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We are development geologists working the Permian, and from where we are sitting, it feels as though, as an industry, we are just beginning to figure out how to develop large-scale unconventional plays and work as unconventional geologists. We are going through a revolution that will change – not just unconventional development – but all subsurface work. However, resumes of entry-level geoscientists, industry conferences and a general finger-on-the-pulse feel of the current state of the industry lead us to believe that we have a great deal of room to grow. The good news is, it has never been easier to join the movement, and young professionals are well positioned to take the lead.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Geophysical Corner

Blending of seismic attributes with additive primary colors is a standard visualization procedure used by interpreters to integrate the information contained in them and carry out comprehensive interpretation. In the December 2019 and February 2020 installments of Geophysical Corner, we described how color is perceived by the human eye, and how colors are rendered on interpretation workstation monitors. We also described the additive RGB color model which forms the working model for computer monitors, as well as the subtractive CMYK model and the HSV and HSL color models frequently used for covisualizing seismic attributes.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

“Transmission, generally, is a bipartisan issue.” That hopeful note on the national energy grid, specifically the need to fortify, improve and expand it so Americans can efficiently get the energy they need – and in the midst of all the rancor about what the president’s infrastructure bill will or will not ultimately encompass – comes from Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. The reason there seems to be bipartisan support on the grid is in part, he said, because regardless of party affiliation, Americans have come to rely on being able to access the energy we need. Making sure that is always the case, made more complicated by all the new energy sources that will soon travel the grid, was the topic of a recent GE-sponsored Axios event on the transmission of energy, it’s resilience, sustainability – and reinvention.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Analog traps are an important part of any geoscientist’s tool kit, and there is no better source than understanding how giant fields form and have been found by past and current generations of explorers. My sojourn into learning about these big fields was in the mid-1980s at Amoco in Denver, part of a task force charged with understanding how to better explore for big, subtle, stratigraphic and combination traps. Meeting weekly for lunch for several months, a team of us reviewed Amoco’s proprietary “Red Book” – a collection of summaries of giant fields worldwide, which included maps and rock properties, but, more importantly, the strategy used in finding each field. In addition, we pulled heavily from AAPG giant fields publications compiled from hundreds of AAPG volunteers.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Kathryn Ball didn’t move from geology to data engineering on a whim. “It’s called survival. With all the changes in the industry, you have to reinvent yourself,” she said. She called that switch from geoscience “a left turn in my career” and described her formative experiences in data engineering as “a painful time. But I got to learn about systems, about processes, and how data has to be to do analytics.” Computing and data skills are now the number-one, most in-demand skills for industry worldwide, Ball noted, and that needs to be a wake-up call for petroleum geoscientists.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

In a famous exchange from the movie “The Graduate,” Mr. McGuire says to the young Benjamin Braddock, “I want to say one word to you. Just one word: Plastics.” If Ben Braddock happened to be a geology student today, Mr. McGuire would no doubt say two words: “Data science.”

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

In a world where everything seems to be connected – information, technology, viruses – it only makes sense that geological data should be the same. The reality, however, is different. Geological data collected by individuals, companies and academic institutions across the world over hundreds of years is scattered across the globe and stored in different formats. “At the moment geoscience is really held back in many areas because we haven’t managed to set data free. It’s still in isolated databases, or even worse, in analogue form,” said Michael Stephenson, who is part of a group of scientists spanning three dozen countries who are working to consolidate worldwide data into a searchable platform, Deep-time Digital Earth, described by some as a “geological Google.”

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Just as Alaska was bracing itself for the economic fallout of the Biden administration’s adversarial stance on oil and gas, two recent court decisions are giving the state hope. On June 15, a federal judge lifted the administration’s temporary ban on federal lease sales, clearing the way for a highly anticipated lease sale in the prolific National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. And, on May 26, a brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice affirmed that the Willow Project, a major discovery in NPRA that has been tied up in environmental-related lawsuits, complies with environmental regulations. While it remains unclear how soon the NPRA lease sale can take place, it is expected that the Willow project, one of the North Slope’s largest projects in recent years, will move forward.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The Mars Perseverance rover has achieved many milestones with more than 100 sols of exploration on the Red Planet. Perseverance and its operators at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have tested all of the rover’s cameras and instruments. The rover has returned more than 76,000 raw images that are loaded in the mission multimedia catalog available online to everyone. The Ingenuity Mars helicopter has been deployed while Perseverance monitored and relayed all seven successful flights. Now, with three more flight credits, Perseverance and Ingenuity are traveling south exploring Jezero crater together.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

Welcome to an interview with Herman Darman, whose career in petroleum geology is now transitioning to geothermal energy, particularly in Indonesia, where there are volcanoes as well as repurposeable oil and gas wells.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Palermo, Italy
Thursday, 25 April 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Time: TBC Attendee Limit: Minimum 15 - Maximum 50 People Fee: TBC Registration Deadline: TBC Field Trip Rendezvous Point Hotel nH Palermo This one-day field trip will provide an introduction to a Miocene-Pliocene succession of southern Sicily, which includes outcrops of the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), as well as the Messinian-Zanclean GSSP (Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Point) and Zanclean stratotype. The MSC sedimentary record consists of an evaporitic-carbonate unit at the base (the Basal Limestone), overlain the Lower Gypsum unit, in turn overlain by the Upper Gypsum unit, and sealed by transgressive chalk deposits of the Trubi Fm. The Lower Gypsum unit (massive gypsum with cm-sized selenite crystals) will be visited along the beach of Siculiana Marina (about 15 km NW of Agrigento). Next, we will visit near Capo Rossello (about 10 km NW of Agrigento) an outcrop of the Upper Gypsum unit consisting of clay-gypsum cycles and overlain by the Trubi Fm. The latter, at Scala dei Turchi beach, consists of chalk deposits arranged in a spectacular thick succession (~120 m thick) interpreted as astronomically-controlled depositional cycles. The uppermost interval of the MSC sedimentary record, including the Messinian-Zanclean GSSP, will be observed along the beach of Eraclea Minoa located about 20 km NW of Capo Rossello. Field Trip Leaders Antonio Caruso University of Palermo Attilio Sulli University of Palermo

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Palermo, Italy
Sunday, 21 April 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Time: TBC Attendee Limit: Minimum 15 - Maximum 45 People Fee: TBC Registration Deadline: TBC This one-day field trip will focus on Mesozoic (Jurassic to Cretaceous) carbonates outcropping in the fold and thrust belt of western Sicily and equivalent to the aquifer complex of the Sciacca Geothermal Field located in the southwestern part of the island. Participants will have the opportunity to visit in the first stop a spectacular “drowned” carbonate-platform succession at Mt. Maranfusa located in an inactive quarry about 50 km SW of Palermo. The succession consists of Lower Jurassic peritidal cycles overlain by Middle Jurassic to Cretaceous pelagic limestone (e.g. ammonitic limestone, “chalk”) and marked by an unconformity with locally hardground. Syn-depositional Mesozoic tectonic is characterized by neptunian dykes and normal faults, whereas reverse faults, strike-slip faults, and joints are related to subsequent Cenozoic deformation. In the second stop, at Mt. San Calogero, adjacent to the picturesque coastal town of Sciacca (about 100 km south of Palermo), we will visit the surface expression of an extensive karst system linked to uprising geothermal fluids. Furthermore, we will discuss main characteristics of the Sciacca Geothermal Field and its connection to deep mantle-derived fluids. Outcrop data will be integrated with both 2D seismic lines and exploration well logs showing the stratigraphy and structure of the deep aquifer. Another topic, given the presence of faults and joints in the outcrops, this field trip can provide the participants with valuable insights into naturally fractured reservoirs at the sub-seismic scale. Field Trip Leaders Gianni Mallarino MOL Group Attilio Sulli University of Palermo

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Banff, Canada
Saturday, 11 May 2024, 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Time: 8:00am - 5:00pm Fee: $300 AAPG members $350 Nonmembers $200 Academic/AAPG Emeritus Members $50 discount for workshop registrants Fee Includes: Transportation Insurance Field guide Entrance fee to Banff National Park Registration available during workshop registration This field trip will focus on the structural geology of the foothills and Front Ranges of Banff. Participants will be able to view excellent field examples of structures very similar to the producing oil and gas fields in the foothills to the west of Calgary and to learn about the complexities of sub-seismic-scale deformation. The field trip starts with an introduction to the interaction between thrust front with foreland basins and the interaction of basement trends with thrust belt geometries and (conventional) hydrocarbon fields. During the 1-day trip participants will follow a dip transect from the undeformed foreland basin, the eastern edge of the foothills marked by the triangle zone, the Front Ranges boundary and end at the Main Ranges west of Banff. Field Trip Itinerary Depart from Calgary – 8:00 a.m. Stop 1: Cochrane Retreat Road Overlook Trip overview and introduction; safety and logistics comments; interaction of thrust front with foreland basin; interaction of basement trends with thrust belt geometry and (conventional) hydrocarbon field distribution; appreciation of scale for subsurface play fairway. Stop 2: Scott Lake Stop 3: The Stony Nakoda Tim’s Classic stop, with historical importance for understanding the thrust belt and thrust geometry. Part 1 of displacement gradient on a large thrust. Most importantly, toilet stop after all the Tim’s coffee and driving. Review of Mt Yamnuska from a different perspective; preview of drive through McConnell damage zone and change in HW stratigraphy.. Stop 4: Lac des Arcs Imbricate thrust sheets in the Front Ranges and Banff Formation. Stop 5: Canmore T-junction Observe complexities of sub-seismic-scale deformation in mechanically layered rocks in the footwall of a large thrust Stop 6: Canmore strike view of the Rundle thrust Exposed strike view analogous to a cut-away of a giant conventional Foothills hydrocarbon field such as Turner Valley. Cross faults within the thrust sheet offset potential reservoir units at sub-seismic scale. Cross faults are arguably part of a regional trend associated with deeper, basement-rooted NE-SW structures. Stop 7: Mt Norquay Overlook Stop 8: Bow Falls Fracture systems in the Vega Siltstone Mbr of the Triassic Sulphur Mtn Fm. This outcrop of Vega Member siltstone of the Sulphur Mtn Fm is considered equivalent to upper Montney Fm. We will focus on the outcrop adjacent to the steps up to the Falls overlook.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Tuesday, 26 March 2024, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

Presenting ExCaliber, a novel approach for fast iterations on basin / earth models so that more time can be spent on the final technical & economic integration. ExCaliber is based on an interactive thermal framework, powered at its core by a ML-based basin simulator which can compute in seconds high-resolution basin-scale temperature and Standard Thermal Stress results.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Short Course
Houston, Texas
Thursday, 14 March 2024, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This course course will explore the design of new plays, optimized for the goals and constraints of CO2 sequestration, and to develop the tools to de-risk and sell those plays to investors and regulators. It will be of particular interest to subsurface geoscientists and engineers with an interest in CO2 storage in saline reservoirs.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Short Course
Houston, Texas
Thursday, 14 March 2024, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

The development and application of a fit-for-purpose CO2 injection model is presented in the context of a front-end engineering design for a new Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) project targeting a depleted gas reservoir in the North Sea. This course will provide an understanding of the impact of CO2 impurities on casing and tubing load cases. The course provides the background and results of the Fit-for-Purpose Casing and Tubing Analysis Program that was developed in collaboration with Harbour Energy for the UK Viking CCS Project.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Short Course
Houston, Texas
Thursday, 14 March 2024, 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

This half-day short course will familiarize attendees with the planning and execution of a whole core project. It's intended for those who plan to take core on CCUS projects including Geologists and drilling engineers.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Short Course
Houston, Texas
Sunday, 10 March 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

As part of the international effort to combat global warming, significant attention is being given to ways to sequester (store for the long-term) carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect. This one-day course will look at some of the ways in which carbon dioxide can be stored and provide a detailed review of the SRMS framework prepared by the Society of Petroleum Engineers to classify and categorize the storage quantities.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Monday, 4 March 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Trip Leader Saeed Tofaif, Saudi Aramco Pre-Workshop Field Trip Date: 4 March Registration Deadline: 4 February Attendee Limit: 12-Min. / 25-Max. --> Fee: $200 Note:To register for the field trip please select the field trip option while completing your registration for the workshop The Hadrukh Formation of eastern Saudi Arabia was deposited in early Miocene in tidal, restricted lagoon and sabkha settings with fresh water incursions. Deposition in these non-marine, semi-arid coastal plains resulted deposition of varying lithologies in short lateral extent. This field trip to Hadrukh Formation outcrops in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia offers observation of internal stratigraphy of the Hadrukh Formation and lithological changes in the lateral extent, which is a key component in defining stratigraphic traps in the subsurface.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Short Course
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Thursday, 29 February 2024, 7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Palermo, Italy
Monday, 22 April Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This Symposium marks a collaborative event that brings together AAPG Europe and AAPG Middle East, with a central focus on carbonates and mixed carbonate systems worldwide, while highlighting their significance within these two regions. The primary objectives are an overview of controls that govern the evolution of these systems in time and space and the characterization and prediction of their properties across scales.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Monday, 27 May Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

In order to support the energy transition, optimizing exploration and production from complex stratigraphic-diagenetic conventional and unconventional plays remains highly important. At the same time, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) poses new technological challenges that will impact both the industry and academia for decades to come. This 2nd edition will present reviews and discuss technology developments in geological process-based forward modeling achieved during the last 2 years. New perspectives for future technology developments and implementation in industry workflows will be discussed and with the additional focus on CO₂ storage and other sustainability-related applications, the scope of the workshop will be considerably extended.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, 5 March Thursday, 7 March 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Join us for the 4th Edition of: "Stratigraphic Traps of the Middle East" workshop. The workshop will be hosted by AAPG in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia 5-7 March 2024.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

Physics is an essential component of geophysics but there is much that physics cannot know or address. 

Request a visit from John Castagna!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

Climate change is not only happening in the atmosphere but also in the anthroposphere; in some ways the former could drive or exacerbate the latter, with extreme weather excursions and extreme excursions from societal norms occurring all over the earth. Accomplishing geoscience for a common goal – whether that is for successful business activities, resource assessment for public planning, mitigating the impacts of geological hazards, or for the sheer love of furthering knowledge and understanding – can and should be done by a workforce that is equitably developed and supported. Difficulty arises when the value of institutional programs to increase equity and diversity is not realized.

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Request a visit from Sherilyn Williams-Stroud!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

This presentation is a survey of subsurface machine learning concepts that have been formulated for unconventional asset development, described in the literature, and subsequently patented. Operators that utilize similar subsurface machine learning workflows and other data modelling techniques enjoy a competitive advantage at optimizing the development of unconventional plays.

Request a visit from Shane Prochnow!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
VG Abstract

The carbonate sequences that were deposited in the now exhumed Tethyan Ocean influence many aspects of our lives today, either by supplying the energy that warms our homes and the fuel that powers our cars or providing the stunning landscapes for both winter and summer vacations. They also represent some of the most intensely studied rock formations in the world and have provided geoscientists with a fascinating insight into the turbulent nature of 250 Million years of Earth’s history. By combining studies from the full range of geoscience disciplines this presentation will trace the development of these carbonate sequences from their initial formation on the margins of large ancient continental masses to their present day locations in and around the Greater Mediterranean and Near East region. The first order control on growth patterns and carbonate platform development by the regional plate-tectonic setting, underlying basin architecture and fluctuations in sea level will be illustrated. The organisms that contribute to sequence development will be revealed to be treasure troves of forensic information. Finally, these rock sequences will be shown to contain all the ingredients necessary to form and retain hydrocarbons and the manner in which major post-depositional tectonic events led to the formation of some of the largest hydrocarbon accumulations in the world will be demonstrated.

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Request a visit from Keith Gerdes!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

Why H₂ is generated in subsurface? Which are the reactions and the promising geological setting? Example in countries where H₂ have already been found: Australia, Brazil. Kinetic reactions: i.e., Is the natural H₂ renewable? What we don't know yet about this resource and about the H₂ systems (generation/transport/accumulation). Overview of the current landscape (subsurface law, permitting, E&P activity)

Request a visit from Isabelle Moretti!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

For well over a century there have been conflicting indications of the strength of the crust and of faults and what controls them.  Much of our ignorance comes quite naturally from the general inaccessibility of the crust to measurement--in contrast with our understanding of the atmosphere, which is much more accessible to observation as well as more rapidly changing.  Crustal strength is best understood in deforming sedimentary basins where the petroleum industry has made great contributions, particularly in deforming petroleum basins because of the practical need to predict. In this talk we take a broad look at key issues in crustal strength and deformation and what we can learn from boreholes, earthquakes, active fault systems, and toy models.

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Request a visit from John Suppe!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) seismic-reflection surveys provide one of the most important data types for understanding subsurface depositional systems. Quantitative analysis is commonly restricted to geophysical interpretation of elastic properties of rocks in the subsurface. Wide availability of 3D seismic-reflection data and integration provide opportunities for quantitative analysis of subsurface stratigraphic sequences. Here, we integrate traditional seismic-stratigraphic interpretation with quantitative geomorphologic analysis and numerical modeling to explore new insights into submarine-channel evolution.

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Request a visit from Jacob Covault!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

President Biden has laid out a bold and ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the United States by 2050.  The pathway to that target includes cutting total greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and eliminating them entirely from the nation’s electricity sector by 2035. The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management will play an important role in the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by reducing the environmental impacts of fossil energy production and use – and helping decarbonize other hard-to abate sectors.

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Request a visit from Jennifer Wilcox!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
VG Abstract

Production from unconventional petroleum reservoirs includes petroleum from shale, coal, tight-sand and oil-sand. These reservoirs contain enormous quantities of oil and natural gas but pose a technology challenge to both geoscientists and engineers to produce economically on a commercial scale. These reservoirs store large volumes and are widely distributed at different stratigraphic levels and basin types, offering long-term potential for energy supply. Most of these reservoirs are low permeability and porosity that need enhancement with hydraulic fracture stimulation to maximize fluid drainage. Production from these reservoirs is increasing with continued advancement in geological characterization techniques and technology for well drilling, logging, and completion with drainage enhancement. Currently, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Egypt, USA, and Venezuela are producing natural gas from low permeability reservoirs: tight-sand, shale, and coal (CBM). Canada, Russia, USA, and Venezuela are producing heavy oil from oilsand. USA is leading the development of techniques for exploring, and technology for exploiting unconventional gas resources, which can help to develop potential gas-bearing shales of Thailand. The main focus is on source-reservoir-seal shale petroleum plays. In these tight rocks petroleum resides in the micro-pores as well as adsorbed on and in the organics. Shale has very low matrix permeability (nano-darcies) and has highly layered formations with differences in vertical and horizontal properties, vertically non-homogeneous and horizontally anisotropic with complicate natural fractures. Understanding the rocks is critical in selecting fluid drainage enhancement mechanisms; rock properties such as where shale is clay or silica rich, clay types and maturation , kerogen type and maturation, permeability, porosity, and saturation. Most of these plays require horizontal development with large numbers of wells that require an understanding of formation structure, setting and reservoir character and its lateral extension. The quality of shale-gas resources depend on thickness of net pay (>100 m), adequate porosity (>2%), high reservoir pressure (ideally overpressure), high thermal maturity (>1.5% Ro), high organic richness (>2% TOC), low in clay (<50%), high in brittle minerals (quartz, carbonates, feldspars), and favourable in-situ stress. During the past decade, unconventional shale and tight-sand gas plays have become an important supply of natural gas in the US, and now in shale oil as well. As a consequence, interest to assess and explore these plays is rapidly spreading worldwide. The high production potential of shale petroleum resources has contributed to a comparably favourable outlook for increased future petroleum supplies globally. Application of 2D and 3D seismic for defining reservoirs and micro seismic for monitoring fracturing, measuring rock properties downhole (borehole imaging) and in laboratory (mineralogy, porosity, permeability), horizontal drilling (downhole GPS), and hydraulic fracture stimulation (cross-linked gel, slick-water, nitrogen or nitrogen foam) is key in improving production from these huge resources with low productivity factors.

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Request a visit from Ameed Ghori!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

Paleozoic North America has experienced multiple mountain building events, from Ordovician to Permian, on all margins of the continent. These have had a profound effect on the resulting complex basins and their associated petroleum systems. Subsequent uplift, erosion and overprinting of these ancient systems impedes the direct observation of their tectonic history. However, the basin sedimentary records are more complete, and provide additional insights into the timing and style of the mountain building events. In this study, we employ ~90 1D basin models, ~30 inverse flexural models, isopachs, and paleogeographic maps to better understand the Paleozoic history of North America.

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Request a visit from Kurt W. Rudolph!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

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