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The assessment of the natural temporal variability of source rock units is critical for the understanding of petroleum systems as changes in mineral matrix, organic matter (OM) concentration, and composition can significantly affect expulsion efficiency, primary and secondary migration processes, hydrocarbon quality as well as oil source rock correlation. Already small-scaled fluctuations within sediment successions can critically influence migration efficiency. High-resolution investigation of a well-preserved Lower Jurassic drill core (Toarcian Posidonia Shale) revealed seven discrete and systematic intervals of deviating source rock quality. These were composed of homogenized, non-laminated marls of light grey color, opposed to laminated dark grey background sedimentation. Both lithotypes differentiate not only in mineral composition, but particularly in OM content and quality. An average TOC content of app. 3.9 wt.% reached by the grey marl, is faced by an average TOC content of app. 7.8 wt.% measured for the laminated dark grey marls. Average hydrogen index for grey non-laminated marls was app. 550 mg HC/g TOC, whereas much higher source rock quality with 780 mg HC/g TOC was attained in the dark laminated marls. The marls lower OM concentration and inferior OM quality generates important domains for preferential migration of products, originated from the dark grey layers, or hydrocarbon cluster in case of limited migration into adjacent reservoirs. To assess the potential for preferential intake of hydrocarbons by the coarser-grained light marls and their qualification as migration avenues, artificial maturation experiments were performed with both lithotypes. Hydrocarbon generation was simulated by hydrous pyrolysis in two successive temperature steps 330 °C and 360 °C, covering an early maturity stage, as well as the end of the oil window. Both lithologies show striking differences, not only for the extract yield, but also for the timing of generation. OM quality differences were reflected by variable n-alkane distributions and molecular maturity parameters. High-resolution continuous data produced by non-destructive techniques allows to draw conclusions on i) source rock potential, ii) expulsion and migration processes , and iii) on prediction of petroleum accumulation within the sediment succession. High-resolution investigation in combination with artificial maturation experiments represent an easy-to-use tool in petroleum system analysis.

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The San Joaquin Basin lies west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and east of the San Andre as Fault. Tens of kilometers of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments, including deep-water organic-rich source rocks, deposited in a forearc setting, comprise the basin and have contributed to a petroleum system that generates more than 70 percent of California 's daily oil production and includes three of the 10 largest oilfields in the United States. Based on a comprehensive 3D petroleum systems model of the San Joaquin basin, published by the USGS in 2008, we further refine the modeling to account for the unique depositional and tectonic history of the basin. Here, we compare various basal heat flow scenarios to model hydrocarbon generation and calibrate the results to available temperature and vitrinite reflectance (Vr) data. We investigate two types of crustal models: a McKenzie-type rift model, and a no-rift static crustal thickness model. Crustal stretching models calculate basal heat flow resulting from stretching/thinning of mantle and crust during initial (syn-rift) and thermal (post-rift) subsidence. This method uses rock matrix radiogenic heat production values. It does not account for transient effects resulting from burial and uplift of the basin fill. The static no-rift model, alternatively, calculates the basal heat flow based on a stable or non-thinning crust and mantle over time. This method uses estimated Uranium (U), Thorium (Th), and Potassium (K) concentrations within the rock material to then calculate the rock matrix heat production. Unlike the rift model, it accounts for the transient effects resulting from burial and uplift of the basin fill, which can have a considerable additional effect on the basal heat flow. Given the low probability of crustal stretching as the starting point for basal heat flow in the San Joaquin Basin and considering the forearc nature of the basin as well as the strong concentration of U, K, and Th in the Sierran granites, we focused on and refined the no-rift models. We manually account for the transitional nature of the San Joaquin basement from hot Sierran granite on the east to cool Franciscan oceanic rocks on the west. Radiogenic heat production from solely continental crust results in models that are too warm and cannot be calibrated to well temperature and Vr data. Solely oceanic models are too cool to match well data. ‘Combined crust’ incorporates a seismically derived suture zone that allows for a transition from oceanic to granitic basement, while the ‘intermediate crust’ mixes oceanic and continental radiogenic heat production. These models generate a good match to well data to the east and westward through the transition zone. Additionally, we are able to calibrate to wells off of the Belridge and Lost Hills structures. On structure wells, however, cannot be calibrated with a crustal conductive heat flow scenario and would require (local) elevated heat flows on the order of 20 mW/m 2. This is not in agreement with the generally cooler underlying oceanic crust and suggests that there might be a different and/or additional source of heat flow. Most likely, basin-scale hydrothermal groundwater flow, both along faults and up-structure, could account for elevated Vr and temperature. Convective heat flow would be an additional overprint or enhancement to conductive basal heat flow.

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The driving forces for conventional accumulations (structural or stratigraphic traps) are Forces of Buoyancy which are due to differences in densities of hydrocarbons and water. In contrast, the driving forces for unconventional tight accumulations are Forces of Expulsion which are produced by high pressures. That is an enormous difference and creates unconventional petroleum systems that are characterized by very different and distinctive characteristics. The Force of Expulsion pressures are created by the significant increase in volume when any of the three main kerogen types are converted to hydrocarbons. At those conversion times in the burial history, the rocks are already sufficiently tight so the large volumes of generated hydrocarbons cannot efficiently escape through the existing tight pore system, thus creating a permeability bottleneck that produces an overpressured compartment over a large area corresponding to the proper thermal oil and gas maturities for that basin. The forces initially created in these source rocks can only go limited distances into adjacent tight reservoirs (clastics or carbonates) above or below the source. The exact distance will vary depending on the pressure increase, matrix permeability, and fractures of that specific tight reservoir system. In general, the distances are small, in the orders of 10s to 100s of feet for oil and larger for more mobile gas systems. Those exact distance numbers are subject to ongoing investigations.  

A plot of the pressure data versus elevation for a given formation is critical in determining whether an accumulation is conventional or unconventional. Conventional accumulations will have hydrocarbon columns of 10s to 100s of feet with the pressure in the hydrocarbons and that in the water equal at the bottom of the accumulation (at the HC-water contact). In contrast, the unconventional accumulations will show HC column heights of 1000s of feet with the pressure in the hydrocarbon phase and the water phase being the same at the top of the accumulation (at the updip transition zone). Those significant differences are critical for understanding and differentiating these two play types. Because the system is a pore throat bottleneck with very little or minimum lateral migration, the type of hydrocarbon s are closely tied to the thermal maturity required to generate those hydrocarbons. Thus the play concept begins with two important geochemical considerations: (1) where are the source rocks and what are the kerogen types and organic richness (TOC), and (2 ) where are they mature in the basin for oil, condensate, and gas in the basin. These parameters will very quickly define the fairway for the play. Then one has to add the critical information on the reservoirs themselves: composition (brittleness), thickness, and reservoir quality (matrix porosity and permeability). In summary, these tight unconventional petroleum systems (1) are dynamic , and (2) create a regionally inverted petroleum system with water over oil over condensate over gas for source rocks wit h Type I or II kerogen types.

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The Arctic Ocean occupies a unique tectonic setting as a small, confined ocean between two much larger oceans - the subducting Pacific margin and the opening North Atlantic. Unlike many of the world's oceans, evidence on both timing and geometry is poor, and major elements of the plate tectonic evolution are still "up for grabs". The Arctic has experienced significant plate motion from Cretaceous to present, and because of the ambiguities in the oceanic signature, resolving the most likely kinematic history is critical in understanding paleogeography and hence reservoir and source distribution. I will show a 3-stage kinematic model which, while not a unique solution, seems to best satisfy the known constraints.

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The past 30+ years have witnessed a wide variety of exploration strategies and a number of technological “revolutions” in the search for oil and gas. Although the exploration landscape and tools of the trade are so different than they were in the early 1980’s, in one aspect we appear to have come full circle, realizing that a deep understanding of our basins is the critical element in any success.
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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In-Person Training
Cape Town Western Cape South Africa 20 June, 2017 23 June, 2017 38348 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/gtw-ar-exploration-and-development-of-unconventional-hydrocarbon-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Alternative Resources, Coal, Business and Economics, Economics, Resource Estimates, Risk Analysis, Engineering, Development and Operations, Conventional Drilling, Infill Drilling, Drive Mechanisms, Production, Depletion Drive, Hydraulic Fracturing, Primary Recovery, Secondary Recovery, Gas Injection, Water Flooding, Tertiary Recovery, Chemical Flooding Processes, Miscible Recovery, Thermal Recovery Processes, Reservoir Characterization, Environmental, Ground Water, Monitoring, Natural Resources, Pollution, Water Resources, Geochemistry and Basin Modeling, Basin Modeling, Maturation, Migration, Oil and Gas Analysis, Oil Seeps, Petroleum Systems, Source Rock, Thermal History, Oil Shale
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
20-23 June 2017

This workshop provides the opportunity to learn and discuss the latest knowledge, techniques & technologies applied to unconventional reservoirs which can be utilized to explore for and develop these reservoirs. The workshop will provide a set-up for networking, interacting & sharing expertise with fellow petroleum scientists interested in developing and producing unconventional hydrocarbon resources.

Cape Town Western Cape South Africa 20 June, 2017 23 June, 2017 38474 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/gtw-ar-exploration-and-development-of-unconventional-hydrocarbon-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Alternative Resources, Geochemistry and Basin Modeling, Business and Economics, Engineering, Environmental, Basin Modeling, Source Rock, Migration, Petroleum Systems, Thermal History, Oil Seeps, Oil and Gas Analysis, Maturation, Resource Estimates, Risk Analysis, Economics, Reservoir Characterization, Development and Operations, Production, Oil Shale, Coal, Conventional Drilling, Infill Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing, Primary Recovery, Secondary Recovery, Water Flooding, Gas Injection, Tertiary Recovery, Chemical Flooding Processes, Thermal Recovery Processes, Miscible Recovery, Drive Mechanisms, Depletion Drive, Ground Water, Water Resources, Monitoring, Pollution, Natural Resources
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
20-23 June 2017

Led by De Ville Wickens, PhD

Participants of this field excursion will be visiting one of the world's best examples of an ancient basin floor to slope fan complex associated with a fluvial-dominated deltaic system in the Karoo. Basin.

The Karoo basin hosts an inexhaustible amount of information on deepwater and deltaic sedimentation with present day erosion allowing 3D-viewing of laterally continuous (tens of kilometres) outcrops. The objective of this field trip is to attempt a better understanding of the basic depositional processes and facies development of deep-water sedimentation and the implications thereof for reservoir heterogeneity, lateral and vertical bed continuity and resulting reservoir architecture and quality. This two-day field trip will focus on show-casing the Whitehill and Dwyka formation, which are main targets for shale gas development in South Africa.

Online Training
23 April, 2015 23 April, 2015 16809 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/an-analytical-model-for-shale-gas-permeability-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
23 April 2015
Recent laboratory studies have revealed previously unknown behaviors in shale gas which unlock secrets of permeability and sweet spots in shale gas reservoirs. The presentation presents the findings and also goes into detail about how the new information can be applied in order to potentially improve recovery in reservoirs.
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.

31 October, 2012 31 October, 2012 1492 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-3-dimensional-approach-t-hydrocarbon-mapping.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
31 October 2012

This e-symposium will focus on how surface geochemical surveys and Downhole Geochemical Imaging technologies can be utilized jointly to directly characterize the composition of hydrocarbons vertically through the prospect section.

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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