‘Innovators’ and ‘technology enthusiasts’

EMD an Unconventional Resource

Are you passionate about unconventional energy resources? Would you like to learn as much as possible about the latest concepts and technologies to explore and develop these?

Then look no further than AAPG’s Energy Minerals Division, which has been devoted to unconventionals for over 30 years!

Does this surprise you? It might, because people don’t immediately make the link between unconventionals and energy minerals. And that’s the key reason for this article – to make AAPG members aware that the EMD should be your unconventional resource.

EMD strives to be a recognized technology and scientific center of excellence of unconventional energy and energy minerals resources within AAPG. We focus on generating and compiling technical information and delivering this to our members in our “Members Only” site and through an ever-expanding number of oral and poster presentations, workshops, conferences, short courses, fieldtrips and publications.

Perhaps you also have noticed the “standing room only” EMD-sponsored and organized sessions at the past three AAPG conventions.

The engine for this information is a set of 12 technical committees, staffed with some of the best and brightest people from industry, academia and government. These committees are focused on:

  • Tight gas sands.
  • Gas shales.
  • Oil sands.
  • Coal.
  • Coalbed methane.
  • Geothermal energy.
  • Oil shales.
  • Nuclear minerals.
  • Gas hydrates.
  • Geospatial information.
  • Energy economics and technology.
  • Renewable energy resources (jointly with the Division of Environmental Geology).

The need for this type of resource has never been greater. Did you realize, for example, that more than 90 percent of the wells being drilled in North America today are completed in unconventional reservoirs? How is it possible that this could be true, and yet only 1,450 of AAPG’s 35,000 members (4 percent) belong to EMD?

Perhaps the answer is that EMD members are the innovators, generating and disseminating information on the technical characterization of unconventionals within AAPG. Support for this concept comes from the article “New Ideas and Their Diffusion,” published by Art Berman in the November 25, 2006, HGS Bulletin.

Art’s paper uses the concept of “Diffusion Theory” to explain that early in the life cycle of new ideas and technologies, only a small percentage of a given population understands and applies this knowledge. Later on, more people accept it based on the experience of those that have preceded them. And finally, nearly everyone embraces this new way of thinking or doing things based on its momentum.

Diffusion Theory as a model for the life cycle of a company or play.
Diffusion Theory as a model for the life cycle of a company or play.

The accompanying diagram illustrates how the EMD membership could be classified as the “Innovator” or “Technology Enthusiasts” group within AAPG.

The growing acceptance of the ideas and technologies underpinning the exploration and development of unconventional reservoirs is a good example of diffusion theory in action. Using this model, EMD members represent the innovators who benefit from the early acceptance of this knowledge, and who work to extend this knowledge to others.

The Diffusion Model also predicts that about 15 percent of the total population (innovators and early adopters) need to embrace these new ideas and technologies to help combat the 15 percent skeptics/laggards within the greater population, before there is enough momentum to capture the larger population.

This argues that EMD needs to nearly quadruple its membership to be an effective force for change within AAPG.

If you have this “Innovator” spirit, come join us! You can visit our Web site to learn about the benefits of EMD membership – and to submit an application today.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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Division Column-EMD Michael D. Campbell

Michael D. Campbell, EMD past president (2010-2011) and current chair of the EMD Uranium (Nuclear and Rare Earth) Minerals Committee: Although much is made in the media of the federal government’s role in the economy, its actual impact is minor.

Division Column-EMD Andrea Reynolds

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

Division Column-EMD Richard Erdlac

Richard Erdlac, principal geologist with Erdlac Energy Consulting, Midland, Texas, is acting chair and vice chair-Industry of the EMD Geothermal Energy Committee.

Division Column-EMD Art Johnson

AAPG member Art Johnson, who was vice chair for EMD at the recent AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in New Orleans, is with Hydrate Energy International, Kenner, La. 

Division Column-EMD Richard C. Bost

Richard C. Bost is serving as the co-chair on the EMD-DEG Renewable Energy Committee.

Division Column-EMD Fran Hein

Fran Hein  is EMD President, 2014-15.

Division Column-EMD Frank Walles

Frank Walles is EMD President, 2009-10.

Division Column-EMD Stephen M. Testa

Stephen M. Testa is EMD President-Elect. He is currently serving as Executive Officer of the California State Mining and Geology Board since August, 2005. Testa is a Past-President of the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the AIPG and the Los Angeles Basin Geological Society.

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

Sequence stratigraphy and coal cycles based on accommodation trends were investigated in the coal-bearing Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group in the Lloydminster heavy oil field, eastern Alberta. The study area is in a low accommodation setting on the cratonic margin of the Western Canada sedimentary basin. Geophysical log correlation of coal seams, shoreface facies, and the identification of incised valleys has produced a sequence-stratigraphic framework for petrographic data from 3 cored and 115 geophysical-logged wells. Maceral analysis, telovitrinite reflectance, and fluorescence measurements were taken from a total of 206 samples. Three terrestrial depositional environments were interpreted from the petrographic data: ombrotrophic mire coal, limnotelmatic mire coal, and carbonaceous shale horizons. Accommodation-based coal (wetting- and drying-upward) cycles represent trends in depositional environment shifts, and these cycles were used to investigate the development and preservation of the coal seams across the study area.

The low-accommodation strata are characterized by a high-frequency occurrence of significant surfaces, coal seam splitting, paleosol, and incised-valley development. Three sequence boundary unconformities are identified in only 20 m (66 ft) of strata. Coal cycle correlations illustrate that each coal seam in this study area was not produced by a single peat-accumulation episode but as an amalgamation of a series of depositional events. Complex relations between the Cummings and Lloydminster coal seams are caused by the lateral fragmentation of strata resulting from the removal of sediment by subaerial erosion or periods of nondeposition. Syndepositional faulting of the underlying basement rock changed local accommodation space and increased the complexity of the coal cycle development.

This study represents a low-accommodation example from a spectrum of stratigraphic studies that have been used to establish a terrestrial sequence-stratigraphic model. The frequency of changes in coal seam quality is an important control on methane distribution within coalbed methane reservoirs and resource calculations in coal mining. A depositional model based on the coal cycle correlations, as shown by this study, can provide coal quality prediction for coalbed methane exploration, reservoir completions, and coal mining.

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We describe the structure, microstructure, and petrophysical properties of fault rocks from two normal fault zones formed in low-porosity turbiditic arkosic sandstones, in deep diagenesis conditions similar to those of deeply buried reservoirs. These fault rocks are characterized by a foliated fabric and quartz-calcite sealed veins, which formation resulted from the combination of the (1) pressure solution of quartz, (2) intense fracturing sealed by quartz and calcite cements, and (3) neoformation of synkinematic white micas derived from the alteration of feldspars and chlorite. Fluid inclusion microthermometry in quartz and calcite cements demonstrates fault activity at temperatures of 195degC to 268degC. Permeability measurements on plugs oriented parallel with the principal axes of the finite strain ellipsoid show that the Y axis (parallel with the foliation and veins) is the direction of highest permeability in the foliated sandstone (10–2 md for Y against 10–3 md for X, Z, and the protolith, measured at a confining pressure of 20 bars). Microstructural observations document the localization of the preferential fluid path between the phyllosilicate particles forming the foliation. Hence, the direction of highest permeability in these fault rocks would be parallel with the fault and subhorizontal, that is, perpendicular to the slickenlines representing the local slip direction on the fault surface. We suggest that a similar relationship between kinematic markers and fault rock permeability anisotropy may be found in other fault zone types (reverse or strike-slip) affecting feldspar-rich lithologies in deep diagenesis conditions.
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See Also: CD DVD

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See Also: DL Abstract

There has been a revival in the interest in hydrocarbon source rock characterization associated with the growing interest in unconventional resources where these fine-grained sediments represent the complete petroleum system. To-date, the primary focus has been on marine unconventional systems. Consider, however, if lacustrine systems may represent future unconventional opportunities in areas where the conventional resource-base is dominated by lacustrine-sourced oil. There are a number of key differences in the nature of these systems that should be considered when assessing.

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See Also: Learn! Blog

Discover more on sandstone reservoir quality and the modern tools and techniques needed for petrographic rock characterization.This one day course taught by, Kitty Milliken a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, will feature a series of lectures covering the basic architecture of particulate sedimentary rocks,methods for petrologic characterization, grain assemblages, and diagenesis, including compaction, cementation, grain replacement,and fracturing

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