DOI awardee to speak in Denver

Cooperation Leads to Success

A Hollywood ending? The PNR-1WD rig, with the town of Poplar in the background. Photo by Christa Tyrrell, Ft. Peck Tribes, Office of Environmental Protection
A Hollywood ending? The PNR-1WD rig, with the town of Poplar in the background. Photo by Christa Tyrrell, Ft. Peck Tribes, Office of Environmental Protection

Imagine this as the imaginary plot for a screenplay: A tiny rural town on an Indian Reservation sits a few miles from a large oil field. Abandoned wells are leaking hot, salty water into the town’s only drinking water source, a shallow aquifer.

The town’s residents losing their clean water supply.

Sounds like the lead-in to a Hollywood blockbuster akin to Erin Brockovich, with Big Oil one of the lead actors.

The screenplay calls for top-rank stars and will certainly portray the petroleum industry in a very negative light.

But wait – the facts on the ground challenge this over-dramatized cinematic scenario!

In the real event:

  • The federal and tribal governments coordinate considerable expertise and spends millions to delineate the contamination, in cooperation with the new industry owner of the leaking well, which acquired that well long after the leak began.
  • The petroleum company plugs the leaking brine from the well it inherited and invests millions in designing a state-of-the-art remediation project, with recognizable results early on.
  • The tribal environmental personnel and state agencies marvel at the cooperative process focused on the issue – a process in which they are fully informed and involved.
  • Finally, the entire project receives the Department of the Interior’s 2008 Environmental Achievement Award, in recognition that “the unique combination of methods and collaboration used to document remediation progress is unprecedented, and these techniques will likely supplement future industry standards for monitoring remediation.”

This is pretty exciting stuff, in my book – reading about the thorough, involved process and its ongoing results actually gave me goose bumps.

This is a fine example of the kind of work going on in our industry as we step up with determination to solve environmental issues associated with hydrocarbon exploration and production.

DEG is proud to claim the petroleum environmental scientist involved in leading the industry side of the successful team effort – our very own Mike Jacobs of Pioneer Natural Resources, U.S.A, who also is president-elect of DEG. 

We also claim the lead U.S. Geological Survey scientist, Bruce Smith, as one of our own. Bruce, by the way, is our DEG chairman for the upcoming Denver AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition.

So as you make your plans for the Denver AAPG convention, be aware that the DEG luncheon speaker Mike Jacobs will present this award-winning “Cooperative Aquifer Restoration Project, Fort Peck Indian Reservation – A Multi-Agency Success Story.”

We hope that you will join us to learn more about the story, and watch for a detailed story on the project in an upcoming EXPLORER – or you could wait for the movie, although I predict it will have a different ending.

Here’s another reminder that DEG Committees seek your input and membership.

Please visit the DEG Web site to learn about the goals of the Environmental Geophysics, CO2 Sequestration, Geohazards, Hydrogeology, Environmental Health and Safety and Research committees.

Network with your peers and share your expertise with industry partners.

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Division Column-DEG

Division Column-DEG Rebecca Dodge

Rebecca Dodge, of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, is DEG President for 2008-09.

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

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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This article concentrates on the question, Which parameters govern recovery factor (RF) behavior in channelized turbidite reservoirs? The objective is to provide guidelines for the static and dynamic modeling of coarse reservoir-scale models by providing a ranking of the investigated geologic and reservoir engineering parameters based on their relative impact on RF. Once high-importance (H) parameters are understood, then one can incorporate them into static and dynamic models by placing them explicitly into the geologic model. Alternatively, one can choose to represent their effects using effective properties (e.g., pseudorelative permeabilities). More than 1700 flow simulations were performed on geologically realistic three-dimensional sector models at outcrop-scale resolution. Waterflooding, gas injection, and depletion scenarios were simulated for each geologic realization. Geologic and reservoir engineering parameters are grouped based on their impact on RF into H, intermediate-importance (M), and low-importance (L) categories. The results show that, in turbidite channel reservoirs, dynamic performance is governed by architectural parameters such as channel width, net-to-gross, and degree of amalgamation, and parameters that describe the distribution of shale drapes, particularly along the base of channel elements. The conclusions of our study are restricted to light oils and relatively high-permeability channelized turbidite reservoirs. The knowledge developed in our extensive simulation study enables the development of a geologically consistent and efficient dynamic modeling approach. We briefly describe a methodology for generating effective properties at multiple geologic scales, incorporating the effect of channel architecture and reservoir connectivity into fast simulation models.
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18 percent of AAPG members are women, up from 10 percent in 2006.

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See Also: Field Seminar

This one-day field trip will examine how the Golden Thrust System builds Denver’s mountain front between Turkey Creek and Coal Creek.

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