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.

View column archives

See Also: Book

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See Also: Bulletin Article

The Sierra Diablo Mountains of west Texas contain world-class exposures of Lower Permian (Leonardian) platform carbonates. As such, these outcrops offer key insights into the products of carbonate deposition in the transitional icehouse to greenhouse setting of the early to middle Permian that are available in few other places. They also afford an excellent basis for examining how styles of facies and sequence development vary between inner and outer platform settings.

We collected detailed data on the facies composition and architecture of lower Leonardian high-frequency cycles and sequences from outcrops that provide more than 2 mi (3 km) of continuous exposure. We used these data to define facies stacking patterns along depositional dip across the platform in both low- and high-accommodation settings and to document how these patterns vary systematically among and within sequences.

Like icehouse and waning icehouse successions elsewhere, Leonardian platform deposits are highly cyclic; cycles dominantly comprise aggradational upward-shallowing facies successions that vary according to accommodation setting. Cycles stack into longer duration high-frequency sequences (HFSs) that exhibit systematic variations in facies and cycle architectures. Unlike cycles, HFSs can comprise symmetrical upward-shallowing or upward-deepening facies stacks. High-frequency sequences are not readily definable from one-dimensional stratigraphic sections but require dip-parallel two-dimensional sections and, in most cases, HFS boundaries are best defined in middle platform settings where facies contrast and offset are greatest. These studies demonstrate that HFSs are the dominant architectural element in many platform systems. As such, the lessons learned from these remarkable outcrops provide a sound basis for understanding and modeling carbonate facies architecture in other carbonate-platform successions, especially those of the middle to upper Permian.

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This article describes a 250-m (820-ft)-thick upper Eocene deep-water clastic succession. This succession is divided into two reservoir zones: the lower sandstone zone (LSZ) and the upper sandstone zone, separated by a package of pelitic rocks with variable thickness on the order of tens of meters. The application of sequence-stratigraphic methodology allowed the subdivision of this stratigraphic section into third-order systems tracts.

The LSZ is characterized by blocky and fining-upward beds on well logs, and includes interbedded shale layers of as much as 10 m (33 ft) thick. This zone reaches a maximum thickness of 150 m (492 ft) and fills a trough at least 4 km (2 mi) wide, underlain by an erosional surface. The lower part of this zone consists of coarse- to medium-grained sandstones with good vertical pressure communication. We interpret this unit as vertically and laterally amalgamated channel-fill deposits of high-density turbidity flows accumulated during late forced regression. The sandstones in the upper part of this trough are dominantly medium to fine grained and display an overall fining-upward trend. We interpret them as laterally amalgamated channel-fill deposits of lower density turbidity flows, relative to the ones in the lower part of the LSZ, accumulated during lowstand to early transgression.

The pelitic rocks that separate the two sandstone zones display variable thickness, from 35 to more than 100 m (115–>328 ft), indistinct seismic facies, and no internal markers on well logs, and consist of muddy diamictites with contorted shale rip-up clasts. This section is interpreted as cohesive debris flows and/or mass-transported slumps accumulated during late transgression.

The upper sandstone zone displays a weakly defined blocky well-log signature, where the proportion of sand is higher than 80%, and a jagged well-log signature, where the sand proportion is lower than 60%. The high proportions of sand are associated with a channelized geometry that is well delineated on seismic amplitude maps. Several depositional elements are identified within this zone, including leveed channels, crevasse channels, and splays associated with turbidity flows. This package is interpreted as the product of increased terrigenous sediment supply during highstand normal regression.

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See Also: CD DVD

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See Also: DL Abstract

Offshore Angola has to date delivered recoverable reserves in excess of 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent. This has been encountered in two distinct play systems: the Upper Cretaceous Pinda carbonates sourced by Lower Creatceous lacustrine mudstones and Tertiary deepwater slope turbidite sands sourced by underlying Upper Cretaceous marine mudstones. An extension of the Girassol play into Block 18 to the south will be used to describe how high quality 3D seismic data coupled with a detailed analysis of rock properties led to an unprecedented 6 successes out of 6 wells in the block, including the giant Plutonio discovery. Industry is turning once more to the carbonate play potential - this time in deepwater. It would seem that the Angola offshore success story is set to continue for some time to come.

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