Inaugural event in Istanbul

APPEX Regional Starts Strong

Contributors: Ciaran Larkin

Nearly 200 attendees from 29 countries attended the inaugural APPEX Regional 2012 event, held Nov. 8-9 in Istanbul, Turkey, and organized in association with Turkey’s National Oil Company, TPAO.

The participants came together to make deals and discuss challenges relating to the regional exploration of eastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean region, the former Soviet Union and northern Iraq.

The event was built on the success of the annual APPEX Global conference in London, an established forum for those looking to build partnerships and promote prospects for exploration and production all over the world.

The inaugural APPEX Regional venue was Istanbul’s Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel. Tankers passing through the Bosphorus strait were clearly visible from the upper floors, emphasizing the region’s position as a hub of activity for the oil and gas industry.

“TPAO was delighted to be the key sponsor of the first ever Regional APPEX event held in Istanbul, (which) brought together the right people from the region and beyond,” said Mehmet Uysal, TPAO chairman and president. “The excellent topical speaker sessions were invaluable and the networking opportunities were highly useful – and combined with the established APPEX format, ensured the deal making was a more straightforward process.”

The program itself was split geographically, starting with a broad focus on central and eastern Europe and then diverging into specific sessions on the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, northern Iraq, the former Soviet Union and east Mediterranean.

Highlights included:

Tony Hayward, CEO of Genel Energy, gave an account of his company’s exploration activities in Kurdistan and put forward a timeline for oil supply to Turkey.

Alex Jackson, political risk analyst for Menas Associates, spoke about maritime border issues in the Caspian Sea, providing an expert legal perspective on the prospects for diplomatic confrontation between countries that are building naval capacity in the region.

Lilit Cota, director of exploration projects in southeast Europe for INA, gave a presentation on offshore oil and gas exploration in Croatia with an emphasis on the Adriatic Sea, in particular, as well as additional information on the challenges of operating in a new legal environment.

A unique aspect of APPEX is the popular prospect forum, which gives independent oil companies an opportunity to pitch current exploration opportunities to the audience. APPEX Regional 2012 featured a wide range of prospects from places such as Italy, Tunisia, the Sicily channel, Albania, the Arabian Sea and, of course, Turkey.

A gala celebration dinner organized by TPAO was held the final day, and the attendees’ feedback was encouraging, including these comments:

  • “Participating in APPEX was really a pleasure for me. I had opportunities to listen to relevant presentations and meet a lot of experts.”
  • “Thanks for the excellent organization and for hosting us in Istanbul.”
  • “It was thoroughly enjoyable and useful, and all the delegates I spoke to about it said the same. Looking forward to next year’s event already!”

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Regions and Sections

Regions and Sections Column - Carol McGowen
Carol Cain McGowen is the development manager for AAPG's Regions and Sections. She may be contacted via email , or telephone at 1-918-560-9403.

Ciaran Larkin is a conference producer for AAPG’s London office.

Regions and Sections Column

Regions and Sections is a regular column in the EXPLORER offering news for and about AAPG's six international Regions and six U.S. Sections. News items, press releases and other information should be submitted via email or to: EXPLORER - Regions and Sections, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, OK 74101. 

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The geometries of clay smears produced in a series of direct shear experiments on composite blocks containing a clay-rich seal layer sandwiched between sandstone reservoir layers have been analyzed in detail. The geometries of the evolving shear zones and volume clay distributions are related back to the monitored hydraulic response, the deformation conditions, and the clay content and strength of the seal rock. The laboratory experiments were conducted under 4 to 24 MPa (580–3481 psi) fault normal effective stress, equivalent to burial depths spanning from less than approximately 0.8 to 4.2 km (0.5 to 2.6 mi) in a sedimentary basin. The sheared blocks were imaged using medical-type x-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging validated with optical photography of sawn blocks. The interpretation of CT scans was used to construct digital geomodels of clay smears and surrounding volumes from which quantitative information was obtained. The distribution patterns and thickness variations of the clay smears were found to vary considerably according to the level of stress applied during shear and to the brittleness of the seal layer. The stiffest seal layers with the lowest clay percentage formed the most segmented clay smears. Segmentation does not necessarily indicate that the fault seal was breached because wear products may maintain the seal between the individual smear segments as they form. In experiments with the seal layer formed of softer clays, a more uniform smear thickness is observed, but the average thickness of the clay smear tends to be lower than in stiffer clays. Fault drag and tapering of the seal layer are limited to a region close to the fault cutoffs. Therefore, the comparative decrease of sealing potential away from the cutoff zones differs from predictions of clay smear potential type models. Instead of showing a power-law decrease away from the cutoffs toward the midpoint of the shear zone, the clay smear thickness is either uniform, segmented, or undulating, reflecting the accumulated effects of kinematic processes other than drag. Increased normal stress improved fault sealing in the experiments mainly by increasing fault zone thickness, which led to more clay involvement in the fault zone per unit of source layer thickness. The average clay fraction of the fault zone conforms to the prediction of the shale gouge ratio (SGR) model because clay volume is essentially preserved during the deformation process. However, the hydraulic seal performance does not correlate to the clay fraction or SGR but does increase as the net clay volume in the fault zone increases. We introduce a scaled form of SGR called SSGR to account for increased clay involvement in the fault zone caused by higher stress and variable obliquity of the seal layer to the fault zone. The scaled SGR gives an improved correlation to seal performance in our samples compared to the other algorithms.
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