AAPG’s Publishing Legacy Adds New Chapters

AAPG is a science publisher. It’s a tradition that dates back to our founding. And our flagship journal, the BULLETIN, and our special publications are usually a core part of a petroleum geoscientist’s professional library.

Last month was a big one for AAPG science publishing.

AAPG’s associate editors were invited by Elected Editor Steve Laubach to gather in Houston on Feb. 4 to discuss improvements to the BULLETIN’s editorial process, select publication awards and talk about developing a short course for aspiring young authors.

That evening the attendees were inducted into the Charles Taylor Fellowship. The fellowship, named after the BULLETIN’s first editor, Charles H. Taylor, was established by AAPG’s Executive Committee to recognize the vital contributions that all current and former associate editors have made to ensuring that AAPG maintains high standards of published science.

Then on Feb. 7, at a meeting convened by AAPG President Ted Beaumont and SEG President David Monk, my SEG counterpart Steven Davis and I signed a memorandum of understanding for AAPG to join as a partner in the new journal Interpretation.

Interpretation, launched by SEG late last year, is a peer-reviewed quarterly designed to publish papers on the science and practice of interpreting data to better understand Earth’s subsurface, particularly as it relates to the exploration and extraction of resources and for environmental and engineering applications.

This journal fills an important space in science publishing and our participation is the outgrowth of an enhanced and evolving partnership with SEG.

Finally, last month marked the launch of a new BULLETIN feature.

Editor Laubach has been working closely with Beverly Molyneaux, AAPG’s managing editor of technical publications, and Geoscience Director Jim Blankenship to ensure that BULLETIN authors’ manuscripts are published as quickly as possible.

The result is a new website for the BULLETIN and a new feature called Ahead of Print . There you will find manuscripts that have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, but have not yet gone through the lay-out and production process.

Ahead of Print gives our members and subscribers the ability to access AAPG science as soon as it’s accepted. This benefits users and is an important step in attracting authors to publish in the BULLETIN.

Ensuring that AAPG remains a relevant and successful science publisher is vital to our long-term objectives. Last month’s activities build upon a strong foundation and position us for the future.

And there are further improvements to come.

I’d like to leave you with one more thought:

Most of us are consumers of the science information published by AAPG. We sift through the online BULLETIN archives and Search and Discovery for papers or presentations that will help us better understand an exploration concept or the geology of a particular region.

That’s great! That’s what these resources are meant to do – to help you do your job better.

But those papers and presentations are only there because someone took the time – usually personal time – to put words on paper, to draft figures and to edit and revise. They probably didn’t do it for fame and fortune (although I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility). Instead they likely saw this contribution as a way to improve their own understanding, to enhance their professional standing and to step into the role of teacher, contributing to the scientific discourse.

They decided to become active participants in advancing our science.

What paper or presentation is locked inside you?

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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

Anomalously high porosities and permeabilities are commonly found in the fluvial channel sandstone facies of the Triassic Skagerrak Formation in the central North Sea at burial depths greater than 3200 m (10,499 ft), from which hydrocarbons are currently being produced. The aim of our study was to improve understanding of sandstone diagenesis in the Skagerrak Formation to help predict whether the facies with high porosity may be found at even greater depths. The Skagerrak sandstones comprise fine to medium-grained arkosic to lithic-arkosic arenites. We have used scanning electron microscopy, petrographic analysis, pressure history modeling, and core analysis to assess the timing of growth and origin of mineral cements, with generation, and the impact of high fluid pressure on reservoir quality. Our interpretation is that the anomalously high porosities in the Skagerrak sandstones were maintained by a history of overpressure generation and maintenance from the Late Triassic onward, in combination with early microquartz cementation and subsequent precipitation of robust chlorite grain coats. Increasing salinity of pore fluids during burial diagenesis led to pore-filling halite cements in sustained phreatic conditions. The halite pore-filling cements removed most of the remaining porosity and limited the precipitation of other diagenetic phases. Fluid flow associated with the migration of hydrocarbons during the Neogene is inferred to have dissolved the halite locally. Dissolution of halite cements in the channel sands has given rise to megapores and porosities of as much as 35% at current production depths.
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Umiat field in northern Alaska is a shallow, light-oil accumulation with an estimated original oil in place of more than 1.5 billion bbl and 99 bcf associated gas. The field, discovered in 1946, was never considered viable because it is shallow, in permafrost, and far from any infrastructure. Modern drilling and production techniques now make Umiat a more attractive target if the behavior of a rock, ice, and light oil system at low pressure can be understood and simulated.

The Umiat reservoir consists of shoreface and deltaic sandstones of the Cretaceous Nanushuk Formation deformed by a thrust-related anticline. Depositional environment imparts a strong vertical and horizontal permeability anisotropy to the reservoir that may be further complicated by diagenesis and open natural fractures.

Experimental and theoretical studies indicate that there is a significant reduction in the relative permeability of oil in the presence of ice, with a maximum reduction when connate water is fresh and less reduction when water is saline. A representative Umiat oil sample was reconstituted by comparing the composition of a severely weathered Umiat fluid to a theoretical Umiat fluid composition derived using the Pedersen method. This sample was then used to determine fluid properties at reservoir conditions such as bubble point pressure, viscosity, and density.

These geologic and engineering data were integrated into a simulation model that indicate recoveries of 12%–15% can be achieved over a 50-yr production period using cold gas injection from five well pads with a wagon-wheel configuration of multilateral wells.

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A new hierarchical architectural classification for clastic marginal-marine depositional systems is presented and illustrated with examples. In ancient rocks, the architectural scheme effectively integrates the scales of sedimentology (core, outcrop) and sequence stratigraphy (wireline-log correlation, reflection seismic). The classification also applies to modern sediments, which allows for direct comparison of architectural units between modern and ancient settings. In marginal-marine systems, the parasequence typically defines reservoir flow units. This classification addresses subparasequence scales of stratigraphy that commonly control fluid flow in these reservoirs. The scheme consists of seven types of architectural units that are placed on five architectural hierarchy levels: hierarchy level I: element (E) and element set (ES); hierarchy level II: element complex (EC) and element complex set (ECS); hierarchy level III: element complex assemblage (ECA); hierarchy level IV: element complex assemblage set (ECAS); and hierarchy level V: transgressive-regressive sequence (T-R sequence). Architectural units in levels I to III are further classified relative to dominant depositional processes (wave, tide, and fluvial) acting at the time of deposition. All architectural units are three-dimensional and can also be expressed in terms of plan-view and cross-sectional geometries. Architectural units can be linked using tree data structures by a set of familial relationships (parent-child, siblings, and cousins), which provides a novel mechanism for managing uncertainty in marginal-marine systems. Using a hierarchical scheme permits classification of different data types at the most appropriate architectural scale. The use of the classification is illustrated in ancient settings by an outcrop and subsurface example from the Campanian Bearpaw–Horseshoe Canyon Formations transition, Alberta, Canada, and in modern settings, by the Mitchell River Delta, northern Australia. The case studies illustrate how the new classification can be used across both modern and ancient systems, in complicated, mixed-process depositional environments.
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See Also: DL Abstract

When evaluating paleosystems, there will always be a shortage of data constraints and a surplus of plausible geological scenarios for a basin evaluation. Modelling paleosystems with constraints from the modern has been used as a successful approach to better understand petroleum systems.

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Hydrocarbon exploration beneath the shallow allochthonous salt canopy of the ultra-deepwater central Gulf of Mexico has encountered three thick, sand-rich, submarine fan successions that punctuate an otherwise relatively condensed and fine-grained basin center stratigraphy. These sand-rich fans are Late Paleocene, Early Miocene, and Middle Miocene in age and each coincide with periods of very high sediment flux and basin margin instability. They are the primary exploration targets in most ultra-deepwater fields, recent discoveries, and failed exploration tests.

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