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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

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)
Explorer Director’s Corner

First there was Peak Oil, the Malthusian fear that the world was running out of oil. This idea has been around for a long time but had its most recent renaissance in the mid- 2000s with a host of books warning that global demand was going to overwhelm the industry’s ability to supply. The expansion of unconventional oil and natural gas production quieted concerns about supply constraints. The world is not running out of hydrocarbons.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

In February 2011, the court in the small Ecuadorian town of Lago Agrio sentenced Chevron Corporation to pay $9.3 billion to a group of about 30,000 Ecuadorian residents of the Amazonian region where Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, had been producing oil for 26 years. The trial was the stuff of which Hollywood movies are made. This legal saga combined fundamental environmental issues, political intrigue, judicial corruption, corporate greed and cliff-hanging courtroom drama. Above all it unveiled the tragedy of a young and brilliant U.S. lawyer who felt he could obtain big money from a giant oil corporation while becoming a hero for the underdogs of this world.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

AAPG members throughout the world are proving that geologists can be highly beneficial to the oil and gas companies that employ them in areas beyond just exploration alone. Two of them are Karyna Rodriguez, vice president of global new ventures at Searcher in London, and Eduardo Vallejo, program lead of technologies and subsurface knowledge at YPF Tecnología in Buenos Aires. In interviews with the EXPLORER, both shared stories about their careers and provided advice to the next generation of professionals.

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

I went to a talk years ago by a speaker who was introduced as a “futurist” for his ability to predict. I’ve always wanted the title of “futurist,” but I’ve not earned it. I’ve been reading a lot of predictions for 2021 from various magazines, papers and blogs. Now I’m as close to a futurist as I will ever get, so here are a few predictions from the experts (I agree with) and how they may impact AAPG.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Not surprisingly, that idea met with an abundance of caution, and even skepticism, from an industry that experienced the severe downturn of 2014-16 followed by the worldwide COVID pandemic of 2020. Still, “I think there’s plenty to be excited about, especially given the recent upsurge in oil prices,” says one analyst.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

As oil prices continued to rise in early 2021, explorers had to grapple with an unfamiliar and even somewhat bizarre possibility. Is the business outlook for the oil and gas industry going to be better than almost anyone expected?

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

On the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, its 11,000 residents are on the verge of an energy transformation. In about two years, their cost of electricity will no longer fluctuate with market prices, and not even a hurricane will stop it from flowing. In fact, over a 25-year period, residents will save an estimated $100 million in energy costs, based on today’s pricing. How is this possible? It is the result of a strategic conversion to geothermal energy developed by GeoFrame Energy, a newly created partnership between Schlumberger New Energy, AAPG Member Bruce Cutright and business partner Dan Pfeffer. Their goal is to make geothermal energy the most cost-effective and reliable means for providing clean, sustainable power.

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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)
Online e-Symposium
Thursday, 19 March 2015, 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

A detailed biostratigraphic analysis and stratigraphic framework of the Paleocene and Eocene Chicontepec Formation in the Tampico-Misantla basin, onshore eastern Mexico, was conducted using 33 wells.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Online Traditional Course
Wednesday, 1 January 2014, 12:00 a.m.–1:00 a.m.

Learn to critically evaluate current issues that can impact growth and sustainability of oil and gas ventures.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
London, England
Wednesday, 24 February 2021, 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Since the first explorationists discovered the subsurface potential in Tunisia, the country’s institutions took the role of a partner rather than only a regulator. Today, one of ETAP missions is promoting exploration opportunities in Tunisia through both regional and targeted approaches, including sharing knowledge, high-quality data and best practices. ETAP commits to supporting continued drilling activity in mature areas and encouraging/incentivizing exploitation of new and emerging plays.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Tuesday, 1 September 2020, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

The “Great Crew Change” has become the “Competence Train Wreck” due to the repeated personal mis-management practices of our industry and again not anticipating the known volatility of commodity prices. Despite this, hydrocarbon based energy will continue to comprise over 60% of the world’s energy mix for at least the next half century and of that energy need over half of it has yet to be found! Personal experience in working for National Oil Companies, Parastatals, large independent oil companies, small independents, as an independent and as a consultant have given me the perspective of some of the best and some of the worst of the exploration practices the industry has to offer.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Thursday, 24 September 2020, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

In the past 3 decades the sequence stratigraphy jargon has proliferated, resulting in multiple definitions of the same surface or new surfaces and units based on drawings of deposition in response to relative changes in sea level. The close association between base-level changes, the formation of surfaces, and specific stratal stacking that define systems tracts are at the heart of the confusion. This webinar is proposed a back-to-basics approach, emphasizing key observations that can be made from any geologic data: lithofacies, lithofacies association, vertical stacking, stratal geometries, and stratal terminations.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Online Certificate Course
Tuesday, 1 January 2013, 12:00 a.m.–1:00 a.m.

This course introduces the learner to the fundamentals of shale gas, including current theories that explain its origin, and how to determine which reservoirs are commercially viable.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Online e-Symposium
Tuesday, 16 April 2013, 12:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.

The goal of this e-symposium is to provide an overview of the latest trends and technologies for water management for oil and gas drilling, completions, and production.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Online e-Symposium
Thursday, 23 July 2009, 12:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.

As commodity prices have dropped, many shale plays have become uneconomical as statistical plays and have increasingly become recognized as geological plays demanding new insights from data.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Online e-Symposium
Thursday, 22 October 2009, 12:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.

This course can help you gain the ability to describe the complex and highly variable reservoirs, which are typified by complex internal heterogeneity.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Wednesday, 9 February 2022, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

 This talk will provide information to better understand the principles of surface geochemistry (SG), how best to use SG data in exploration or development programs, how to develop a cost effective sampling and analytical program, and will also explore best practices for the interpretation and integration of SG data.

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

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)
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

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

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

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

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)

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