One Last Look Back at A Very Good Year

I am reflecting on this past year of the DEG with my feet propped up, iPad in my lap, a cold libation in hand – and I am smiling.

Our industry and Association are critical to the advancement of humankind and a bridge for international relationships while growing increasingly in environmental sync with our planet. We have good people doing good work for a good cause.

I am smiling because I know that the DEG has been a large part of this effort.

Consider these successes:

Our membership has grown by 15 percent.

Our AAPG members see the value of environmental considerations in oil and gas production – and especially in unconventionals. This growth has been both in the United States and internationally.

Our technical sessions during the ACE, ICE and Section meetings were very well attended – often standing room only – with important, useful and relevant topics.

And our luncheons and speakers have been outstanding.

Our DEG leadership team has completed the draft of a white paper on hydraulic fracturing that is eagerly awaited by many as a potential tool.

There is increasing readership and citations of Environmental Geosciences because of the quality of our technical content, and our field trips and short courses are well-attended.

We have a special topics technical symposium planned for 2015 on the environmental considerations of hydraulic stimulation.

Our DEG Executive and Advisory committees are committed, active and engaged in the organization, government and industry, and are comprised of highly qualified individuals who work effectively as a team. This is a gift to any organization.

And lastly …

Our members are actively engaging the public by providing knowledge and skills supporting environmental considerations for improved and efficient oil and gas production.


As a final thought I was considering our name, Division of Environmental Geosciences, and researching the meaning and history of the words by which we call ourselves.

I am not sure why – maybe it’s the libation, maybe I’m just being philosophical – but the words interested me.

“Division,” from Old Latin divisio meaning “to divide,” first used in English about A.D. 1375, with a variety of modern meanings ranging from “the process or act of dividing,” “being separated out,” to “a difference of opinion that causes a separation,” to “being a smaller part of a larger whole,” and even a meaning in logic statements.

“Of” may be the most complicated word: A simple preposition, in use before A.D. 900 and a variant of Old English, German, Latin and Greek. However, it has the powerful function to indicate the relation between words and phrases.

“Environmental” is an interesting word – in our case an adjective, older than I thought, from “environs” about A.D. 1600, first used as “environment” in 1827, and first used to include a specialized ecology sense in 1956.

In general, it means “all the external conditions and circumstances surrounding a person, place or thing.” It is a very broad term.

Lastly, “Geosciences” is a new term, from 1940-45, meaning collectively any science, such as geology, geophysics, geochemistry or geodesy, concerned with the earth; an earth science.

Generally, the older the word, the more meanings it has. The various definitions of the words in the name “Division of Environmental Geosciences” can be construed as negative, neutral or positive, depending on which definitions you choose.

For the DEG, we do not want to be thought of as negative, or even neutral, but as a positive force for good within the AAPG, our industry and globally.

As a “division,” not separated from but a part of, included in the whole.

As “environmental,” the aggregate of social, cultural and ecological factors that surround us all as related to global fossil fuel production and as “geosciences,” using the skills and knowledge we have as geologists, geophysicists and geochemists to make it all happen.

The small word “of” then becomes the binding relationship that we all have between our industry, the environment and ourselves.


It has been my honor, privilege and pleasure to be your DEG president for this past year!

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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

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.

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See Also: Book

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See Also: Bulletin Article

Sequence stratigraphy and coal cycles based on accommodation trends were investigated in the coal-bearing Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group in the Lloydminster heavy oil field, eastern Alberta. The study area is in a low accommodation setting on the cratonic margin of the Western Canada sedimentary basin. Geophysical log correlation of coal seams, shoreface facies, and the identification of incised valleys has produced a sequence-stratigraphic framework for petrographic data from 3 cored and 115 geophysical-logged wells. Maceral analysis, telovitrinite reflectance, and fluorescence measurements were taken from a total of 206 samples. Three terrestrial depositional environments were interpreted from the petrographic data: ombrotrophic mire coal, limnotelmatic mire coal, and carbonaceous shale horizons. Accommodation-based coal (wetting- and drying-upward) cycles represent trends in depositional environment shifts, and these cycles were used to investigate the development and preservation of the coal seams across the study area.

The low-accommodation strata are characterized by a high-frequency occurrence of significant surfaces, coal seam splitting, paleosol, and incised-valley development. Three sequence boundary unconformities are identified in only 20 m (66 ft) of strata. Coal cycle correlations illustrate that each coal seam in this study area was not produced by a single peat-accumulation episode but as an amalgamation of a series of depositional events. Complex relations between the Cummings and Lloydminster coal seams are caused by the lateral fragmentation of strata resulting from the removal of sediment by subaerial erosion or periods of nondeposition. Syndepositional faulting of the underlying basement rock changed local accommodation space and increased the complexity of the coal cycle development.

This study represents a low-accommodation example from a spectrum of stratigraphic studies that have been used to establish a terrestrial sequence-stratigraphic model. The frequency of changes in coal seam quality is an important control on methane distribution within coalbed methane reservoirs and resource calculations in coal mining. A depositional model based on the coal cycle correlations, as shown by this study, can provide coal quality prediction for coalbed methane exploration, reservoir completions, and coal mining.

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See Also: DL Abstract

Seismic amplitude anomalies have been used for over 40 years to identify and de-risk exploration opportunities with a great degree of success. Beginning in the late 90s, the global industry portfolio of solid amplitude-supported opportunities started to get depleted in many basins. The depletion of high-confidence opportunities resulted in drilling of intrinsically riskier amplitude anomalies leading to significant exploration failures and unexpected outcomes. This paper presents several examples of volume and scenario-based DHI assessment workflows from selected Circum-Atlantic basins, with discussion of underpinning rock properties systems and lessons learned from drilling results.

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IODP Expedition 313 (New Jersey shallow shelf) cored a 3-hole transect across Miocene seismic clinothems (prograding sigmoidal sequences) in topset, foreset, and bottomset locations, providing an opportunity to integrate seismic, log, and core data into a sequence stratigraphic framework. Our interpretations of sequences and systems tracts are made independent of any preconceived relative sea-level curves. Rather, we use basic seismic, core, and stratigraphic principles to recognize sequence boundaries, Maximum Flooding Surface, transgressive surfaces, and facies successions within sequences.

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See Also: Short Course

This course will evaluate data from the nano- to macro-scale in order to show how different types of data can be integrated in the evaluation of sweet spots.

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