Many geologists have earned their field trip stripes in the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas, but fewer have heard – and braved the dangers – of hiking the mysterious and mineral-rich Franklin Mountains north of El Paso. The Franklin Mountain region is a west-tilting series of horst blocks that became 5,000-7,200-foot tall mountains as a result of the Laramide orogeny. The sheer eastern escarpment exposes rocks dating from the Pennsylvanian down to 1.25-billion-year-old basement granite. It was a “field trip through time” focused on the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian formations, representing more than 100 million years of geologic history.
Civilization can only exist with energy. Petroleum provides most of the energy and products we need to live environmentally responsible, healthy, sustainable and comfortable lives. Recent events in Europe prove that petroleum continues to be critical. In the first three articles of this series, we discussed the petroleum base “wedge” to various energy sources, the skill sets needed to find petroleum (and the resources offered by AAPG to develop those skills) and the unintended consequences and limits to alternative low-density energy machines. We should also explore why petroleum matters.
The AAPG Southwest Section Convention explored a four-dimensional multiverse of geology and reservoirs, combining regional overviews with multi-scale measurements of rocks and sediments, and analyzing rocks in the fourth dimension of geologic time. The result is “Resology,” which general chair Ben Davis defines as “the study of geology and rock reservoirs at big and small scales.” He told conference attendees, “The goal of Resology is effective and efficient hydrocarbon production.”
The September 2021 Geophysical Corner was an article entitled ‘3-D Visualization and Geobody Picking of Amplitude Anomalies in Deepwater Seismic Data,’ in which we reviewed the use of geobody tools to rapidly visualize the extent of geologic features that give rise to a strong seismic amplitude response. For seismically thin reservoirs, the response of a gas-saturated sandstone gives rise to a trough at the top and a peak at the base. In this case, we would need to select two separate geobodies to map the reservoir.
The small town of Cunningham, Kansas lies about 65 miles straight west of Wichita on U.S. Highway 54. It was incorporated in 1887 as a commercial center for farmers and ranchers in that part of south-central Kansas. Hard winter wheat was the main cash crop, while herds of beef and dairy cattle were a close second source of income. This activity characterized the culture of Cunningham into the early years of the 20th century. That is, until a new industry was introduced to Kansas when, in 1915, oil was discovered in the El Dorado field northeast of Wichita.
How the oil and gas business finds investors is changing. Again. But it may change back. Or not. “The private equity firms that have traditionally funded new hydrocarbon companies are facing new pressure from their investors to stop placing capital in oil and gas, and the desire for quick profit – or even profit at all – has become secondary to a perceived battle against carbon dioxide,” said Don Burdick, who understands how counterintuitive not making a profit sounds. On the surface, it’s a startling development.
And we’re back. With high oil and gas prices and strong demand driving renewed interest in production, the energy industry is returning to the unconventional resources business in a big way. The upcoming Unconventional Resources Technology Conference is once again an in-person meeting, back in Houston this month, June 20-22, with a major emphasis on practical ways to boost output and introduce efficiencies.
Put pressure on the United States to increase oil and natural gas production and the burden mainly falls on unconventional resources. Will operators be up to the challenge? Near-term projections call for U.S. oil output to grow by 1 million barrels per day. A difficult operating environment will make that increase a struggle, but the very nature of unconventionals offers cause for optimism.
Wars and international conflicts often bring out the worst in humanity, but they also inspire acts of resilience, solidarity and generosity. The 2022 war between Russia and Ukraine is no exception. While images shared through news broadcasts and social media posts have shocked a global audience and led many to despair, they have also served to mobilize others to reach out and do their part to relieve the suffering. This article is the first in a two-part series about Ukrainian geologist refugees who fled the conflict in their homeland and received assistance from the geoscience community in Poland and abroad. Their stories provide a glimmer of hope and a call to action during a time of tremendous challenge and opportunity.
The AAPG Advisory Council is entrusted with matters involving ethics and discipline, long-range planning, constitutional review, nominations for officers and honors and awards and other special projects as requested by the Executive Committee. That long-range planning piece is very important, yet easily lost in the flurry of nominations and honors and awards. Fortunately, under the leadership of past presidents Rick Fritz, Mike Party and Denise Cox, the AC is examining the status of geoscientists and how they are viewed within the industry and by the public, the future of petroleum and energy, and the future for geoscientists.
Claudia J. Hackbarth, a Houston-based geologist who has held a variety of management and leadership positions for the Royal Dutch Shell Group, assumed the presidency of AAPG on July 1.
Executive summary of the AAPG 2022 Member/Customer Planning Survey
AAPG publications are widely read by geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers. Are they your target audience? Then take advantage of the many advertising opportunities available in AAPG’s news and journal magazines.
Courtesy of AAPG and AAPG Datapages, two Discovery Series data sets have been donated free of charge for use as online teaching materials. Discovery Series 10 – Sandstone Petrology: A Tutorial Petrographic Image Atlas 2nd Edition and Discovery Series 15 – Carbonate Petrology: Interactive Petrography Tutorial, both authored by Kitty Milliken, have been posted online for easy accessibility.
Results of the 2022 AAPG Member/Customer Planning Survey.
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