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Explorer Article

Management with the Dynamic Group of Houston are convinced after four years of study that they have identified significant new play potential deep on the west Louisiana shelf, a province largely regarded by industry as mature for exploration. “Most of our industry thinks the U.S. shelf is in late life, and the only remaining opportunities are for low-risk, low volume exploitation targets,” said Rob Pascoe, managing director and chief geologist. “We believe that may not be the whole story. Our studies describe a large-scale new play, with the potential to be liquids rich and high value.” He said new technology and geological insights are the key.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer President’s Column

I was watching some old movies during a recent snowstorm in Tulsa. One of them was “Back to the Future.” In this case, “the future” was 2015. The movie “Rollerball” was set in 2018, and “Terminator” was supposed to be from 2020-30. Have you ever noticed that the future is not that far away? As you could see from my last column, I’ve had “the future” on my mind. So, in thinking again about the future, I want to discuss governance. This will not be my most exciting column, but it is important.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

People in the oil and gas industry often speak of, and always seek to find, the “sweet spot” of a given play, field or reservoir. Ask anyone in the oil patch, “What is a sweet spot?”, and you will often get an answer long on colorful recollections and short on hard details. Ask a follow-up question about the history of sweet spots and you will probably receive only a baffled look.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The AAPG EXPLORER has been following the progress of the Perseverance rover and the history of the search for life on Mars. Perseverance’s journey in space culminated in its safe landing in Jezero Crater near Mars’ equator on Feb. 18, 2021. Now, Perseverance begins its journey of geologic exploration, fieldwork and the search for signs of past Martian life. NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have deployed a series of successful and ever-more-sophisticated rovers. They have been deployed across the planet at carefully selected landing sites to explore for signs of Mars’ warmer and wetter past when it may have hosted the evolution of life.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Last summer, nearly 30 geoscientists and engineers from the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources trekked through an array of outcrops in the Sulphur Mountain Formation to piece together how the Montney Formation – Western Canada’s most prolific resource play – was formed. Rock by rock, they saw how the outcrops revealed a history of sedimental deposition, sedimentary structures, trace and body fossils, and even a bone bed. And, rather than getting there by airplane or car and hiking over tumultuous terrain, they navigated each nook and cranny from the comfort of their homes. For most CSUR members, it was their first virtual fieldtrip and will likely not be their last.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Last year started with promise for the Colombian offshore industry. Shell EP Offshore Ventures Limited and Ecopetrol, S.A. signed an agreement for Shell to acquire an interest in and operate the Fuerte Sur, Purple Angel and Col-5 blocks located in the southern Colombian Caribbean basin. Noble Energy opened an office in Barranquilla and announced plans to drill a prospect at 8,500 feet on the Col-3 block in the Guajira Basin in northern Colombia. Ecopetrol and Petrobras prepared to mature the 2014 Orca discovery on the Tayrona block, also in Guajira. Then COVID-19 came to the Americas in March 2020, and everything changed.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

University geoscience programs face a challenging future as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic – one that could have significant and even dire implications for oil and gas. Educators, mostly outside the United States, are already sounding an alarm.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Middle East Blog

We are pleased to announce that AAPG Middle East’s first virtual GTW on Decision Based Integrated Reservoir Modeling was a resounding success with fantastic feedback received from committee members, speakers and attendees. The virtual workshop took place from 1-4 February 2021 and attracted 65 attendees from 14 different companies and 8 different countries.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

Today we have a chance to explore outcrops in-depth with Jonathan Allen who shares his photos from Nova Scotia, Australia, the western U.S., and more.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

As this EXPLORER issue goes to press, there are three international robotic missions headed to their encounters with Mars this February. The United Arab Emirates’ Hope Mission will enter Mars orbit on Feb. 9, 2021. Its goal is to study Martian atmospheric dynamics and weather. China’s Tianwen-1 Mission is expected to enter Mars orbit on Feb. 10, 2021. A lander with a Mars rover will be deployed in May 2021 for a proposed landing zone in Utopia Planitia. The mission goals are to find evidence for current and past life, characterize Martian soil composition, and map water ice distribution. The NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Perseverance rover is scheduled to land at Jezero Crater on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021.

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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: Registration for this field trip is now closed. 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

While there are many habitats that are associated with the deposition of organic-rich marine and lacustrine source rocks, one important pathway is linked to the onset of increased basin subsidence associated with major tectonic events. A key aspect is that this subsidence is spatially variable, with the uplift of basin flanks contemporaneous with the foundering of the basin center, resulting in a steeper basin profile.

Request a visit from Kurt W. Rudolph!

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

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

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)
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

Local sea-level changes are not simply a function of global ocean volumes but also the interactions between the solid Earth, the Earth’s gravitational field and the loading and unloading of ice sheets. Contrasting behaviors between Antarctica and Scotland highlight how important the geologic structure beneath the former ice sheets is in determining the interactions between ice sheets and relative sea levels.

Request a visit from Alex Simms!

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)
DL Abstract

As oil and gas exploration and production occur in deeper basins and more complex geologic settings, accurate characterization and modeling of reservoirs to improve estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) prediction, optimize well placement and maximize recovery become paramount. Existing technologies for reservoir characterization and modeling have proven inadequate for delivering detailed 3D predictions of reservoir architecture, connectivity and rock quality at scales that impact subsurface flow patterns and reservoir performance. Because of the gap between the geophysical and geologic data available (seismic, well logs, cores) and the data needed to model rock heterogeneities at the reservoir scale, constraints from external analog systems are needed. Existing stratigraphic concepts and deposition models are mostly empirical and seldom provide quantitative constraints on fine-scale reservoir heterogeneity. Current reservoir modeling tools are challenged to accurately replicate complex, nonstationary, rock heterogeneity patterns that control connectivity, such as shale layers that serve as flow baffles and barriers.

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Request a visit from Tao Sun!

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

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)

Related Interests