Conferences and Seminars
AAPG GTW “Unconventional Gas Resources” Meeting
Istanbul, Turkey • 22-24 June 2009
The AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop (GTW) titled: “Unconventional Gas Resources“ was held at the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel, Istanbul on June 22-24,2009 under the operation of AAPG Europe and Middle East & India Regions and with 75 attendees from 18 countries present in Istanbul.
The purpose of AAPG GTW is generally to deliver up-to-date technical content to AAPG members and the industry. GTW’s address is: “How are we doing it now?“ through an examination of the latest practices illustrated with field case studies and exmples. The overriding focus was on the sharing of information among individuals knowledgeable in a topic in a highly interactive environment.
The Program was planned and conducted by a Program Committee: Brian Gratto, Co-Chairman (Saudi Aramco), Tom Bultman, Co-Chairman (ExxonMobil), Abu Sani (Schlumberger), Ahmed Eidan (KOC), Erdem Idiz (Shell), Hasan Sarikaya (TPAO), Mark Lappin (ExxonMobil), Mohamed Al Harthy (Shell), Randy Miller ( CorelLab) and with great support and generous sponsorship of HESS, Saudi Aramco, TP, ExxonMobil, Schlumberger and TPJD.
GTW combined presentations from speakers - both industry and academia from various fields and geological origins with ample opportunity for discussion through question-and-answer and breakout sessions. The atmosphere was very relaxed and informal.
The AAPG GTW on unconventional gas resources presented a program of three themes (gas shale, tight gas sands, and coalbed methane) that were treated during five sessions with three devoted to 45 minute presentations, one devoted to five breakout discussions on technical needs for gas exploration and production and the last session devoted to reporting the results of the five breakouts to the entire conclave.
This presentation-breakout format is new to AAPG-style meetings and was very effective in allowing for greater participation. Virtually everyone in any breakout was able to participate which is generally not possible when workshop-style conferences are devoted exclusively to technical presentations. With the GTW-style meetings it is critical that the presentations be limited in number and carefully selected because they are the stimulation for the breakout sessions. The three themes were effective in promoting a discussion that crossed over between the various breakout sessions.
The following summarises some of key issues that arose through the presentations:
- Predictive Ability: it is currently very difficult to make satisfactory predictions about the suitability of unconventional reservoirs to store and produce hydrocarbons. Much is achieved generally by trial and error. There is a lack of understanding with respect to the geological and engineering controls.
- Formation Evaluation: we are currently using conventional tools and methods to evaulate unconventional plays. There is a need to develop new tools and methods suitable for dealing with microporosity in hyrdocarbon-wet reservoirs displaying non-Darcy flow characteristics.
- Logistics: considering the quantity of equipment required to carry out fracture stimulations in some of the shale gas plays and the large amount of equipment available because of the size of the indigenous conventional operations in North America, how is industry going to pursue the development of these plays in Europe or the Middle East without access to this amount of equipment?
- Resource Assessment: there are no SEC guidelines on assessing and reporting unconventional resources, each company seems to take a different approach. The lack of guidelines might be leading to conservative assessments of recoverable resources. A better predictive capability of ultimate resource is necessary.
- The Hazard of Analogues: using analogues does not always work. It was considered that it was necessary to develop gas from siliceous shale because they are brittle and are more amenable to fracture simulation. We know understand that carbonate-rich shales have similar mechanical properties and are also suitable. Before we jump on the analogue bandwagon we need to understand the basic controls of storage and production of hydrocarbons from unconventional resources.
- Sequential vs Parallel Operations: there is a dilemma between saving money and conducting batch/parallel operations and learning as we go through conducting sequential operations.
AAPG ER President Elect, Czech Geological Survey