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Geomechanics and Fracture Analysis

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Here at headquarters we are busy with final preparations for the trip to Pittsburgh for AAPG’sAnnual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) from May 19-22. 

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Explorer Emphasis Article

Terry Engelder is a professor at Penn State and expert on the Devonian black shales – all of which has brought a bit of celebrity expertise to the campus and the Marcellus Shale.

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A joint AAPG–Society of Petroleum Engineers–Society of Exploration Geophysicists Hedberg Research Conference was held in Saint-Cyr sur Mer, France, on July 8 to 13, 2012, to review current research and explore future research directions related to improved production from carbonate reservoirs. Eighty-seven scientists from academia and industry (split roughly equally) attended for five days. A primary objective for the conference was to explore novel connections among different disciplines (primarily within geoscience and reservoir engineering) as a way to define new research opportunities. Research areas represented included carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, structural geology, geomechanics, hydrology, reactive transport modeling, seismic imaging (including four-dimensional seismic, tomography, and seismic forward modeling), geologic modeling and forward modeling of geologic processes, petrophysics, statistical methods, numerical methods for simulation, reservoir engineering, pore-scale processes, in-situ flow experiments (e.g., x-ray computed tomography), visualization, and methods for data interaction.
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What happens in the reservoir following hydrofracturing? Microseismic monitoring is providing some important answers.

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Outcrops of the Cretaceous high-porosity sandstone of the Southeast Basin, France, show two main types of deformation structures: a large number of small-offset, shear-enhanced cataclastic deformation bands (DBs); and a small number of large (meters to decameters)-offset ultracataclastic fault zones. Microstructural analyses of the cataclastic DBs show that fragmentation produces strands of cataclastic fragment-supported matrix, separated by weakly fractured host rock, which cluster to form the DBs. The ultracataclastic fault zones, however, are composed of a matrix-supported ultracataclasite material. Permeability data show that the DBs reduce host-rock permeability by 0.5 to 2 orders of magnitude, whereas the ultracataclasites reduce permeability by approximately 4 orders. Simple calculations considering the structural frequency, thickness, and permeability of these faults suggest that, although the DBs may have an impact on single-phase flow, it is most likely to be less than a 50% reduction in flow rate in extensional contexts, but it may be more severe in the most extreme cases of structural density in tectonic shortening contexts. The larger ultracataclastic faults, however, despite their much lower frequency, will have a more significant reduction in flow rate, probably of approximately 90 to 95%. Hence, although they are commonly at or below the limit of seismic resolution, the detection and/or prediction of such ultracataclastic faults is likely to be more important for single-phase flow problems than DBs (although important two-phase questions remain). The study also suggests that it is inappropriate to use the petrophysical properties of core-scale DB structures as analogs to larger seismic-scale faults.
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The American Association of Petroleum Geologists sponsored a Hedberg Research Conference on Enhanced Geothermal Systems in Napa, California, March 18 to 23, 2011. The workshop was attended by 67 participants from 10 different countries: United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway.
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Explorer Geophysical Corner

Microseismic technology is crucial these days for understanding reservoirs and planning development programs.

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We do not dispute that the pores shown in the photomicrograph of figure 8G of Beavington-Penney et al. (2008; reproduced here as Figure 1) could have formed at least partly by poststylolite dissolution, but we do not agree that this photomicrograph constitutes evidence for porosity creation by mesogenetic dissolution in the El Garia Formation of offshore Tunisia. Our skepticism is based on two main considerations: (1) that the multiple possible origins of the pores shown in Figure 1 cannot be determined with any meaningful degree of objective certainty and (2) that Figure 1 appears to be unrepresentative of pore types in the El Garia Formation, based on comparison with numerous other published images from this unit.
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Volumetric restoration can provide crucial insights into the structural evolution of three-dimensional (3-D) petroleum systems. A major limitation to its widespread application is the need to include complex architectures and realistic mechanics such as flexural slip. We apply an implicit approach that allows for, including unconformities, thin and/or pinched-out layers in the models but that cannot explicitly localize slip along horizons. To take advantage of this approach while accounting for flexural slip in 3-D restoration, we investigate new geomechanical properties. We consider flexural slip folding as a result of stacked rigid and thin weak layers, which can be modeled using transversely isotropic properties. We compare restorations of an anticline using transversely isotropic properties, isotropic properties, and a stack of rigid isotropic layers with nonfrictional slip between the layers. Our results show that transversely isotropic properties reasonably approximate flexural slip folding. We use these new tools to model the evolution of a complex system located in the Niger Delta toe. The system includes a detachment fold, a fault-bend fold, and a structural wedge formed in series. Growth stratigraphy and erosional surfaces delimit the kinematics of deformation. Regional erosive surfaces, 3-D gradients of fault slip, and vertical variations in mechanical strength motivated the use of our new restoration techniques. Restoring two growth units results not only in reinforcing the interpretation that the area is behaving as a deforming thrust sheet at critical taper, but also in highlighting coeval activity on both the hinterland structures and the toe of the thrust belt.
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One of the AAPG Executive Committee’s priorities during the first five months of this fiscal year has been to study the Association’s science program with the goal of creating new conduits for generating and disseminating scientific content.

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In-Person Training
Houston Texas United States 12 November, 2014 12 November, 2014 10555
 
Houston, Texas, United States
12 November 2014

This course is a practical approach to defining reservoir fluid and pressure related natural fracture generation and fracture property alteration in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

Houston Texas United States 13 November, 2014 13 November, 2014 10566
 
Houston, Texas, United States
13 November 2014

This interdisciplinary course encompasses the fields of rock mechanics, structural geology and petroleum engineering to address a wide range of geomechanical problems that arise during the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs.

Houston Texas United States 13 November, 2014 13 November, 2014 10379
 
Houston, Texas, United States
13 November 2014

This course is an introduction to the Bakken/Three Forks resource play.

Oklahoma City Oklahoma United States 19 February, 2015 19 February, 2015 11378
 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
19 February 2015

This year’s Mississippian Lime Forum unleashes science, technology, and experience to solve persistent puzzles, and dramatically improve economics. Consider 2015 a breakthrough year as new, sometimes controversial new techniques and technologies are being implemented for the first time.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7813
 
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7816
 
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7812
 
14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7815
 
Online Training
29 September, 2011 29 September, 2011 1478
 
29 September 2011

This study will focus in the combination of λρ – μρ inversion with clustering analysis techniques in order to discriminate brittle zones in the Barnett Shale.

15 March, 2012 15 March, 2012 1484
 
15 March 2012

This e-symposium presents techniques for predicting pore pressure in seals by examining case studies from the Gulf of Mexico and incorporating the relationship between rocks, fluids, stress, and pressure.

07 June, 2012 07 June, 2012 1488
 
7 June 2012

Unger Field, discovered in1955, has produced 8.6 million barrels of oil from a thinly (several ft) bedded, locally cherty dolomite containing vuggy and intercrystalline porosity.

09 February, 2012 09 February, 2012 1477
 
9 February 2012

Projects in several shales will be discussed, including Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Fayetteville, Montney, and Barnett, as will several seismically-detectable drivers for success including lithofacies, stress, pre-existing fractures, and pore pressure.

20 January, 2012 20 January, 2012 1482
 
20 January 2012

The Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas is one of the more exciting shale plays in the United States at the current time.

12 July, 2012 12 July, 2012 1490
 
12 July 2012

This presentation will look at well placement vertically in the pay, well azimuth and well trajectory with explanations of how geology and post-depositional effects can make the difference between a successful well and a failure.

16 February, 2012 16 February, 2012 1483
 
16 February 2012

This presentation describes a proven workflow that uses a standard narrow azimuth 3D seismic, conventional logs, image logs and core data to build five key reservoir properties required for an optimal development of shale plays.

10 May, 2012 10 May, 2012 1486
 
10 May 2012

Recognition and Correlation of the Eagle Ford, Austin Formations in South Texas can be enhanced with High Resolution Biostratigraphy, fossil abundance peaks and Maximum Flooding Surfaces correlated to Upper Cretaceous sequence stratigraphic cycle chart after Gradstein, 2010.

04 October, 2012 04 October, 2012 1491
 
4 October 2012

Effective hydraulic fracture stimulation is critical for shale development, and microseismic is the only technology able to map the growth of these hydraulic fracture networks.

25 August, 2011 25 August, 2011 1475
 
25 August 2011

This e-symposium provides highlights of the hydraulic fracturing mechanics, analysis, and design, and is derived from a two and one-half (2-1/2) day course which is designed for drilling, completion, production engineers, engineering technicians, geologists, well-site and completion supervisors, and managers, who desire to possess a comprehensive and integral knowledge of Hydraulic Fracturing.

17 March, 2011 17 March, 2011 1470
 
17 March 2011

This e-symposium will provide information on which tools, processes, and procedures all geoscientists, engineers, and technical professionals working in shale plays need to understand and implement.

09 December, 2010 09 December, 2010 1466
 
9 December 2010

The Mississippian-Devonian Bakken Petroleum System of the Williston Basin is characterized by low-porosity and permeability reservoirs, organic-rich source rocks, and regional hydrocarbon charge.

21 October, 2010 21 October, 2010 1464
 
21 October 2010

This e-symposium covers how to conduct an interdisciplinary evaluation of mature fields to determine the best approach to recover remaining reserves.

22 July, 2010 22 July, 2010 1461
 
22 July 2010

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to describe geomechanics in shale reservoirs and discuss differences between plays.

03 June, 2010 03 June, 2010 1460
 
3 June 2010

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to describe faults and fractures in carbonates, black shales, and coarser clastics as they occur in the northern Appalachian Basin.

25 March, 2010 25 March, 2010 1458
 
25 March 2010

The presentation describes a well established fracture modeling workflow that uses a standard 3D seismic, conventional logs, image logs and data from one core to build predictive 3D fracture models that are validated with blind wells.

25 January, 2011 25 January, 2011 1454
 
25 January 2011

This esymposium takes a close look at workflows associated with resource plays, and analyzes where integration must occur between disciplines, data, and workflows at all phases of the process.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7817
 
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