John A.



With the recent shale oil boom in North America, source rocks became a subject of great interest and importance to oil and gas companies worldwide. There is a wealth of data available in the public domain to describe and characterise these prolific source rocks in the different American basins. For the Middle East, the unconventional resources are yet to prosper, hence the need to properly understand the hydrocarbon generators of this region.

The AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop titled “Source Rocks of the Middle East: A World Class Resource for Unconventional?” aims to focus on the geological aspects of the unconventional revolution which is vital to ensure successful Exploration, Appraisal and subsequently Development of the basins in the region. The technical program of the workshop aims to cover a wide range of topics, specifically relevant to the Middle East Region, from the basinal scale down to the cores level.

The titles of the sessions are as follows:

  • Stratigraphy and Sedimentology of Source Rocks in the Middle East Region
  • Existing Practices and Advances in Basin Modeling
  • Source Rocks Geochemistry
  • Source Rocks Geomechanics
  • Petrophysical Evaluation of Source Rocks

In addition to the aforementioned sessions, a dedicated and interactive core display session is offered. This session will link the ideas and concepts discussed during the oral presentations throughout the workshop to the core specimens on display, thus enhancing the knowledge and experience of the attendees.

One of the main distinguishers of this workshop is that it is based and focused on the geology of the source rocks more than hydraulic fracturing. Another key distinguisher is that it is dedicated to improving the understanding of regional source rocks rather than sharing the North American experience.

Workshop Objectives

The workshop aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the source rocks in the Middle East. The technical program is developed in a way that coves the depositional environments and transport processes, basin modeling and detailed rock characterisation including geochemisty, geomechanics and petrophysics. The sessions are focused on the existing best practices and the recent advances in each domain.

Basin Evolution and Prospectivity in Flexural and Rift Basins Call for Abstracts Ends on 31 January, 2022

You are invited to submit abstracts for this workshop on the following topics. The committee has a particular interest in presentations highlighting state-of-the-art concepts, methodologies and case histories. They also seek case studies illustrating the successful implementation of new scientific techniques and technologies.

Submit Abstracts

Abstract Submission Guidelines
  • Abstracts should cover the objectives, procedures, results and conclusions of the research and should be no more than 2,500 characters in length including spaces and punctuation. The title, authors, and authors’ affiliations are not included in the character limit. Abstracts are text-only and may not include figures.
  • Titles are required—they should be brief and state the topic.
  • Abstract titles should not include company names.
  • If your abstract requires company approval, please start the process immediately.
  • In keeping with the spirit of the workshop, presenters must refrain from making subtle or blatant sales pitches including but not limited to: repeated use of product names, trade names, or pictures, or repeated use of company logo.
  • Evaluation and ranking of abstracts are based on relevance and timeliness of subject matter; usefulness of contribution to the advancement of knowledge, techniques, or practice; and overall clarity, organization, and presentation of ideas. The Technical Program Committee is seeking abstracts with direct application to industry.
  • Sessions will be determined from the abstracts submitted to each theme. Sub-themes may not directly correspond to sessions in the final program.
  • Authors will be notified of acceptance or rejection by the end of March 2022.
  • Authors are invited to have their work, both oral and poster presentations, published on AAPG’s online Search and Discovery to preserve their work for future reference. We will need your permission to do it so.
  • Posters will be presented in coffee breaks sessions. The poster booth will consist of one A0 size panel in Portrait mode.
Workshop Sessions:
Session 1: Stratigraphy and Sedimentology of Source Rocks in the Middle East Region

Lying at the core of the world-class Middle Eastern hydrocarbon province is a series of exceptional hydrocarbon source rocks, with a broad range of ages, kerogen types, and organo-facies, deposited in a range of geological environments. Proven source rocks for much of the conventional oil, gas, and condensate volumes discovered to date include the glacial to post-glacial Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian syn-rift source rocks of Oman; the regionally extensive, marine transgressive intervals of the Lower Silurian; and the Tethyan shallow carbonate intra-basinal settings of the Middle to Late Jurassic and Middle Cretaceous. In contrast to the conventional reservoirs targeted to date, unconventional reservoirs generally lack well-defined hydrocarbon-water contacts and include self-sourcing oil and gas shale deposits, coal-bed methane, and some tight sandstone reservoirs. While the organic richness, kerogen types and maturity of these source rocks are generally well understood, the role of these organic-rich intervals and their associated facies as unconventional reservoir targets remains poorly defined on all scales. While a strong focus on the depositional settings, thickness variations, porosity-permeability characteristics, and pressure regimes are important, a more detailed understanding of the mineralogy, lithological variations, brittleness, natural fracture distributions, and stress regimes is key to accessing this untapped potential.

Recently many national oil companies have started to explore and evaluate the potential of making those source rocks economical, while others are yet to start these studies.

This session provides the ideal setting for describing the lithological, sedimentological, and depositional characteristics of these conventional sources in the context of unconventional hydrocarbon exploration and is likely to form the foundation of an exciting new phase of exploration in the region.

Session 2: Existing Practices and Advances in Basin Modeling

With the recent upbeat in the E&P lifecycle and the challenges in finding giant fields, an aggressive exploration campaign has become a necessity to unlock any economically viable hydrocarbon. The prediction of a suitable petroleum system is an integral part of this campaign. A gradual shift from the conventional exploration approach to finding new hydrocarbon is increasingly becoming apparent. The Middle East boasts of multiple excellent source rocks that have contributed to mega-giant fields. These prolific organic-rich formations offer opportunities to develop unconventional plays as well. Notable hybrid systems are the Early Silurian (Qusaiba Member) and Middle-Late Jurassic (Tuwaiq Mountain, Hanifa, Jubaila and their equivalents) source rocks that contain adsorbed hydrocarbons while also charging conventional reservoirs. Improved digital capabilities have enabled a more integrated approach to basin characterization and newly available advanced data and technologies impact the capacity of basin modelling to reduce risk.

Interestingly, some of the organic-rich formations of the Middle East are very tight and may contain toxic compounds. To de-risk such plays, advanced basin modeling approaches use classical adsorption with lab-derived Langmuir parameters, but also compositional models including acid gases such as CO2 and H2S. The integration with petrophysics and geomechanics is becoming rapidly inevitable to unravel the complexities associated with unconventional resources. The use of petrophysical and geochemical data such as mineralogy, TOC content, kerogen volume, fluid typing, pore pressure, and permeability is imperative to understand the evolution and dynamics in 3D space.

The application of geomechanics is required to have any success in unconventional plays, especially in the Middle East, where complexities are associated with the predominant carbonate source rocks. Unconventional production relies on hydraulic fracturing, which cannot be optimally achieved without a proper understanding of the stress field hence, a 3D coupled geomechanical modelling is essential. Lastly, the incorporation of forward stratigraphic modelling of source rocks and organic matter is increasingly used to help to understand the heterogeneities associated with organic matter distribution prior to full 3D coupled basin model simulation.

This session welcomes the submission of unique case studies to discuss existing practices, and advances in basin and petroleum systems modelling that promote the integration of different disciplines to unlock unconventional plays in the Middle East region.

Session 3: Source Rocks Geochemistry

With increasing exploration and development of shale oil plays as compared to the more mature shale gas reservoirs, it has become critical to better understand thermal maturity differences, and variations in fluid types as a function of depositional environments, organic matter preservation or lack of it, and paleo heat flow patterns.

The basic component of a source rock is kerogen (preserved organic matter), which alters and matures to hydrocarbon after being exposed to continuous pressure and temperature. This maturation leads to the generation, expulsion, and migration of the hydrocarbon from the source rock to the reservoir rock. Poor or lack of migration can result in a significant accumulation of producible hydrocarbons within the source rock itself.

Proper characterization of a source rock petroleum system involves understanding both organic and inorganic geochemistry. The objective of this session is to delve into relevant technical information for comprehensive geochemical evaluation of Middle-Eastern source rocks. We invite knowledge sharing and case studies related to the following topics:

  1. Organic Petrology (maceral analyses, OM quality, vitrinite reflectance, maturity, etc)
  2. Organic matter maturation and alteration studies (kerogen typing and quality, transformation index, etc)
  3. Rock Eval and LECO Testing of core and cuttings samples for overall TOC content and maturity inference.
  4. Chemo-stratigraphy (inorganic geochemistry) for basin modeling (ICP , XRF, isotope analysis,etc).
  5. Gas and liquid chromatography of produced crude and oils extracted from core and cuttings samples.
  6. SARA and Biomarker analyses (fingerprinting) of produced crude and extracted oil from rock samples.
  7. Estimating API of produced crude, viscosity, GOR from geochemical analysis of rock samples.
  8. Inference of depositional environments and bio-facies from rock and oil geochemistry.
  9. Quality control and uncertainties in measurements associated with equipment, techniques, drilling mud contamination, Tmax-to-R0 correlations; etc.
Session 4: Source Rocks Geomechanics

Commercial development of unconventional reservoirs is only possible through the utilization of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing practices. Both these technologies require proper understanding of the geomechanical properties and behavior of the target rocks as well as that of the overlying and underlying strata.

The complex depositional processes that produce source rocks result in multi-scale heterogeneities, which significantly influence the mechanical properties and behavior of such reservoirs when subjected to natural and induced stresses. Geomechanical properties of these systems are highly anisotropic in nature, and thus unconventional reservoirs are now more commonly modeled as transverse isotropic for practical applications.

Additionally, most unconventional resource systems are riddled with geological interfaces (slickensides, volcanic ash-beds, mudstone-carbonate boundaries, calcite veins, stylolites, etc), which influence hydraulic fracture propagation and closure. Most of these interfaces are not detectable by standard resolution logs, but are essential for proper modeling of the generated fracture geometries.

The focus of this session is to discuss the multidisciplinary role of geomechanics and its applications in successful development of unconventional reservoirs in the Middle East. Important learnings from worldwide source rocks are welcome but should be limited to strong analogs. Suggested topics are listed below:

  1. Structural and Tectonic influences on in-situ stress regimes.
  2. Relevance of pore pressure and poro-elasticity in mechanical behavior of ultra-tight, nano-pore dominated rocks
  3. Lab measurement of anisotropic mechanical properties (Young’s Moduli, Poisson’s Ratio, fracture toughness, biot coefficient, friction angle, cohesion, UCS, tensile strength, etc).
  4. Geo-mechanical property predictions based on logs and geophysical data.
  5. Geological Interfaces: identification, characterization, and applications in modeling
  6. Natural fractures: How much do they really matter?
  7. Wellbore Stability Modeling
  8. Hydraulic Fracture Modeling
  9. Fracture Diagnostic Techniques (DFIT, FIT, LOT)
  10. Casing deformation during completions and early production.
Session 5: Petrophysical Evaluation of Source Rocks

Organic shales are not only source rocks for conventional reservoirs, but they can become themselves producible reservoirs if the appropriate petrophysical and mechanical conditions are met. In unconventional reservoirs, there are two equally important aspects to evaluate: Reservoir Quality (RQ) and Completion Quality (CQ). RQ refers to the quality of the petrophysical properties required to make the reservoir suitable for commercial development. This includes the evaluation of mineralogy, porosity, TOC content, kerogen volume and maturity, hydrocarbon type, and saturation. Permeability, hydrocarbon producibility, and pore pressure are also important parameters, although they are more difficult to assess in source rocks. Evaluate properly RQ is critical in the early exploration and appraisal stages to assess the commercial viability of a play or a field. The CQ refers to how easy will be to hydraulically frac the rock, how the fracture propagates in the reservoir, and how the stimulation fluids will interact with the formation fluids and minerals. In the vertical pilot wells, the RQ and CQ evaluation helps to identify sweet spots, decide where to land the horizontals, and plan the well trajectory.

Typically, unconventional reservoirs are thoroughly evaluated in vertical pilot wells using extensive log suites, that in addition to basic tribble-combo logs, include advanced measurements such as gamma-ray spectroscopy, NMR, dielectric, full-waveform sonic, and borehole images. Log based model results are compared and calibrated to specialized core analysis. Lateral wells can be evaluated from a combination of logs and cuttings using advanced mud logging techniques.

This session will focus principally on petrophysics workflows and methods integrating logs, core analysis, cuttings analysis and mud logging to evaluate the reservoir quality. We will favor workflows, methodologies, and case studies developed or customized for the Middle East unconventional reservoirs. We can also accept case studies comparing Middle East source rocks to analog examples in other unconventional plays or showing techniques that can be applied or adapted to the middle eastern reservoirs.

Session 6: Unconventional Geophysics for Unconventional Plays

Over the last decades, the oil and gas industry has evolved delivering new technologies that have entirely changed business fundamentals. A significant change is in the perception of fine-grained, organic-rich rock treated as a source rock reservoir rather than part of a conventional petroleum system. The Middle East has a number of very tight organic-rich formations that offer a great opportunity to be developed as part of unconventional plays. The challenge remains in developing fit-for-purpose technologies, critical to understand reservoir complexities, increasing production, and maintaining costs and time efficiency.

Geophysical data play a critical role in unconventional developments as a unique tool that delineates properties away from the wellbore. 3D seismic imaging data contributes to the mapping of structural complexities and weakness zones in the subsurface allowing for robust closure stress prediction. Further, through AVO inversion, we are able to make predictions for elastic properties linking rock minerals, porosity, and fluid properties. Surface seismic can be complemented by micro-seismic acquired data to estimate the simulated rock volume and fine-tune operational parameters. Finally, full dynamic integration of AVO attributes derived from seismic with paleo-stresses and structural evolution and with drilling and fracking data provides a new avenue of data mining. Furthermore, additional work is needed to facilitate the integration of geophysical data with geo-mechanics and geo-modeling to optimize our operations and reduce exploration risks.

This session welcomes the submission of unique case studies highlighting new approaches and advancements in geophysical data conditioning/integration workflows that prompts multi-disciplinary methodologies to unlock unconventional plays in the Middle East.


Intercontinental Regency Hotel
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Bahrain, Manama - Intercontinental Regency Hotel Bahrain, Manama - Intercontinental Regency Hotel New Date 55566 Intercontinental Regency Hotel



Xavier Ravi Moonan Xavier Moonan Chair Exploration Manager and Senior Geoscientist, Touchstone Exploration, Trinidad Tobago
Xavier Ravi Moonan Xavier Moonan Chair Exploration Manager and Senior Geoscientist, Touchstone Exploration, Trinidad Tobago
Xavier Ravi Moonan Xavier Moonan Chair Exploration Manager and Senior Geoscientist, Touchstone Exploration, Trinidad Tobago
Steven Loring Veal Steven Veal Committee Director USA
Jonathan M. Brady Jonathan Brady Council Member Geologist - PG, CPG, USA
Joseph Carl Fiduk, PhD Joseph Fiduk Council Member Fiduk Consulting, LLC, USA
Ronald Blake Meers Ronald Meers Council Member Consultant, USA
Sarah G. Stanley Sarah Stanley Council Member Mrs., Geophysical Insights, USA
Mary Louise Van Der Loop Mary Van Der Loop Council Member Sanctuary Oaks Consultants Int'l, USA
Ralph Wayne Baird Ralph Baird Alternate Council Member Founder/President, Baird Petrophysical International, USA
Bruce A. Falkenstein Bruce Falkenstein Alternate Council Member Consultant, USA
Jon Brenizer Jon Brenizer Council Member Senior Geologist, Devon Energy, USA
Donald G. Burdick Donald Burdick Council Member CEO, Olifant Energy, USA
Michael Joseph Bone Michael Bone Alternate Council Member Geologist, USA
Douglas Vincent Davis, Jr. Douglas Davis Jr. Alternate Council Member Consulting Geologist, D-EX Production Co., USA
Nathan Alan Randolph Nathan Randolph Vice President Geologist, Pablo Energy II, LLC, USA
Peter Dekker Peter Dekker Council Member Chief Geophysicist, PetroSA, South Africa
Michael McWalter Michael McWalter Council Member Special Advisor, Oil Search Ltd , Papua New Guinea
Johannes Alvarez Johannes Alvarez Program Chair Chevron, USA
Stephanie Perry Stephanie Perry Program Chair Chief Petrophysical Advisor, GeoMark Research, USA
Scott W. Singleton Scott Singleton Program Chair Independence Resources Management, USA
Katerina Yared Katerina Yared Program Chair Elect Petrophysicist P.G. PMP, SM Energy, USA
John Richard Hogg John Hogg Council Member Skybattle Resources Ltd., Skybattle Resources Ltd., Canada
Robert Archer Hull Robert Hull Theme Chair Consultant, USA
Craig Cipolla Craig Cipolla Theme Chair Hess Corporation , USA
Alejandro Lerza Alejandro Lerza Theme Chair Chevron, Argentina
Luis  Baez Luis Baez Theme Chair Shell Exploration and Production Company, USA
Jayne Alexandra Sloan Jayne Sloan Theme Chair Geologist, Centennial Resource Development, USA
Jayne Alexandra Sloan Jayne Sloan Theme Chair Geologist, Centennial Resource Development, USA
Brian W. Driskill Brian Driskill Theme Chair Shell Exploration and Production Co., USA
Isaac Aviles Isaac Aviles Theme Chair Schlumberger, USA
Baosheng Liang Baosheng Liang Theme Chair Research Scientist, Chevron Energy Tech. Co., USA
Michael P. Ashby Michael Ashby Theme Chair Devon, USA
Felipe Bayón Felipe Bayón Honorary Chair Ecopetrol
Douglas Nelson Valleau Douglas Valleau Theme Chair President, Strategia Innovation & Technology Advisors. LLc, USA
Victor H. Vega Victor Vega General Chair Exploration Business Development Manager, Frontera Energy, USA
David William Hume David Hume Theme Chair Business Development , Independent Consultant, USA
Elsa Jeanneth Jaimes Elsa Jaimes General Vice Chair Ecopetrol, Colombia
Matthew Troy Poole Matthew Poole Theme Chair Shell Exploration and Production, USA
Carlos Macellari, PhD Carlos Macellari Technical Program Co-Chair Consultant, Spain
Didi Mey Ooi Didi Ooi Theme Chair Occidental Petroleum, USA
Andrew  Munoz Andrew Munoz Theme Chair Ensign Natural Resources, USA
Tomas Villamil, PhD Tomas Villamil Technical Program Co-Chair C&C Energy, Colombia
Miguel Ramirez Miguel Ramirez Judging Chair Consultant, USA
Andrew Jude Lewis Andrew Lewis Theme Chair Technology Manager, Fairfield Geotechnologies, USA
Leonardo Jimenez Leonardo Jimenez Field Trip Chair Ecopetrol S.A., Colombia
Marianne  Rauch Marianne Rauch Theme Chair Principal Technical Advisor, multi client onshore, TGS, USA
Carlos Molinares-Blanco Carlos Molinares-Blanco Short Course Chair Exploration Geophysicist, SierraCol Energy, Colombia
Orlando Jose Teran Orlando Teran Theme Chair Ovintiv, USA
Ahmad Ghassemi Ahmad Ghassemi Theme Chair The University of Oklahoma, USA
Yunhui Tan Yunhui Tan Theme Chair USA
Ruiting Wu Ruiting Wu Theme Chair Chevron
Mohit Khanna, PhD Mohit Khanna Council Member Dr, Jersey Oil & Gas, UK
Deepak Gokaraju Deepak Gokaraju Theme Chair Meta Rock Lab, USA
Craig Barrie Craig Barrie Theme Chair Applied Petroleum Technology, USA
Jason Jweda Jason Jweda Theme Chair ConocoPhillips, USA
Liang Xu Liang Xu Theme Chair Evonik
Wei Wang Wei Wang Theme Chair Chevron
Birol Dindoruk Birol Dindoruk Theme Chair University of Houston
Sebastien F. Matringe Sebastien Matringe Theme Chair Hess Corporation, USA
Bin Yuan Bin Yuan Theme Chair China University of Petroleum
Yongshe Liu Yongshe Liu Theme Chair ConocoPhillips
Enrique Velasquez Enrique Velasquez Local Programs Chair President 2020-2021, ACGGP, Colombia
George Koperna George Koperna Theme Chair Advanced Resources Int'l Inc, USA
Hosein Kalaei Hosein Kalaei Theme Chair ConocoPhillips
Paula Marcela Ramirez Paula Ramirez Student Activities Co-Chair SierraCol Energy Colombia, Colombia
Amit Singh Amit Singh Theme Chair Chevron
Gabriel  Wilkinson Gabriel Wilkinson Student Activities Co-Chair Independent, Venezuela
Laura Alejandra Becerra Silva Laura Alejandra Becerra Silva Young Professionals Activities Co-Chair Geologist Engineer, ACGGP, Colombia
Denise Benoit Denise Benoit Theme Chair Halliburton
Amrit Mahendra Cooblal Amrit Cooblal Young Professionals Activities Co-Chair Graduate Geoscientist, BHP, Trinidad Tobago
Susan Howes Susan Howes Theme Chair Subsurface Consultants & Associates, LLC, USA
Alexsandra  Martinez Alexsandra Martinez Theme Chair DeGolyer and MacNaughton, USA
Mayra Liseth Vargas Mayra Vargas AAPG Women's Network Liason Geologist, Shell, Colombia
Andrea Lopez Andrea Lopez Student-YP Leadership Summit Chair Total Energies
Katie Essary Katie Essary Theme Chair Chevron, USA
Andrei Belopolsky Andrei Belopolsky Technical Program Theme Chair Senior Exploration Advisor, Suriname Offshore Exploration, TotalEnergies, USA
Autumn Shannon Autumn Shannon Theme Chair Marathon Oil, USA
Juan Pablo Lovecchio Juan Lovecchio Technical Program Theme Chair YPF, Argentina
Andres Roberto Mora Bohorquez Andres Mora Bohorquez Technical Program Theme Chair Ecopetrol - ICP, Colombia
Gonzalo A. Zamora Valcarce Gonzalo Zamora Valcarce Technical Program Theme Chair Structural Geology Manager, Repsol, Spain
Oscar Fernandez Oscar Fernandez Chair Univiersity of Vienna, Austria
Stephen A. Sonnenberg Stephen Sonnenberg General Chair Professor, Colorado School of Mines, USA
Uaapi  Utjavari Uaapi Utjavari Chair VP exploration Africa Region , Azinam Limited, Namibia
Andras  Nemeth Andras Nemeth Co-Chair Exploration project manager, MOL, Hungary
Keith Chan Keith Chan Convener Exploration Geoscientist, Regional Ventures (APAC), Shell Malaysia Limited, Malaysia
Flavio Feijo Flavio Feijo Council Member Geologist, Independent, Brazil
Julie Ellen Shemeta Julie Shemeta SEG General Chair MEQ Geo Inc. , USA
Ian Troth Ian Troth Technical Program Theme Chair Equinor, Brazil
Christoph Leitner Christoph Leitner Chair iC consulenten & University of Salzburg, Austria
Gabor Tari Gabor Tari Co-Chair OMV Upstream, Austria
Yolanda Mberirua Yolanda Mberirua Committee Member BW Energy, Namibia
Catherine Elizabeth Campbell Catherine Campbell AAPG General Vice Chair Programs Senior Geologist, Camino Natural Resources, USA
Vanessa Raquel Kertznus Vanessa Kertznus Technical Program Theme Chair Team Leader Brazil Exploration, Shell Brasil Petróleo Ltda., Brazil
Eugene Garth Rhodes Eugene Rhodes Plenary Session Subcommittee Co-Chair Pioneer Natural Resources, USA
Giovanni Aloisi Giovanni Aloisi Committee Member University of Paris, France
Klaus Endresen Klaus Endresen Committee Member BW Kudu
Kaura Kaura Kaura Kaura Committee Member Consultant
Piotr Krzywiec Piotr Krzywiec Committee Member Associate Professor, Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Linda Stalker Linda Stalker Committee Member Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO, Australia
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