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Explorer Geophysical Corner

“Machine learning” has become a common phrase in geophysics. These methods, based on complex algorithms and statistics, allow geoscientists to speed up and improve their interpretations. However, as interpreters, we can feel intimidated and concerned about how much of our expertise can be replaced by machine learning algorithms. To better understand the limitations, we assess the importance of human validation and participation in one machine learning process, highlighting the upsides and downsides of a machine-derived process versus a geoscientist-guided selection of attributes. As Earth scientists, we explored a suite of seismic attributes and selected those that were meaningful for interpreting a deepwater channel system and compared our results with the attributes derived from principal component analysis.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

In the early exploration days, petroleum geologists were required to take field trips to inspect, map and collect geological data in remote locations, sometimes inaccessible except by foot, horse, mule or boat. Geological publications and maps of these hard-to-reach regions were almost non-existent, and the first geologists had to start from scratch, without any of the geological information that present-day geologists take for granted. They faced hazardous and unsafe situations, including heavy rains, flash floods, rockfalls, landslides, sunstrokes, mosquito bites, venomous snakes and spiders, attacks from natives and wild animals, and endemic diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Our story here is about a strange encounter with an enigmatic creature during a geological fieldwork expedition for oil exploration in western Venezuela, close to the Colombian border. The encounter was years later revealed to be one of the most notorious scientific frauds.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover launched on July 30, 2020, toward Mars. The Perseverance landing is planned for Feb. 18, 2021 at Jezero Crater in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. According to rover science team members Sanjeev Gupta and Briony Horgan, the mission science goal will be “to explore the history of water and chemistry in an ancient crater lake basin and associated river-delta environments to probe early Martian climates and search for life.” The Mars 2020 spacecraft is currently halfway to Mars, traveling at about 100,000 kilometers per hour, relative to the Sun. It will take about six months (203 days) to traverse the 480 million kilometers from Earth to Mars on a sweeping Hohmann Transfer Orbit.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

In the business of oil and gas exploration, it’s all about managing risk. Companies are more likely to drill where there are strong indications of hydrocarbons from field and seismic data, nearby wells and discoveries – and preferably, all of the above. So, when the federal government officially opens the doors in the near future to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for commercial drilling, it could be like watching a game of poker.

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

As I am writing this column, AAPG has just completed its first fully virtual annual meeting – ACE 2020. By most accounts it was very successful. The technical program committee provided a great slate of talks, posters and core studies. The staff placed it on a platform that was easy and fun to use. The whole meeting was a unique virtual experience.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Do super basins have a role in sustainable development? The short answer is, Yes. Super basins can be part of a sustainable energy and environmental future for the planet. A more complex answer is: It depends on how you define “sustainable.” In the view of the oil and gas industry, sustainability has an economic component and an environmental component. Hydrocarbon-based energy is essential for a sustainable world economy in that view, and it will be for a long time to come.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

India is a land that is rich with geological wonder, but is also beset with social and environmental problems. A group of AAPG members is using their knowledge and love of geology to create opportunity and hope on the subcontinent.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

The oil and gas industry struggles with some unique challenges in working toward a sustainable future. In a way, the social aspect of those challenges comes down to two words: Prove it. Often accused of being part of the problem in sustainability and not part of the solution, the oil industry faces an unusually high burden of proof when it seeks environmental trust from the public.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Asia Pacific Blog

International Energy Summit 2020 24-25 October 2020 Artificial Intelligence systems can process millions of data streams to provide actionable insight that compliments human skills. Hence, creating a higher efficiency in fulfilling the increasing demand of energy that oil and gas can serve. In light of hoping to broaden the knowledge of utilizing such artificial intelligence in this field, this year, International Energy Summit (IES) 2020 brings up the theme of 'Artificial Intelligence: Challenges and Innovations for Petroleum Industry.' There were three series of events, grand seminar, career talk, and infographic competition, and four great speakers who graced our event: Mr. Bruno de Ribet as Global Director, Strategic Projects at Emerson E&P Software, Mr. Robert “Bob” C. Shoup as Chief Geologist for subsurface consulting & Associates LLC and the Director for Clastic Reservoir System, Mr. Suwarta as an Assistant Manager Upstream Data Science at Pertamina, and Mr. Epo Kusumah as a lecturer in Universitas Pertamina.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Europe Blog

AAPG Europe University of Manchester Student Chapter presents AAPG Visiting Geoscientists Online Talks. We are delighted to launch the “AAPG Visiting Geoscientists Online Talks” run by the University of Manchester Student Chapter – now open to all Student chapters around Europe and further afield. The talks are varied and cover everything from Mapping river bar deposits to CO2 risk in the exploration. Join us for our premier presentation 'Mapping River Bar Deposits to Reconstruct Paleo-Channel Dynamics in Alluvial Basins' presented by Professor Elizabeth Hajek. Webinar will be presented via Zoom on Thursday 22 October, 17:00 London - 5pm Houston (GMT-6) time.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Monday, 2 October Tuesday, 3 October 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

AAPG and EAGE have teamed up to deliver the upcoming New Discoveries in Mature Basins workshop to be held from 2-3 October 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Save the date! Registration to open soon.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Monday, 27 November Wednesday, 29 November 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Mark your calendars and save the date to attend the 5th edition of the AAPG Siliciclastic Reservoirs of the Middle East GTW which will be held for the first time in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia from 27-29 November 2023. We look forward to having you on board for the new edition of these popular series.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Muscat, Oman
Monday, 13 November Wednesday, 15 November 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Exciting announcement for all geoscientists interested in structural styles. The 3rd edition of the AAPG Structural Styles of the Middle East is coming back to Oman from 13-15 November 2023. Come join us to learn all the latest developments on the topic!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Monday, 9 October Wednesday, 11 October 2023, 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 9-11 October 2023.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Monday, 8 May Wednesday, 10 May 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

“Wait! There is a short cut. Turn right from here”. That’s probably the sound of an electric current bypassing the resistive hydrocarbons, in a maze or network of porous media, when traveling from transmitter to receiver. This workshop will serve the participants need with the up to date advancements in describing and characterizing low resistivity and low contrast pay, and eventually, maximize resources.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Lisbon, Portugal
Wednesday, 21 June Thursday, 22 June 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Secure energy supply and energy immediate availability are key subject for a peaceful and sustainable growth in developed countries and in particular in Europe. This workshop will bring together professionals working in industry and in academia to share experiences, present-day work and future visions related to all geo-subjects involving exploration and development of energy sources in the subsurface.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Paramaribo, Suriname
Thursday, 2 November Friday, 3 November 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Plan now to attend an interactive in-person workshop with industry leaders, government representatives and technical experts working in the Guyana-Suriname Basin.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Barranquilla, Colombia
Wednesday, 8 February Thursday, 9 February 2023, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Join technical experts, industry leaders and government representatives for an interactive in-person workshop highlighting onshore and offshore E&P opportunities, new technologies and sustainable development strategies working in Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tuesday, 9 May Wednesday, 10 May 2023, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Plan now to attend an interactive in-person workshop with industry leaders, government representatives and technical experts working to help Brazil maintain its E&P capacity while transitioning to a decarbonized economy.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Short Course
Bridgetown, Barbados
Wednesday, 1 March Thursday, 2 March 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This 2-day, in-person course describes the range and variability in deepwater sedimentary systems and equips participants to build predictive models of subsurface geology for more successful exploration and development. A primary goal of this course is to enable subsurface teams to more effectively characterize and rank deepwater/offshore projects on a regional and global scale.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Muscat, Oman
Monday, 16 January Wednesday, 18 January 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

The sedimentary basins of the Middle East have been proved to contain vast hydrocarbon reserves, sourced by some of the most prolific petroleum systems in the world. This is the product of a range of factors, not least the long-lived, relative stability of the Arabian Plate and the presence of multiple, prolific organic source rocks. This workshop will address these and other subjects and to discuss the main challenges present in our current understanding of petroleum systems in the Middle East.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Lviv, Ukraine
Thursday, 21 September Friday, 22 September 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Join us for a workshop where experts will  explore the Carpathian foreland and the Dnieper-Donetsk rift basins with a focus not only on hydrocarbons, but the utilization of geothermal resources, hydrogen exploration and CCUS.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Lisbon, Portugal
Wednesday, 21 June Thursday, 22 June 2023, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This 2-day conference brings together diverse experts working on modern and ancient turbidite, MTDs, contourite and hybrid/mixed systems in order to improve the present-day knowledge, models and predictive power.

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)
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)
VG Abstract

In comparison with the known boundary conditions that promote salt deformation and flow in sedimentary basins, the processes involved with the mobilization of clay-rich detrital sediments are far less well established. This talk will use seismic examples in different tectonic settings to document the variety of shale geometries that can be formed under brittle and ductile deformations.

Request a visit from Juan I. Soto!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
VG Abstract

The Betic hinterland, in the westernmost Mediterranean, constitutes a unique example of a stack of metamorphic units. Using a three-dimensional model for the crustal structure of the Betics-Rif area this talk will address the role of crustal flow simultaneously to upper-crustal low-angle faulting in the origin and evolution of the topography.

Request a visit from Juan I. Soto!

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)
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

Around 170 million years ago, the Gulf of Mexico basin flooded catastrophically, and the pre-existing landscape, which had been a very rugged, arid, semi-desert world, was drowned beneath an inland sea of salt water. The drowned landscape was then buried under kilometers of salt, perfectly preserving the older topography. Now, with high-quality 3D seismic data, the salt appears as a transparent layer, and the details of the drowned world can be seen in exquisite detail, providing a unique snapshot of the world on the eve of the flooding event. We can map out hills and valleys, and a system of river gullies and a large, meandering river system. These rivers in turn fed into a deep central lake, whose surface was about 750m below global sea level. This new knowledge also reveals how the Louann Salt was deposited. In contrast to published models, the salt was deposited in a deep water, hypersaline sea. We can estimate the rate of deposition, and it was very fast; we believe that the entire thickness of several kilometers of salt was laid down in a few tens of thousands of years, making it possibly the fastest sustained deposition seen so far in the geological record.

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Request a visit from Frank Peel!

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)
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)

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