Our Goal: No Geologist Left Behind

In his first EXPLORER column in July, AAPG President John Lorenz noted that his focus this year will be on “advancing the science.”

It’s an important message and a key goal for all of AAPG – we know if we can provide the best science possible, then professionals and students will want to join AAPG and contribute.

As part of the focus on providing the best science, AAPG is reviewing all of our products and services against the needs of the membership.

For example, we are upgrading AAPG’s professional development program through its new Education Directorate. Susan Nash, AAPG’s education and professional development director, is working with the Education Committee, Research Committee and the Divisions to build a comprehensive program. The membership of the committees and Divisions provide key resources and guidance for staff to build AAPG’s education program. READ SUSAN NASH'S BLOG - LEARN!

The following is a list of educational offerings for this new fiscal year:

  • Fall Education Conference: This year’s theme is “The Business of Oil and Gas.” It will provide strong offerings of courses designed to help you succeed in quickly changing environments.
  • Spring Education Conference: The 2010 theme is Unconventional Resources. With four concurrent tracks and courses spread over five days, you have an opportunity to mix and match to meet your needs in shale gas, coalbed methane, resource plays and more.
  • New short courses: Educational offerings are designed for both new and experienced geoscientists.
  • New course content focuses on science and technology, with practical applications. New “Getting Started” courses include petroleum geoscience, salt tectonics and more. Courses range from one to five days with various cost levels to provide affordable alternatives.
  • Please check out our online courses as well as our traditional classroom settings –online courses are an affordable, convenient way for you to obtain education when and where you need it.
  • e-Symposium series: This is an affordable and convenient new delivery format, great for getting started or expanding your knowledge.
  • Each e-Symposium course includes a one-hour live interactive webinar combined with a full day of independent study materials, which can be accessed any time, any place. The webinar’s archived version also is available after the event, so if you miss the live event, you can access it later. You also can sign up for the archived event after the fact.
  • Forthcoming topics include 3-D seismic of shale plays, integrated geothermal operations, thermogenic gas, and carbon capture and sequestration, plus new courses on renewable energy such as wind farm operations.
  • (Remember, if you miss it, you may always sign up for the archived version.)
  • Geoscience Technology Workshops: AAPG’s new GTW program is designed to provide quick-to-market information on hot topics. The format is exciting and dynamic, with an emphasis on sharing real-life experience, case studies, “lessons learned” and new directions.
  • Several GTW’s are planned for the coming year, including those on reserves reporting, unconventional resources and carbon capture and sequestration.
  • Renewable energy: Stay tuned as we launch new courses, seminars and online certificate programs in renewable energy. Our goal is to provide you up-to-date and relevant education on wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and integrated renewable/non-renewable solutions.
  • Empower yourself with knowledge in this dynamic, quickly evolving area.
  • Hedberg Research Conference: This season’s first Hedberg Conference will be held on Aug. 16-19 in Vancouver, Canada, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration.” A second Hedberg is planned on deepwater fold belts on Oct. 4-9, in Tirrenia, Italy.
  • Hedbergs often are followed by GTWs on similar topics. More Hedbergs are in the planning stage, so watch the calendar for new offerings.

One of the keys to AAPG’s success in building this new professional development program is to find key research – especially cutting-edge research – that can be used to educate AAPG membership and other professionals. To that end, we need more volunteers who are willing to advance the science by sharing their knowledge.


If so, please contact Susan Nash – she’ll be glad to discuss possibilities and connect you with the right committees.

I know it is hard to find time to invest in professional education when times are good, because you’re busy – and when times are slower, it is difficult because of the economics.

AAPG’s courses are affordable and good quality.

Take another look. Now is the time to invest in yourself, to expand your skill sets and knowledge base for your future success.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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See Also: Book

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In this study, seismic models and a Starfak and Tiger Shoal fields data set in the Gulf of Mexico Basin are used to investigate uncertainties caused by the frequency dependence of seismic data and solutions for avoiding pitfalls in seismic-stratigraphic and facies interpretation. Seismic amplitude and instantaneous attributes, along with stratigraphic interpretation of these attributes, are controlled by seismic interference, or tuning, between thin geologic units. Seismic-tuning effects include thickness tuning and frequency tuning, which cause nonlinear variations of reflection amplitude and instantaneous seismic attributes with thickness and/or data frequency. Seismic modeling shows that, whereas thickness tuning determines seismic-interference patterns and, therefore, occurrence of seismic events and seismic facies in layered rock, frequency tuning may further influence the nature of the correlation of seismic data and geologic time and modify seismic facies. Frequency dependence offers a new dimension of seismic data, which has not been fully used in seismic interpretation of geology.

Field-data examples demonstrate that a stratigraphic formation is typically composed of lithofacies of varying thicknesses, and a broadband, stacked seismic data set is not necessarily optimal for stratigraphic and facies interpretation. Although it is difficult to predict correct frequency components for interpretation of not-yet-known geologic targets, local geologic models and well data can be used to optimize the frequency components of seismic data to a certain degree and intentionally modify seismic-interference patterns and seismic facies for better seismic interpretation of geologic surfaces, sediment-dispersal patterns, geomorphology, and sequence stratigraphy.

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The Marcellus Shale is considered to be the largest unconventional shale-gas resource in the United States. Two critical factors for unconventional shale reservoirs are the response of a unit to hydraulic fracture stimulation and gas content. The fracture attributes reflect the geomechanical properties of the rocks, which are partly related to rock mineralogy. The natural gas content of a shale reservoir rock is strongly linked to organic matter content, measured by total organic carbon (TOC). A mudstone lithofacies is a vertically and laterally continuous zone with similar mineral composition, rock geomechanical properties, and TOC content. Core, log, and seismic data were used to build a three-dimensional (3-D) mudrock lithofacies model from core to wells and, finally, to regional scale. An artificial neural network was used for lithofacies prediction. Eight petrophysical parameters derived from conventional logs were determined as critical inputs. Advanced logs, such as pulsed neutron spectroscopy, with log-determined mineral composition and TOC data were used to improve and confirm the quantitative relationship between conventional logs and lithofacies. Sequential indicator simulation performed well for 3-D modeling of Marcellus Shale lithofacies. The interplay of dilution by terrigenous detritus, organic matter productivity, and organic matter preservation and decomposition affected the distribution of Marcellus Shale lithofacies distribution, which may be attributed to water depth and the distance to shoreline. The trend of normalized average gas production rate from horizontal wells supported our approach to modeling Marcellus Shale lithofacies. The proposed 3-D modeling approach may be helpful for optimizing the design of horizontal well trajectories and hydraulic fracture stimulation strategies.

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See Also: Energy Policy Blog

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently published a series of reports assessing how rapid growth in U.S., and possibly global, oil and gas production from shales may impact various net-energy exporting or importing countries.

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This trip will focus on defining the Niobrara formation from the outcrop scale to the well bore, and discuss the key parameters that have made this play work, both from a geologic and a reservoir standpoint. Furthermore, we will describe how Noble Energy has helped to lead the industry in Northern Colorado to safely, responsibly and efficiently develop this huge resource. We will visit both Niobrara outcrops and Noble Energy production facilities to illustrate our current subsurface understanding and best practices.
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