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Unconventional resources remain a major component of the energy market and will continue to evolve and press on with modernization. As the upstream industry is given another opportunity to reinvent itself, now is the perfect time to rediscover opportunities you may not have considered before – and URTeC is here to help!

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Production from unconventional petroleum reservoirs includes petroleum from shale, coal, tight-sand and oil-sand. These reservoirs contain enormous quantities of oil and natural gas but pose a technology challenge to both geoscientists and engineers to produce economically on a commercial scale. These reservoirs store large volumes and are widely distributed at different stratigraphic levels and basin types, offering long-term potential for energy supply. Most of these reservoirs are low permeability and porosity that need enhancement with hydraulic fracture stimulation to maximize fluid drainage. Production from these reservoirs is increasing with continued advancement in geological characterization techniques and technology for well drilling, logging, and completion with drainage enhancement. Currently, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Egypt, USA, and Venezuela are producing natural gas from low permeability reservoirs: tight-sand, shale, and coal (CBM). Canada, Russia, USA, and Venezuela are producing heavy oil from oilsand. USA is leading the development of techniques for exploring, and technology for exploiting unconventional gas resources, which can help to develop potential gas-bearing shales of Thailand.

The main focus is on source-reservoir-seal shale petroleum plays. In these tight rocks petroleum resides in the micro-pores as well as adsorbed on and in the organics. Shale has very low matrix permeability (nano-darcies) and has highly layered formations with differences in vertical and horizontal properties, vertically non-homogeneous and horizontally anisotropic with complicate natural fractures. Understanding the rocks is critical in selecting fluid drainage enhancement mechanisms; rock properties such as where shale is clay or silica rich, clay types and maturation , kerogen type and maturation, permeability, porosity, and saturation. Most of these plays require horizontal development with large numbers of wells that require an understanding of formation structure, setting and reservoir character and its lateral extension.

The quality of shale-gas resources depend on thickness of net pay (>100 m), adequate porosity (>2%), high reservoir pressure (ideally overpressure), high thermal maturity (>1.5% Ro), high organic richness (>2% TOC), low in clay (<50%), high in brittle minerals (quartz, carbonates, feldspars), and favourable in-situ stress.

During the past decade, unconventional shale and tight-sand gas plays have become an important supply of natural gas in the US, and now in shale oil as well. As a consequence, interest to assess and explore these plays is rapidly spreading worldwide. The high production potential of shale petroleum resources has contributed to a comparably favourable outlook for increased future petroleum supplies globally.

Application of 2D and 3D seismic for defining reservoirs and micro seismic for monitoring fracturing, measuring rock properties downhole (borehole imaging) and in laboratory (mineralogy, porosity, permeability), horizontal drilling (downhole GPS), and hydraulic fracture stimulation (cross-linked gel, slick-water, nitrogen or nitrogen foam) is key in improving production from these huge resources with low productivity factors.

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In a time of low energy prices and market volatility, it is more important than ever for energy professionals to develop the tools to stay competitive and efficient. The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), set for May 2-5 in Houston, provides the perfect opportunity.

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Unconventional resources remain a major component of the energy market and will continue to evolve and press on with modernization. As the upstream industry is given another opportunity to reinvent itself, now is the perfect time to rediscover opportunities you may not have considered before – and URTeC is here to help!

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The largest naturally occurring CO2 accumulation east of the Mississippi River is currently under exploitation northeast of Jackson, Miss.

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The Energy and Minerals Division of the AAPG focuses on unconventional hydrocarbon energy resources, such as coalbed methane and gas hydrates and alternative energy resources, such as coal, uranium and geothermal energy. These resources are important to members of AAPG.

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The long-term projections have changed little in the year since this column last reported on the annual International Energy Agency (IEA) “World Energy Outlook,” but the tone is much different. Last year’s report was concerned about finding the investments to meet demand; now the world has surpluses of oil and gas and a booming renewables industry.  
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Have you submitted your abstracts for ‪‎URTeC 2016‬ in San Antonio? You still have time! The abstract submission deadline has been extended to 21 December 2015. What are you waiting for? Don't miss the chance to share your innovations, ideas and experiences at the premier integrated science and technology event for unconventional resources.

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Natural gas hydrate (NGH), a crystalline compound of water and natural gas, has been recognized as a vast potential energy resource for over two decades, but its commerciality has persistently remained beyond the horizon due to technical and economic hurdles.

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While exploration has slowed in many parts of the world in response to the industry’s lagging downturn, India is moving full steam ahead to encourage exploration and production on a domestic and international scale.

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