Ukraine and abroad.

The centre forms a database of graduates of higher education, young professionals who need to improve their skills and employment or are looking for a job in accordance with their professional experience and knowledge.

Together with the Methodical Commission Geology of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the centre will coordinate the list of specialties and specializations of training of specialists-geologists in accordance with the applications and proposals of enterprises of geological-prospecting institutes and extractive organizations of Ukraine.

Though much has been done, it was possible to do way more. That is why much attention should be paid to the plans for the next five years.

The main thing in the future is to influence the government structures as much as possible, to communicate to them the voice of the geological community to help the industry out of a deep crisis. It is necessary to form civilized relations, widely introducing international experience in particular, in licensing. Due to errors, and sometimes abuse by the authorities, investors leave, and the state suffers.

Under the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, a decree on the implementation of public control over the issuance of licenses was issued, and although it was not real, of course, even previous governments realized its necessity. Therefore, the Association plans to participate in the examination and public control over the granting of licenses for natural resources management and the implementation of licensing conditions by business entities. Such public expertise will be carried out by the Expert Council which involves well-known experts-members of the Association.

In the future, to maintain the existing sources of funding, it is necessary to develop a system of membership fees. The organization should demand the enterprises of the industry to provide the corresponding services on a mutually beneficial basis on separate grants. It is hoped that a significant share in the future funding of the Association will be received from advertising messages published in the journal Ukrainian Geologist.

The plans include the publication of the handbook ‘Who is Who in Geology’, which will include materials on the history of Ukrainian geology and stories about prominent geologists of the past and present. The directory will also advertise geological enterprises, a list of their work and services, characterized by their professional potential, technical equipment and so on. The Association has already received materials for reference from SE Chernigivnaftogazgeologiya, State Commission of Ukraine, Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth of Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, SE Kirovgeologia, Kharkiv UkrNDIGas, Poltava Regional Geological Enterprise, and LLC Gals-Ltd. The spokesman encouraged the attendees to take an active part in the formation of the book of reference, especially in the cells of the Association, so that it saw the light of day this year.

The Association will pay serious attention to the preservation of geological monuments of Ukraine. For further cataloguing, along with promoting State Committee on Natural Resources of Ukraine in October 2004, the scientific-methodical seminar ‘Geological Monuments of Ukraine’ was also held.

During the privatization of land, many geological monuments were located in the territories of private enterprises, which makes it almost impossible to access them. Thus, in particular, the opportunity to study geological objects and educate students on the unique exposures that are at the Trakhtemyriv Peninsula has already been lost. This is a serious problem that should concern everyone.

The Ukrainian Association of Geologists is actively preparing for the 40th anniversary of Geologist’s Day in Ukraine. It has planned to organize a meeting with the government so that the new leadership could hear the voice of the Ukrainian geological community. The celebration will involve a wide range of public performances which will be held in the premises of the Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theatre of Kyiv and in the field.

Banknote printing and minting works of the National Bank of Ukraine manufactures the second batch of awards of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists, as well as a new set of medals ‘For Contribution to Mineralogy’. By the anniversary of member of the academy Yeuhen Lazarenko 10 medals were made. The medal is awarded by the Ukrainian Association of Geologists on the proposal of the Ukrainian Mineralogical Society, a collective member of the Association. The creation of a medal ‘For Merit in Geology’ is in plans, but it hasn’t been developed yet for lack of means.

At the end of his speech, the сhairman of the Association proposed to elect a small but efficient Board. After all, the main task of the Association for the next year is to transfer the centre of gravity from the central office to the field, strengthen the cells, create efficient teams in the regions that would generate ideas and come out with initiatives. No Board can replace those who work in the regions. Therefore, the newly elected Board will need to visit all the cells, provide them with office equipment and electronic communication.

The journal ‘Ukrainian Geologist’ will create a special section that will cover the life of the cells.

Reports of such specialists such as Esipchuk, Mykola Gavrylenko (Deputy Chief Executive, LLC Gals-Ltd), Leonid Galetsky (Acting Head, Department of Geology of Mineral Resources, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), Yeuhen Yakovlev (Head of the Department, chief researcher of the Institute of National Security Problems at the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine) and Mykola Zhykalyak (CEO, State Regional Geological Enterprise Donetskgeologiya) were included.

In his speech, Mykola Gavrylenko noted that the reorganization of geology would be advisable to carry out only after the reorganization of the extractive industry of the country. He called for the work activation of the regional cells of the Association and providing them with broader powers, while offering to address the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine with letters-proposals for the reorganization of the geological industry.

An interesting trend in the life of the geological community of Ukraine was that alongside the decline of the State Geological Service, there was the formation and rapid development of the public association of specialists-geologists. In terms of the United States, he showed how the attention of developed democratic countries is drawn to mineral resources. In particular, under the President of the United States for more than 20 years, a council of mineral raw materials has been working.

The spokesman appreciated the strengthening of the role of regional organizations and its influence on local authorities and supported the idea to invite authorities to take into account the opinion of the public when appointing industry leaders.

Mykola Zhykalyak noted that he became a collective member of the Association even when that Association was in its formative stages, and because the decision was unpopular. The Ukrainian Association of Geologists or rather the Guild of Geologists protects professional interests and fights for the preservation of the geologist status. The new task of the Association is to popularize its activities and create a brand. According to the spokesman, the Association is obliged to reflect the full range of geological studies without bias towards oil and gas geologists. It should participate in the creation of the legislative field of the industry and objectively, reasonably and systematically convey the views of the geological community to the authorities.

Delegates of the Conference elected the following new Board by open vote: L.F. Gafych, G.M. Ladyzhensky, M.M. Gavrylenko, P.M. Kalashnyk, V.V. Ogar, G.A. Liventseva, V.V. Shunko and O.V. Foya for the post of Secretary. P.O. Zagorodnuyk was re-elected as the сhairman of the Board of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists.