Divisions to work together

DEG Initiates Renewables Group

I recently attended a meeting in Houston with some of the other elected officers from the DEG, EMD and DPA, along with AAPG Executive Director Rick Fritz and Divisions manager Norma Newby.

The main topic was how the three AAPG Divisions can work together to develop more joint activities, such as sessions, workshops and short courses. One of the action items that came out of the meeting was the need for the AAPG to form a Renewable Energy Committee.

It was agreed that the DEG would initiate the formation of this committee, and it was voted into existence July 22.


Some may wonder why AAPG should be interested in renewable energy.

Charles G. “Chip” Groat, a past DEG president and one of the founding members of the AAPG Global Climate Change Solutions Committee, observed in one of his EXPLORER columns that AAPG members are willing to commit considerable energy and personal time through the AAPG to the consideration of topics that some do and some don’t feel are mainstream to the profession of petroleum geology.

I have found, like Chip did, that many of the companies, agencies and universities that AAPG members work for are engaged in research and projects – such as renewable energy – that may seem to be outside of the domain of mainstream petroleum geology but do fall in the domain of the DEG, EMD or DPA.

As Chip noted, if we don’t engage ourselves in these activities and issues as well we will limit both the AAPG as an organization and also the impact of our profession as geoscientists.

So, as I pondered on the task of forming this committee I asked myself just how much interest might there be among AAPG members, and others, in the topic of renewable energy. I decided one way to find out was to do a little research on my own via the Internet to see what level of interest in renewable energy might be among the energy companies that employ many of AAPG members. I purposefully excluded government agencies and universities from my research.

I was very surprised to find out the majority of the major oil companies, both domestic and international, had very aggressive renewable energy programs, and also that many of the larger independent companies had active renewable energy programs. ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, TOTAL, Petrobras, StatoilHydro, Devon, Apache and Anadarko all have very active renewable energy programs.

Most of the programs are centered on the development of bio-fuels; however, there are many companies involved in wind energy, fuel cell research and solar projects. Chevron remains very active in geothermal energy.

I also noted that those companies that had viable renewable energy projects also were actively discussing climate change and the potential effects that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may have on the environment. Most discussed the need to balance an ever-increasing demand for energy with the need to lessen the carbon footprint the industry leaves on the environment. How to achieve this balance may be the greatest challenge facing the energy industry today.

Discussing these challenges as well as renewable energy research and progress will be the main purpose of the DEG/EMD/DPA Renewable Energy Committee.


One subject area the DEG remains very active in – and one that will help to mitigate the effects of CO2emissions – is carbon capture and sequestration.

The DEG will soon be publishing the first of two special issues of Environmental Geosciences dedicated to the subject of geological carbon sequestration. The first is a great example of geological work being performed on three different geological targets within the Michigan Basin.

CO2 sequestration, renewable energy, GHG emissions and other climate change-related issues are very important to us all and are part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. This act, if it becomes law, will impose the first federal restrictions on CO2 emissions, establish a market structure for trading CO2 and promote investment in, and transition to, cleaner-energy technologies.

Comments (0)

 

Division Column-DEG Mary K. Harris

Mary K. Harris, President, Division of Environmental Geosciences

Division Column-DEG Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith is a DEG member and is with the Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver.

Division Column-DEG Doug Wyatt

Doug Wyatt, of Aiken, S.C., is director of science research for the URS Corporation Research and Engineering Services contract to the USDOE National Energy Technology Laboratory. He also is a member of the DEG Advisory Board for the AAPG Eastern Section.

Division Column-DEG Tom J. Temples

Tom J. Temples is DEG President.

Division Column-DEG Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs, geologist/hydrogeologist at Pioneer Natural Resources USA, Inc., is DEG President for 2009-10.

Division Column DEG

The Division of Environmental Geosciences (DEG), a division of AAPG, is concerned with increasing awareness of the environment and the petroleum industry and providing AAPG with a scientific voice in the public arena. Among its objectives are educating members about important environmental issues, supporting and encouraging research on the effects of exploration and production on the environment, and communicating scientific information to concerned governmental agencies.

View column archives

See Also: Bulletin Article

Emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil-fueled power generation stations contributes to global climate change. Capture of CO2 from such stationary sources and storage within the pores of geologic strata (geologic carbon storage) is one approach to mitigating anthropogenic climate change. The large storage volume needed for this approach to be effective requires injection into pore space saturated with saline water in reservoir strata overlain by cap rocks. One of the main concerns regarding storage in such rocks is leakage via faults. Such leakage requires, first, that the CO2 plume encounter a fault and, second, that the properties of the fault allow CO2 to flow upward. Considering only the first step of encounter, fault population statistics suggest an approach to calculate the probability of a plume encountering a fault, particularly in the early site-selection stage when site-specific characterization data may be lacking. The resulting fault encounter probability approach is applied to a case study in the southern part of the San Joaquin Basin, California. The CO2 plume from a previously planned injection was calculated to have a 4.1% chance of encountering a fully seal offsetting fault and a 9% chance of encountering a fault with a throw half the seal thickness. Subsequently available information indicated the presence of a half-seal offsetting fault at a location 2.8 km (1.7 mi) northeast of the injection site. The encounter probability for a plume large enough to encounter a fault with this throw at this distance from the injection site is 25%, providing a single before and after test of the encounter probability estimation method.
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/measuring-and-modeling-fault-density.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 3714 Bulletin Article

See Also: DL Abstract

The results of regional deep seismic acquisition in the South Atlantic continental margins have shed new lights on the birth and development of sedimentary basins formed during the Gondwana breakup. Recent models of mantle exhumation as observed in the deep water Iberian margin have been applied extensively to the interpretation of several basins in the Eastern Brazilian and West African conjugate margins. However, the tectonic development of these basins is markedly different from the magma-poor margins, and in this lecture we emphasize the contrasts from the tectono-sedimentary features imaged in deep-penetrating seismic profiles that extend from the platform towards the oceanic crust, which indicate that the Red Sea constitutes a better analogue for the birth of divergent continental margins.

Desktop /Portals/0/images/_site/AAPG-newlogo-vertical-morepadding.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 3088 DL Abstract

See Also: Learn! Blog

Mexico has six basins that produce oil and gas, and tremendous offshore, deep Gulf of Mexico resources. There is also shale potential in formations that extend south from the South Texas Eagle Ford. Still, according to statistics released by Pemex, Mexico’s oil and gas production has declined 25% since the 1980s. The problem has stemmed partially from a lack of investment, and difficulties in implementing new technologies to explore for and develop resources.

Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/blog-learn-mexico-energy-reform-golden-lane.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 11333 Learn! Blog

Designed for geologists, geophysicits, petrophysicists and petroleum engineers this course will present the concepts of sedimentary geochemistry and biogeochemistry, along with the framework to interpret elemental and mineralogical records in such organic rich mudstone sequences

Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/ec-fec-sedimentary-geochemistry-and-biogeochemistry.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 12366 Learn! Blog

See Also: Online e Symposium

This presentation discusses one operator’s approach to fully integrate data captured in the Marcellus Shale in order to optimize horizontal well performance.

Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-marcellus-shale-integrating-information-to-optimize.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 1476 Online e-Symposium