Recently we embarked upon the crusade known as “planning our 2009 editorial calendar.” Lest you think this is a trivial undertaking, let me assure you that there are way more topics to cover in a 12-month period than we have pages or editors to tackle.

However, we do go by a few guidelines, one of the chief being the timing of major trade shows throughout the year. For instance, our April and May issues, both of which go to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), cover a lot of offshore-related topics. Somehow running a pumpjack in the jungle just doesn’t look right on the May cover.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered that, other than OTC and the drilling conference in early spring, all of the major trade shows we’re targeting for editorial coverage in 2009 are happening in the months of June and October. June is replete with shows – the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), and the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (SPWLA) all occur that month, and EAGE and AAPG actually are happening the same week.

October is host to two more important trade shows, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

If you’re an exhibitor, you don’t need to be told how difficult this situation is. Anyone in the exploration arena is going to have a hard time being in two places – Amsterdam and Denver – at the same time for EAGE and AAPG, and there is also a bit of exhibitor overlap between AAPG and SPWLA. There is less overlap between SEG and SPE, but many of the major service companies exhibit at both shows.

For us the challenge is to try to provide useful editorial coverage for all of the shows. The June shows all fall under my purview as exploration editor, but I rather doubt I can get a solid exploration technology feature, a frontier exploration feature, and a logging and formation evaluation feature in the same issue. As far as actually covering the conferences, I suspect I will be in Amsterdam, period. I will also be arm-wrestling with the production editor in October to see who gets more pages.

So my question is this – I know that these conferences must be scheduled years in advance, and I appreciate that. However, many of these trade organizations have worked together in the past to coordinate events like OTC and the International Petroleum Technology Conference, not to mention joint workshops, joint distinguished lecture programs, etc. Is it asking too much to run a few dates past each other once a year? Many industry professionals genuinely want to go to these conferences, visit the exhibits, attend the technical sessions, and network with our peers. We just haven’t quite got the cloning thing down yet.