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Explorer Article

The North Sea Rift Basin ranks as one of the world’s most famous and indefatigable super basin areas. Like a pugnacious prize fighter, it’s been counted out again and again, only to rebound and punch back into contention. While some explorers consider the North Sea province highly mature, and even late life, it continues to produce plenty of oil and gas. And discoveries.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Since the 1968 discovery of Prudhoe Bay, North America’s largest conventional oilfield, operators have been drawn to Alaska’s remote and mysterious North Slope in search of other giants. The discovery of the Alpine Field in 1994 fueled interest in stratigraphic traps, and the region continues to yield significant discoveries, such as the 2013 Pikka Field, just east of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. Considering all the territory that stretches north of the Brooks Range, one area –the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – has remained off-limits to exploration since its creation in the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Despite decades of heated debate between the industry and environmentalists on whether to allow exploration of the area – which is widely believed to be rich in hydrocarbons and a major step toward energy independence – it has remained closed. Until now.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

“All this will create jobs.” That was Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette at the recent 2020 Natural Gas Summit, hosted by the Department of Energy at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. in late September, talking about the re-emergence of the oil and gas sector in the coming months and years. Energy leaders, as well as global LNG market representatives, were on hand, virtually, to hear and to share updates, projections and laments on today’s energy landscape. Featuring Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, the seminar reiterated the importance of domestic natural gas production to America’s economy, specifically as it related to job growth, the abundance and reliability of natural gas and its affordability, as well as the deleterious effects of government interference and regulation.

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

If you remember from my last column, this is a three-part series on my thoughts on science, membership and budget. I talked about budget last time … we are still working on it, so let’s talk science. The reason most professionals join AAPG is for access to science. That’s not just my opinion – it’s what members tell us. AAPG is very good about disseminating the work of our members and other professionals around the world. That’s our mission.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

Sixty years ago this month, on Sept. 14, 1960, representatives from five oil producing gathered at the Al-Shaab Hall in Baghdad to form the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC was formally dedicated to “the coordination and unification of the petroleum policies of the member countries and the determination of the best means of safeguarding their interests, individually and collectively.” Public perceptions in the West about OPEC are usually negative. OPEC is viewed as an oil cartel, or even a monopoly, whose sole purpose is to control the oil market. The 60th anniversary of OPEC is an appropriate opportunity to review its formation.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

The good news is that for oil and gas jobs, it’s about to get better. The bad news, of course, is that much of that is because there’s so little room for things to get any worse. And even then, don’t expect a quick bounce-back. With expectations properly managed, though, there is good reason for hope for those who adapt to the ongoing changes within the industry. The industry’s jobs outlook evolved as companies struggled through the 2015-17 downturn and then faced a new challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Fundamentally, the industry is getting: Leaner. Cleaner. Greener.

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

A few members ask me, “Why does the Executive Committee worry so much about money all the time?” Well, actually we prefer to focus on science and members’ needs, but as Woody Allen once said about the importance of money, “It is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” The primary reason I am discussing money in this column is to let you know changes are coming. We cannot afford to do everything we have done in the past. Some programs will be reduced or cut. We will let you know as this happens.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Director’s Corner

If you’ve ever picked up a book on business – how to start a business, how to run a business, how to save a business – you typically don’t have to page too far before you run into a popular term: “value proposition.” The pandemic is causing us to reassess AAPG’s value proposition for our members and our customers. We must consider that what has worked in the past may not work in the future and that our members’ and the industry’s needs are experiencing fundamental change.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

AAPG’s Latin America and Caribbean Region started 2020 with a strong lineup of technical and business events. The year 2020 was the year of promise. The Hedberg Conference went well in February, but one of the participants from China canceled travel plans because of a coronavirus outbreak in the country. One month later, the world turned upside down. Countries closed their borders, companies sent workers home, and sponsors canceled support. In-person conferences were not just risky but prohibited in most cases. It was time to go back to the drawing board.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

If recent events in the oil and gas sector, especially as it relates to the fallout and contraction from COVID-19, illustrate anything, it is the need for companies to create resilient businesses and business models. “That means having a business plan that anticipates and can adapt to changing conditions due to evolving environment, societal, and governmental pressures.” That’s Joseph R. Davis, independent direct at BKV Corp, an investment E&P firm. “You can’t separate ESG from sustainability,” he said, “for ESG is how business addresses sustainability.”

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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)
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

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)
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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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