Two-Way Street: Making a Connection That Counts

Here in Oklahoma, the month of July delivers the beginning of summer, kids out of school and a unique blend of oppressive heat and sweltering humidity that makes you feel like you're in a slow-cooker.

At headquarters it's the beginning of a new year. On July 1 a fresh Executive Committee led by President Randi Martinsen took the reins, approved a budget for the new fiscal year and is beginning its work to lead the Association.

Veteran EC members Secretary Richard Ball, Vice President-Regions John Kaldi and Editor Mike Sweet are joined by President-Elect John Hogg, Treasurer Jim Tucker and Vice President-Sections Steve Brachman in this endeavor.

These are your leaders, and I encourage you to reach out and communicate with them during the coming year.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank past president Lee Krystinik for his leadership of the Association and Executive Committee, and most emphatically for his wise counsel to me over the past two years that he's served on the Executive Committee.

As past president, Lee's work isn't done yet. He now rides over to lead the Advisory Council further down the trail blazed by past president Ted Beaumont.

(You'll note the riding-themed metaphors I'm using in this column. Having incoming and outgoing presidents who are both accomplished equestrians is forcing me to learn a new vocabulary.)

When I first began to work for AAPG, back in Washington, D.C., in 2006, one of the first people I met was Deborah Sacrey, our out-going treasurer who has been involved in our policy work since the very beginning. We've worked closely over the years, and the perspective and advice she's given me both at GEO-DC and as executive director have helped me do my job immeasurably better.

Thankfully, she's still only a phone call away.

I've known Tom Ewing, who departs as vice president-Sections, almost as long as I've known Deborah. And Tom brought a wonderful balance of thoughtfulness, perceptiveness and practicality to a host of EC discussions over the past two years.

Even into the final weeks of his term he was providing me counsel on matters related to the Sections and affiliated societies.


Having the opportunity to work directly with our EC members to grow AAPG is one of the perks of my job. And it's important to recognize that they are volunteers.

Volunteerism is at the heart of AAPG and permeates our organization. It includes those who volunteer to help us advance science by giving a talk or writing a journal article, those who work on committees to build specific programs or services, and those who serve in leadership and governance roles.

When you get involved with AAPG you're serving other members and the profession. This engagement also builds your professional network and can help you develop specific skill sets, particularly interpersonal skills - after all, in a volunteer organization you don't dictate, you can only persuade.

Yes, volunteering is about "giving back." But I'd argue it's much more than that.

It is, in fact, an investment in yourself - both as a person and as a professional. And that's what being a member of a professional organization is about - helping you advance and succeed.


It's summertime here in Oklahoma. And many of us in this part of the world will be taking time this month with family and friends to vacation, to relax and recharge both physically and emotionally.

As you climb that mountain trail, cast a fly along the riverbank, listen to the waves break on the shore or simply sit on your back porch at dusk listening to the crickets chirping in the grass, take a few minutes to reflect on your career and professional life.

Where are you and where are you going?

Can you describe what it would look like to take your career to the next level?

What are the skills or contacts that you need to get there?

Is there an AAPG program or committee or group that you could get involved with to gain those skills or contacts?

If so, consider getting plugged in.

And if you don't see a program that will help you, then I’d ask you to send me an email through the website. Let me know what kind of program you'e looking for, what you believe you need to be successful, and let's talk about it. Maybe we can build it together.

This is your year to take the reins, saddle up, and steer your career into an even brighter future.

Giddy up!

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - David Curtiss

David Curtiss is an AAPG member and was named AAPG Executive Director in August 2011. He was previously Director of the AAPG GEO-DC Office in Washington D.C.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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See Also: Bulletin Article

Gas generation is a commonly hypothesized mechanism for the development of high-magnitude overpressure. However, overpressures developed by gas generation have been rarely measured in situ, with the main evidence for such overpressures coming from source rock microfractures, the physical necessity of overpressures for primary migration, laboratory experiments, and numerical modeling. Indeed, previous in-situ observations suggest that gas generation only creates highly localized overpressures within rich source rocks. Pore-fluid pressure data and sonic velocity–vertical effective stress plots from 30 wells reveal that overpressures in the northern Malay Basin are primarily generated by fluid expansion and are located basinwide within the Miocene 2A, 2B, and 2C source rock formations. The overpressures are predominantly associated with gas sampled in more than 83% of overpressure measurements and have a sonic-density response consistent with gas generation. The association of fluid expansion overpressures with gas, combined with the sonic-density response to overpressure and a regional geology that precludes other overpressuring mechanisms, provides convincing in-situ evidence for basinwide gas generation overpressuring. Overpressure magnitude analysis suggests that gas generation accounts for approximately one-half to two-thirds of the measured excess pore pressure in the region, with the remainder being generated by coincident disequilibrium compaction. Thus, the data herein suggest that gas generation, if acting in isolation, is producing a maximum pressure gradient of 15.3 MPa/km (0.676 psi/ft) and not lithostatic magnitudes as commonly hypothesized. The gas generation overpressures in this article are not associated with a significant porosity anomaly and represent a major drilling hazard, with traditional pore-pressure prediction techniques underestimating pressure gradients by 2.3 plusmn 1.5 MPa/km (0.1 plusmn 0.07 psi/ft).
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The central Black Sea Basin of Turkey is filled by more than 9 km (6 mi) of Upper Triassic to Holocene sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The basin has a complex history, having evolved from a rift basin to an arc basin and finally having become a retroarc foreland basin. The Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic Akgol and Lower Cretaceous Cağlayan Formations have a poor to good hydrocarbon source rock potential, and the middle Eocene Kusuri Formation has a limited hydrocarbon source rock potential. The basin has oil and gas seeps. Many large structures associated with extensional and compressional tectonics, which could be traps for hydrocarbon accumulations, exist.

Fifteen onshore and three offshore exploration wells were drilled in the central Black Sea Basin, but none of them had commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. The assessment of these drilling results suggests that many wells were drilled near the Ekinveren, Erikli, and Ballıfakı thrusts, where structures are complex and oil and gas seeps are common. Many wells were not drilled deep enough to test the potential carbonate and clastic reservoirs of the İnaltı and Cağlayan Formations because these intervals are locally buried by as much as 5 km (3 mi) of sedimentary and volcanic rocks. No wells have tested prospective structures in the north and east where the prospective İnalti and Cağlayan Formations are not as deeply buried. Untested hydrocarbons may exist in this area.

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The McMurray Formation of northern Alberta in Canada contains multiscale complex geologic features that were partially formed in a fluvial-estuarine depositional environment. The inclined heterolithic strata deposited as part of fluvial point bars contain continuous centimeter-scale features that are important for flow characterization of steam-assisted gravity drainage processes. These channels are common, extensive, and imbricated over many square kilometers. Modeling the detailed facies in such depositional systems requires a methodology that reflects heterogeneity over many scales. This article presents an object-based facies modeling technique that (1) reproduces the geometry of multiscale geologic architectural elements seen in the McMurray Formation outcrops and (2) provides a grid-free framework that models these geologic objects without relating them to a grid system. The grid-free object-based modeling can be applied to any depositional environment and allows for the complete preservation of architectural information for consistent application to any gridding scheme, local grid refinements, downscaling, upscaling, drape surface, locally variable azimuths, property trend modeling, and flexible model interaction and manipulation. Features millimeters thick or kilometers in extent are represented very efficiently in the same model.
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Thus far, the subject of deep-marine sands emplaced by baroclinic currents associated with internal waves and internal tides as potential reservoirs has remained an alien topic in petroleum exploration. Internal waves are gravity waves that oscillate along oceanic pycnoclines. Internal tides are internal waves with a tidal frequency. Internal solitary waves (i.e., solitons), the most common type, are commonly generated near the shelf edge (100–200 m [328–656 ft] in bathymetry) and in the deep ocean over areas of sea-floor irregularities, such as mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, and guyots. Empirical data from 51 locations in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans reveal that internal solitary waves travel in packets. Internal waves commonly exhibit (1) higher wave amplitudes (5–50 m [16–164 ft]) than surface waves (lt2 m [6.56 ft]), (2) longer wavelengths (0.5–15 km [0.31–9 mi]) than surface waves (100 m [328 ft]), (3) longer wave periods (5–50 min) than surface waves (9–10 s), and (4) higher wave speeds (0.5–2 m s–1 [1.64–6.56 ft s–1]) than surface waves (25 cm s–1 [10 in. s–1]). Maximum speeds of 48 cm s–1 (19 in. s–1) for baroclinic currents were measured on guyots. However, core-based sedimentologic studies of modern sediments emplaced by baroclinic currents on continental slopes, in submarine canyons, and on submarine guyots are lacking. No cogent sedimentologic or seismic criteria exist for distinguishing ancient counterparts. Outcrop-based facies models of these deposits are untenable. Therefore, potential exists for misinterpreting deep-marine baroclinic sands as turbidites, contourites, basin-floor fans, and others. Economic risks associated with such misinterpretations could be real.
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Shales are becoming the most important source of natural gas in North America, and replacement of coal by natural gas is reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. Nevertheless, shale gas is facing strong opposition from environmental nongovernmental organizations. Although these organizations have greatly exaggerated the potential negative environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil, methane leakage and contamination of groundwater and surface water by flowback and produced waters are serious concerns. These contamination pathways are not unique to shale gas and shale oil, and they are manageable.
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