Search and Discovery Article

The San Joaquin Basin lies west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and east of the San Andre as Fault. Tens of kilometers of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments, including deep-water organic-rich source rocks, deposited in a forearc setting, comprise the basin and have contributed to a petroleum system that generates more than 70 percent of California 's daily oil production and includes three of the 10 largest oilfields in the United States. Based on a comprehensive 3D petroleum systems model of the San Joaquin basin, published by the USGS in 2008, we further refine the modeling to account for the unique depositional and tectonic history of the basin. Here, we compare various basal heat flow scenarios to model hydrocarbon generation and calibrate the results to available temperature and vitrinite reflectance (Vr) data. We investigate two types of crustal models: a McKenzie-type rift model, and a no-rift static crustal thickness model. Crustal stretching models calculate basal heat flow resulting from stretching/thinning of mantle and crust during initial (syn-rift) and thermal (post-rift) subsidence. This method uses rock matrix radiogenic heat production values. It does not account for transient effects resulting from burial and uplift of the basin fill. The static no-rift model, alternatively, calculates the basal heat flow based on a stable or non-thinning crust and mantle over time. This method uses estimated Uranium (U), Thorium (Th), and Potassium (K) concentrations within the rock material to then calculate the rock matrix heat production. Unlike the rift model, it accounts for the transient effects resulting from burial and uplift of the basin fill, which can have a considerable additional effect on the basal heat flow. Given the low probability of crustal stretching as the starting point for basal heat flow in the San Joaquin Basin and considering the forearc nature of the basin as well as the strong concentration of U, K, and Th in the Sierran granites, we focused on and refined the no-rift models. We manually account for the transitional nature of the San Joaquin basement from hot Sierran granite on the east to cool Franciscan oceanic rocks on the west. Radiogenic heat production from solely continental crust results in models that are too warm and cannot be calibrated to well temperature and Vr data. Solely oceanic models are too cool to match well data. ‘Combined crust’ incorporates a seismically derived suture zone that allows for a transition from oceanic to granitic basement, while the ‘intermediate crust’ mixes oceanic and continental radiogenic heat production. These models generate a good match to well data to the east and westward through the transition zone. Additionally, we are able to calibrate to wells off of the Belridge and Lost Hills structures. On structure wells, however, cannot be calibrated with a crustal conductive heat flow scenario and would require (local) elevated heat flows on the order of 20 mW/m 2. This is not in agreement with the generally cooler underlying oceanic crust and suggests that there might be a different and/or additional source of heat flow. Most likely, basin-scale hydrothermal groundwater flow, both along faults and up-structure, could account for elevated Vr and temperature. Convective heat flow would be an additional overprint or enhancement to conductive basal heat flow.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Search and Discovery Article

The driving forces for conventional accumulations (structural or stratigraphic traps) are Forces of Buoyancy which are due to differences in densities of hydrocarbons and water. In contrast, the driving forces for unconventional tight accumulations are Forces of Expulsion which are produced by high pressures. That is an enormous difference and creates unconventional petroleum systems that are characterized by very different and distinctive characteristics. The Force of Expulsion pressures are created by the significant increase in volume when any of the three main kerogen types are converted to hydrocarbons. At those conversion times in the burial history, the rocks are already sufficiently tight so the large volumes of generated hydrocarbons cannot efficiently escape through the existing tight pore system, thus creating a permeability bottleneck that produces an overpressured compartment over a large area corresponding to the proper thermal oil and gas maturities for that basin. The forces initially created in these source rocks can only go limited distances into adjacent tight reservoirs (clastics or carbonates) above or below the source. The exact distance will vary depending on the pressure increase, matrix permeability, and fractures of that specific tight reservoir system. In general, the distances are small, in the orders of 10s to 100s of feet for oil and larger for more mobile gas systems. Those exact distance numbers are subject to ongoing investigations.   A plot of the pressure data versus elevation for a given formation is critical in determining whether an accumulation is conventional or unconventional. Conventional accumulations will have hydrocarbon columns of 10s to 100s of feet with the pressure in the hydrocarbons and that in the water equal at the bottom of the accumulation (at the HC-water contact). In contrast, the unconventional accumulations will show HC column heights of 1000s of feet with the pressure in the hydrocarbon phase and the water phase being the same at the top of the accumulation (at the updip transition zone). Those significant differences are critical for understanding and differentiating these two play types. Because the system is a pore throat bottleneck with very little or minimum lateral migration, the type of hydrocarbon s are closely tied to the thermal maturity required to generate those hydrocarbons. Thus the play concept begins with two important geochemical considerations: (1) where are the source rocks and what are the kerogen types and organic richness (TOC), and (2 ) where are they mature in the basin for oil, condensate, and gas in the basin. These parameters will very quickly define the fairway for the play. Then one has to add the critical information on the reservoirs themselves: composition (brittleness), thickness, and reservoir quality (matrix porosity and permeability). In summary, these tight unconventional petroleum systems (1) are dynamic , and (2) create a regionally inverted petroleum system with water over oil over condensate over gas for source rocks wit h Type I or II kerogen types.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Thanks to advancements in data management and seismic sensing, geophysical modeling has become indispensable in the search for oil. What will it become in the century ahead?

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
PSGD Blog

The AAPG Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division (PSGD) has announced the 2016 Best Paper Awards at the Annual Convention and Exhibition in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Congratulations to Richard H Groshong, Jr., awarded 'Best Seminal Publication' for '3-D Structural Geology: A Practical Guide to Quantitative Surface and Subsurface Map Interpretation 2nd Edition'. We thank everyone for nominating the candidates. We also thank Bob Krantz, Bob Hatcher, and Gary Couples for their diligent work on the PSGD Best Paper Committee.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The AAPG European Regional Conference, “Hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean: revisiting mature plays and understanding new and emerging ideas,” will be held Jan. 18-19 in Larnaca, Cyprus.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

The dynamics of fluid behavior and structural movement on the nano-scale can be complicated and not always what was expected. New research that analyzes the well information and cores using new techniques and technologies is yielding important and useful results. Welcome to an interview with Wen Zhou, Chengdu University of Technology, who discusses recent research findings.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

Primary research in hydrocarbon generation is yielding new insights into the natural gas geochemical characteristics of conventional and unconventional reservoirs, along with discoveries relating to the geomechanical processes. Welcome to an interview with Chenglin Liu, China University of Petroleum-Beijing, who discusses enlightening new findings regarding the relationship between salinity and hydrocarbon geochemical characteristics.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

Don't get left behind! Drones and drone-derived digital data are the hottest growth areas around. Combine your geoscience knowledge with new technology, both on the data acquisition side (fly that drone!) and in the project design and data interpretation (make high-powered maps and see what no one else has seen!). AAPG is offering two courses and a two-day GTW to equip you with practical knowledge you can leverage into a great new career opportunity. Combining a workshop with two courses is a great way to expand your knowledge and save time in your already hectic schedule.'The New Opportunities with Drones: New Needs, FAA Rule Changes, New Technologies' workshop brings together experts, equipment providers, robotics experts, and others knowledgeable in a wide range of commercial drone usage, which includes monitoring in the oil industry, digital outcrop surveying, safety and security monitoring, utility inspection, real estate, agriculture, construction, environmental protection, and more. 'Working with Drone Data 101' short course, is beneficial to anyone interested in learning more about Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and how they can play a part in mapping and information services. Drones are used in the oil and gas industry from upstream to downstream, and in many other industries. The second course, 'Use of Surface Geochemistry in Petroleum Exploration' is a one day discussion of the use of surface geochemistry in petroleum exploration for conventional production. This course will help utilize an additional tool in the toolbox to find conventional oil and gas in mature to unexploited basins.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Europe Blog

Sign up for your place at this two-day Geosciences Technology Workshop (GTW) hosted by AAPG Europe at Vilnius University in the heart of the Lithuanian capital. This workshop will focus on Hydrocarbon Exploration in Lithuania and the Baltic Region and will include 12 technical themes which have been designed to help launch perspectives for increased exploration in this region.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

How does diagenesis affect rock physics? What is the relationship of the burial history to the rock physics? Both have a dramatic impact on the rock physics properties of not only the reservoir, but also the source and seals. Welcome to an interview with Per Avseth, who discusses rock physics and quantitative seismic interpretation. He also talks with us about how developing an effective rock physics model requires the integration of geological, geophysical, geochemical, and petrophysical information.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Manama, Bahrain
Monday, 10 January Wednesday, 12 January 2022, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

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.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Ipoh, Malaysia
Friday, 26 November 2021, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

Seri Iskander, Perak, Malaysia Optional Trip Date: 26 November, 2021 Time: To be determined View Information On CO₂ Laboratory Further details to come.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Virtual Workshop
Tuesday, 23 November Thursday, 25 November 2021, 2:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.

High CO2 fields and marginal fields (due to high levels of contaminants) are some of the challenges that are prevalent in the Asia Pacific petroleum industry. Join AAPG Asia Pacific for a 2-day workshop focused on best practices, risk-based planning and the role geoscientists and engineers will play in these changing times.

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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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

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