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Concepts and technologies developed for liquid-rich unconventional plays in North America are on the verge of being exported worldwide.

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Using diverse geologic and geophysical data from recent exploration and development, and experimental results of analysis of gas content, gas capacity, and gas composition, this article discusses how geologic, structural, and hydrological factors determine the heterogeneous distribution of gas in the Weibei coalbed methane (CBM) field.

The coal rank of the Pennsylvanian no. 5 coal seam is mainly low-volatile bituminous and semianthracite. The total gas content is 2.69 to 16.15 m3/t (95.00–570.33 scf/t), and gas saturation is 26.0% to 93.2%. Burial coalification followed by tectonically driven hydrothermal activity controls not only thermal maturity, but also the quality and quantity of thermogenic gas generated from the coal.

Gas composition indicates that the CBM is dry and of dominantly thermogenic origin. The thermogenic gases have been altered by fractionation that may be related to subsurface water movement in the southern part of the study area.

Three gas accumulation models are identified: (1) gas diffusion and long-distance migration of thermogenic gases to no-flow boundaries for sorption and minor conventional trapping, (2) hydrodynamic trapping of gas in structural lows, and (3) gas loss by hydrodynamic flushing. The first two models are applicable for the formation of two CBM enrichment areas in blocks B3 and B4, whereas the last model explains extremely low gas content and gas saturation in block B5. The variable gas content, saturation, and accumulation characteristics are mainly controlled by these gas accumulation models.

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This article reviews the mechanisms of shale gas storage and discusses the major risks or uncertainties for shale gas exploration in China. At a given temperature and pressure, the gas sorption capacities of organic-rich shales are primarily controlled by the organic matter richness but may be significantly influenced by the type and maturity of the organic matter, mineral composition (especially clay content), moisture content, pore volume and structure, resulting in different ratios of gas sorption capacity (GSC) to total organic carbon content for different shales. In laboratory experiments, the GSC of organic-rich shales increases with increasing pressure and decreases with increasing temperature. Under geologic conditions (assuming hydrostatic pressure gradient and constant thermal gradient), the GSC increases initially with depth due to the predominating effect of pressure, passes through a maximum, and then decreases because of the influence of increasing temperature at greater depth. This pattern of variation is quite similar to that observed for coals and is of great significance for understanding the changes in GSC of organic-rich shales over geologic time as a function of burial history. At an elevated temperature and pressure and with the presence of moisture, the gas sorption capacities of organic-rich shales are quite low. As a result, adsorption alone cannot protect sufficient gas for high-maturity organic-rich shales to be commercial gas reservoirs. Two models are proposed to predict the variation of GSC and total gas content over geologic time as a function of burial history. High contents of free gas in organic-rich shales can be preserved in relatively closed systems. Loss of free gas during postgeneration uplift and erosion may result in undersaturation (the total gas contents lower than the sorption capacity) and is the major risk for gas exploration in marine organic-rich shales in China.
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West Edmond field, located in central Oklahoma, is one of the largest oil accumulations in the Silurian–Devonian Hunton Group in this part of the Anadarko Basin. Production from all stratigraphic units in the field exceeds 170 million barrels of oil (MMBO) and 400 billion cubic feet of gas (BCFG), of which approximately 60 MMBO and 100 BCFG have been produced from the Hunton Group. Oil and gas are stratigraphically trapped to the east against the Nemaha uplift, to the north by a regional wedge-out of Hunton strata, and by intraformational diagenetic traps. Hunton Group reservoirs are the Bois d'Arc and Frisco Limestones, with lesser production from the Chimneyhill subgroup, Haragan Shale, and Henryhouse Formation.

Hunton Group cores from three wells that were examined petrographically indicate that complex diagenetic relations influence permeability and reservoir quality. Greatest porosity and permeability are associated with secondary dissolution in packstones and grainstones, forming hydrocarbon reservoirs. The overlying Devonian–Mississippian Woodford Shale is the major petroleum source rock for the Hunton Group in the field, based on one-dimensional and four-dimensional petroleum system models that were calibrated to well temperature and Woodford Shale vitrinite reflectance data. The source rock is marginally mature to mature for oil generation in the area of the West Edmond field, and migration of Woodford oil and gas from deeper parts of the basin also contributed to hydrocarbon accumulation.

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Jurassic deposition in the Maghrebian tethys was governed by eustasy and rifting. Two periods were delineated: (1) a carbonate shelf (Rhaetian–early Pliensbachian) and (2) a platform-basin complex (early Pliensbachian–Callovian). The carbonate shelf evolved in four stages, generating three sedimentary sequences, J1 to J3, separated by boundary sea level falls, drawdown, exposure, and local erosion. Sediment facies bear evidence of sea level rises and falls. Lateral changes in lithofacies indicate shoaling and deepening upward during the Sinemurian. A major pulse of rifting with an abrupt transition from carbonate shelf to pelagic basin environments of deposition marks the upper boundary of the lower Pliensbachian carbonate shelf deposits. This rifting episode with brittle fractures broke up the Rhaetian–early Pliensbachian carbonate shelf and has created a network of grabens, half grabens, horsts, and stacked ramps. Following this episode, a relative sea level rise led to pelagic sedimentation in the rift basins with local anoxic environments that also received debris shed from uplifted ramp crests. Another major episode spanning the whole early Pliensbachian–Bajocian is suggested by early brecciation, mass flows, slumps, olistolites, erosion, pinch-outs, and sedimentary prisms. A later increase in the rates of drifting marked a progress toward rift cessation during the Late Jurassic. These Jurassic carbonates with detrital deposits and black shales as the source rocks in northeastern Tunisia may define interesting petroleum plays (pinch-out flanking ramps, onlaps, and structurally upraised blocks sealed inside grabens). Source rock maturation and hydrocarbon migration began early in the Cretaceous and reached a maximum during the late Tortonian–Pliocene Atlassic orogeny.
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A recent study has been completed comparing North American and European shale gas and oil resource systems.

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Look again: The Bakken shale play is so big the U.S. Geological Survey has made a new assessment of the formation to see what has changed since the last assessment in 2008.

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The Marcellus Formation of Pennsylvania represents an outstanding example of an organic matter (OM)–hosted pore system; most pores detectable by field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) are associated with OM instead of mineral matrix. In the two wells studied here, total organic carbon (TOC) content is a stronger control on OM-hosted porosity than is thermal maturity. The two study wells span a maturity from late wet gas (vitrinite reflectance [Ro], sim1.0%) to dry gas (Ro, sim2.1%). Samples with a TOC less than 5.5 wt. % display a positive correlation between TOC and porosity, but samples with a TOC greater than 5.5 wt. % display little or no increase in porosity with a further increasing TOC. In a subset of samples (14) across a range of TOC (2.3–13.6 wt. %), the pore volume detectable by FE-SEM is a small fraction of total porosity, ranging from 2 to 32% of the helium porosity. Importantly, the FE-SEM–visible porosity in OM decreases significantly with increasing TOC, diminishing from 30% of OM volume to less than 1% of OM volume across the range of TOC. The morphology and size of OM-hosted pores also vary systematically with TOC.

The interpretation of this anticorrelation between OM content and SEM-visible pores remains uncertain. Samples with the lowest OM porosity (higher TOC) may represent gas expulsion (pore collapse) that was more complete as a consequence of greater OM connectivity and framework compaction, whereas samples with higher OM porosity (lower TOC) correspond to rigid mineral frameworks that inhibited compactional expulsion of methane-filled bubbles. Alternatively, higher TOC samples may contain OM (low initial hydrogen index, relatively unreactive) that is less prone to development of FE-SEM–detectable pores. In this interpretation, OM type, controlled by sequence-stratigraphic position, is a factor in determining pore-size distribution.

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After World War II – possibly as part of the Marshall Plan – Shell was obliged to give an American company a half interest in the acreage it held in Netherlands.

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In-Person Training
Buenos Aires Argentina 11 May, 2015 12 May, 2015 14137 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/extending-mature-fields-life-cycles-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
11-12 May 2015

Join leading scientists and industry practitioners at Extending Mature Fields’ Life Cycles: the Role of New Technologies & Integrated Strategies, a Geoscience Technology Workshop (GTW) organized by the AAPG Latin America Region and the Asociación Argentina de Geólogos y Geofísicos Petroleros (AAGGP).

Online Training
02 December, 2014 02 December, 2014 11967 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/esymp-multiscale-modeling-of-gas-transport-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
2 December 2014

The gas transport in organic-rich shales involves different length-scales, from organic and inorganic pores to macro- and macrofractures. In order to upscale the fluid transport from nanoscale (flow through nanopores) to larger scales (to micro- and macrofractures), multicontinuum methodology is planned to be used.

28 April, 2011 28 April, 2011 1471 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-niobrara-petroleum-system-a-major-tight-resource-play.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
28 April 2011

The Niobrara Petroleum System of the U.S. Rocky Mountain Region is a major tight petroleum resource play.

11 November, 2010 11 November, 2010 1465 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-geochemical-evaluation-of-eagle-ford-group-source.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
11 November 2010

This e-symposium is ideal for geologists, geophysicists, engineers and other geoscientists who are involved in gas shale exploration and production.

29 October, 2009 29 October, 2009 1445 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-application-of-thermal-maturation.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
29 October 2009

Expanded package for CEU credit is $100 for AAPG members, and $145 for non-members. Special Student Pricing: $25 for Webinar only; $35 for Expanded package.

16 August, 2011 16 August, 2011 1436 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-green-river-shales-geochemical-basin-study.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
16 August 2011

The geochemistry of formation fluids (water and hydrocarbon gases) in the Uinta Basin, Utah, is evaluated at the regional scale based on fluid sampling and compilation of past records.

01 January, 2013 01 January, 9999 1472 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-cc-introduction-to-shale-gas.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
1 January 2013 - 1 January 9999

This course introduces the learner to the fundamentals of shale gas, including current theories that explain its origin, and how to determine which reservoirs are commercially viable.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7817 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-generic-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
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