Unique Focus on the China’s Premier Shale Gas Basin, the Sichuan Basin

7th International Symposium on Unconventional Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Located in the Sichuan Basin, site of one of China’s premier shale plays, Chengdu University of Technology, in collaboration with Southwest Petroleum University, and State Key Laboratory  of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation, and sponsorship from Geological Society of China and the Chinese Petroleum Society, brought together geoscientists and engineers from around the world and the country for the 7th International Symposium on Unconventional Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation. 

From July 25-27, scientists and engineers gathered to present and discuss new laboratory and field information on the hydrocarbon-bearing fine-grained formations in the Sichuan Basin.In addition, the conference featured reviews of current knowledge in the areas of exploring for and developing shale plays, along with case studies and discussions of the application of techniques and technologies. Dr. Zhou Wen and Guo Jianchun were the general secretaries of the conference. Participation included national oil companies, Sinopec and PetroChina, as well as international companies, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BakerHughes, and numerous international universities and the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists).

The goal was to transfer the latest findings in order to continue to develop the significant reserves that exist in China. Of special focus were the unique attributes of China’s shales and current approaches to drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and reservoir characterization. Important new work is being conducted in Chengdu by the The State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation (SKLOGRGE), jointly run by Chengdu University of Technology (CDUT) and Southwest Petroleum University (SWPU). The State Key Lab, which was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology in1990 is now conducting extensive characterization studies on Sichuan Basin shales.

On July 26, the conference featured multi-disciplinary presentations of general interest to all participants. Key presentations included: The Black Shale Characteristics in the Upper Ordovician Wufeng --Lower Silurian Longmaxi Formation in Sichuan Basin and its Peripheral Areas, China, as well as case studies from U.S. shale plays.

On July 27, the conference featured two tracks: one in geosciences and the other in engineering. Presentations focused on challenges unique to Sichuan shales, as well as issues to be tackled in optimizing drilling and completions of shales.

On July 28-29, the conference organized a field trip for participants to visit an outcrop of the lower Silurian Longmaxi shale cross section, the key shale gas target in Sichuan basin.

The importance of shale gas to China is evident in the investment being made, and also in China’s commitment to clean sources of energy. The challenges are significant, as are the challenges in the rest of the world. Clearly international cooperation and collaboration is the key to future success in all parts of the world.

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