One Last Look at a Successful AAPG Year

In the northern hemisphere we are preparing for winter. Each day the sun sits lower in the sky, rising later and sinking earlier. Here in Oklahoma – where the wind famously comes sweepin’ down the plain – the wind has a decided chill to it, and out come the sweaters, coats, hats and mittens.

For many of us, this season also is a time to spend with family and friends, enjoy crackling fires, offer good cheer and reflect on the year past and the year ahead.

At AAPG it’s been a year of continued progress and growth. Our membership numbers at the beginning of November were just below 40,000. These are oil and gas professionals – geoscientists, engineers, and other interested folks – who are drawn to the products and services that AAPG offers.

And perhaps most importantly, they join the Association to associate with like-minded men and women who find and produce the oil and natural gas that fuels the world.


Our mission at AAPG is to advance petroleum geoscience and to promote and encourage professionalism. And we’ve certainly worked to do just that.

This year we conducted two major AAPG conferences: ACE in Pittsburgh and ICE in Cartagena, Colombia. Both were successful events, providing an opportunity to learn through strong technical programs, educational courses, and opportunities to network with colleagues from across the globe.

In addition to these flagship AAPG events, we cooperated and participated in several other major conferences, including OTC, OTC Brasil, IPTC in Beijing, the Arctic Technology Conference, and 3P – Polar Petroleum Potential.

One notable addition to this line-up was the launch of URTeC, the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, in cooperation with SPE and SEG. Building upon this initial success, we are now planning for the 2014 URTeC. And, in fact, the call for papers is currently open (see related story, page 4). I would encourage you to submit a paper and contribute to the momentum behind this multidisciplinary conference.


In addition to these large events, AAPG participated in numerous smaller events.

Last month I told you about the joint research symposium on fine-grained sediments we conducted with SEPM, Petrochina RIPED and the China University of Petroleum in Beijing. The Europe Region held a Region conference in Barcelona. And we conducted nearly 30 Geoscience Technology Workshops and Forums in the eastern and western hemispheres.

There were two Hedberg research conferences in 2013. The first, held in Beijing, focused on fundamental controls on petroleum systems in lower Paleozoic and older strata. The second was titled “3-D Structural Geologic Interpretation: Earth, Mind and Machine,” conducted in Reno, Nev.

AAPG provided numerous opportunities to learn something new by offering our members and customers worldwide access to over 50 short courses and 14 field seminars.

And don’t forget about AAPG publications – in 2013 the BULLETIN contained 83 peer-reviewed articles and we published seven books, ranging from the Great American Carbonate Bank to energy resources in the solar system.

A significant highlight this year is our partnership with SEG in launching the new quarterly peer-reviewed journal INTERPRETATION, focused on subsurface interpretation. The emphasis of this new periodical is the integration of tools and technology with scientific principles and insights.

This year also saw the formation of AAPG’s fourth technical division, the Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division. And this group, which has existed informally for quite a few years, is now formally recognized within AAPG and is focused solely on advancing the petroleum geosciences in the tectonic, structural geology and geomechanics domain.

In addition, to better serve our members and customers, we launched the AAPG Advisory and the Advisory Alert this summer. With these two monthly emails from AAPG we aim to keep you connected and informed with the many ways that you can engage with your fellow oil and gas professionals.

And we’ve added staff, based in Bogotá, Colombia, and Lagos, Nigeria, to create new opportunities for and better serve our members in Latin America and Africa.

There’s a common thread that weaves throughout all of these activities: The engaged member or contributor who offers to share his or her scientific or professional knowledge and experience for the benefit of the profession. That’s what makes professional societies unique – we teach each other what we know.

And it’s how we collectively accomplish AAPG’s mission.


As 2013 draws to a close I invite you to reflect on what you gained in the past year from AAPG membership, and how you contributed. It is your involvement that propels the Association forward.

The demand for petroleum continues to grow. And while AAPG may be approaching its 100th birthday, I can assure you that in pursuing our goal of advancing the world of petroleum geoscience we’re just getting started.

Happy Holidays!

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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: ACE

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists with SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) invite you to join us for the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition 2–5 April, 2017, in Houston, Texas, USA.

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See Also: Bulletin Article

The influence of moisture, temperature, coal rank, and differential enthalpy on the methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) sorption capacity of coals of different rank has been investigated by using high-pressure sorption isotherms at 303, 318, and 333 K (CH4) and 318, 333, and 348 K (CO2), respectively. The variation of sorption capacity was studied as a function of burial depth of coal seams using the corresponding Langmuir parameters in combination with a geothermal gradient of 0.03 K/m and a normal hydrostatic pressure gradient. Taking the gas content corresponding to 100% gas saturation at maximum burial depth as a reference value, the theoretical CH4 saturation after the uplift of the coal seam was computed as a function of depth. According to these calculations, the change in sorption capacity caused by changing pressure, temperature conditions during uplift will lead consistently to high saturation values. Therefore, the commonly observed undersaturation of coal seams is most likely related to dismigration (losses into adjacent formations and atmosphere). Finally, we attempt to identify sweet spots for CO2-enhanced coalbed methane (CO2-ECBM) production. The CO2-ECBM is expected to become less effective with increasing depth because the CO2-to-CH4 sorption capacity ratio decreases with increasing temperature and pressure. Furthermore, CO2-ECBM efficiency will decrease with increasing maturity because of the highest sorption capacity ratio and affinity difference between CO2 and CH4 for low mature coals.

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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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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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In his classic 1965 GSA Bulletin paper “Origin of ‘Reverse Drag’ on the Downthrown Side of Normal Faults” Hamblin presented a conceptual model linking the formation of reverse drag (the down-warping of hanging wall strata toward a normal fault) to slip on faults with listric (curved, concave up) cross-sectional profiles. Although this model has been widely accepted, some authors have noted that reverse drag may also form in response to slip on planar faults that terminate at depth. A universal explanation for the origin of reverse drag, a common element of extensional terranes, thus remains elusive almost 50 years after Hamblin’s seminal paper on the subject.

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