EMD Will Have a High Profile in Pittsburgh

In my 15 years as an AAPG member, I’ve actively been involved in planning and serving in various roles during AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE), particularly when I lived in Houston.

“Space City” is on the regular rotation for the ACE, most recently hosting the meeting in 2002, 2006 and 2011 (and again next April). Other petroleum industry-friendly cities such as Denver, San Antonio, Calgary, New Orleans and Dallas also attract a fair share of AAPG ACE events.

The 2013 ACE, however, is being held in a new location, planned in the “City of Bridges” and situated a stone’s throw from Titusville, home of the 1859 Drake discovery well and the birthplace of the U.S. oil industry.

Few likely had the foresight that Pittsburgh would someday host an ACE, and I certainly did not envision a relocation back to my northeastern U.S. roots while working for a major energy company!

However, in these times of rampant resurgence in onshore plays, one should perhaps expect the unexpected. I am proud to say Pittsburgh has been my adopted home for the past two years, and the Eastern Section will be hosting its first ACE in nearly 30 years.

In the years since Range Resources’ Renz #1 discovery well in the Marcellus Shale, Pittsburgh has emerged as the “it” city as more operators develop their position in the Appalachian Basin and new plays such as the Utica/Point Pleasant have matured.

Like Pittsburgh, EMD is experiencing a wave of renewed excitement as advancing technologies unlock previously economically challenged plays, and new opportunities within EMD disciplines are becoming more attractive and feasible.

EMD is truly excited about the upcoming ACE, and we invite you to join us for our jam-packed technical program and events during the meeting. Doug Patchen, the EMD vice chair for the 2013 ACE, organized an outstanding program for EMD.

That program includes:

Seven oral sessions (Theme 1). The topics are:

  • Lower Paleozoic Unconventional Plays of the Northeast U.S.
  • Shale Plays of the Americas (Non-U.S.)
  • The Bakken Petroleum System.
  • The Eagle Ford Petroleum System.
  • Evaluation of European Shales.
  • Worldwide Unconventional Reservoirs.
  • Shale and Tight Oil Plays from Around the Globe.

Four poster sessions (Theme 1):

  • Resource Plays (I and II).
  • Unconventionals (I and II).

Three field trips:

  • The Marcellus Shale in south-central Pennsylvania (led by Lee Avary and John Dennison).
  • Organic-Rich Shales of New York – Core Workshop and Field Trip (Taury Smith and Jim Leone).
  • Coal Measures of Kentucky (Steve Flint).

Two short courses:

  • Black Shale Core Workshop (CoreLab).
  • Hydraulic Fracturing of Shale Reservoirs (Randy LaFollette).

Finally, this year’s EMD Luncheon, set Wednesday, May 22, features Seamus McGraw, author of End of Country, who will discuss “Comfortable in Our Ignorance,” which will explain how extreme voices on both sides of the public debate over shale gas exploration and development are effectively undermining efforts to develop the resource more safely, damaging efforts to maximize its potential environmental advantages, and preventing the real economic benefits from taking hold.

At press time, seats were still available – but this luncheon is expected to sell out, so get your tickets while they last!

For more details on McGraw, read his interview , or visit his website.

On behalf of EMD I was able to be part of this year’s AAPG Congressional Visit Days, held in mid-April and organized by Edith Allison, director of the AAPG GEO-DC office in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of three days, the AAPG delegation received briefings about current legislative and regulatory events and had the opportunity to meet with policy makers and their staff in Congress and federal agencies.

GEO-DC is co-sponsor of the Energy Policy Forum that will be held during ACE at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 21. It’s open to all meeting attendees.

This will be my last quarterly column in the EXPLORER as EMD president and I would like to thank the members of the EMD Executive Committee for their time, talent and willingness to serve this year: President-Elect Jeremy Boak, Vice President Bob Trevail, Treasurer David Tabet, Secretary Bruce Handley, immediate Past-President Stephen Testa, and also Norma Newby, AAPG headquarters division manager. It truly was an honor and privilege to serve EMD alongside this team.

I also would like to acknowledge the EMD committee chairs and councilors for their contributions to EMD during my term. Please join me in thanking these technical ambassadors who are willing to contribute to EMD, some who have been involved since EMD’s beginning in 1977.

I look forward to visiting with all EMD members – and potential members – in Pittsburgh this month.

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Division Column-EMD Andrea Reynolds

Andrea A. Reynolds, P.G. EMD President 2012-13.

Division Column-EMD

The Energy Minerals Division (EMD), a division of AAPG, is dedicated to addressing the special concerns of energy resource geologists working with energy resources other than conventional oil and gas, providing a vehicle to keep abreast of the latest developments in the geosciences and associated technology. EMD works in concert with the Division of Environmental Geosciences to serve energy resource and environmental geologists.

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See Also: Bulletin Article

Field analogs allow a better characterization of fracture networks to constrain naturally fractured reservoir models. In analogs, the origin, nature, geometry, and other attributes of fracture networks can be determined and can be related to the reservoir through the geodynamic history. In this article, we aim to determine the sedimentary and diagenetic controls on fracture patterns and the genetic correlation of fracture and diagenesis with tectonic and burial history. We targeted two outcrops of Barremian carbonates located on both limbs of the Nerthe anticline (southeastern France). We analyzed fracture patterns and rock facies as well as the tectonic, diagenetic, and burial history of both sites. Fracture patterns are determined from geometric, kinematic, and diagenetic criteria based on field and lab measurements. Fracture sequences are defined based on crosscutting and abutting relationships and compared with geodynamic history and subsidence curves. This analysis shows that fractures are organized in two close-to-perpendicular joint sets (i.e., mode I). Fracture average spacing is 50 cm (20 in.). Fracture size neither depends on fracture orientation nor is controlled by bed thickness. Neither mechanical stratigraphy nor fracture stratigraphy is observed at outcrop scale. Comparing fracture sequences and subsidence curves shows that fractures existed prior to folding and formed during early burial. Consequently, the Nerthe fold induced by the Pyrenean compression did not result in any new fracture initiation on the limbs of this fold. We assume that the studied Urgonian carbonates underwent early diagenesis, which conferred early brittle properties to the host rock.

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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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