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Structural Geology and our Future Call for Abstracts
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“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.
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.
Fault seal potential is an essential step in determining the potential for fluid migration and assessing risks during hydrocarbon exploration. Multiple assessment tools have been developed and focus on (1) lithological juxtaposition, of permeable and impermeable stratigraphic units, and (2) fault rock sealing, assuming that clay material gets smeared along a fault zone. Most of these tools rely heavily on well log data, whether it is collected and analyzed in 1-D or 3-D settings.
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.
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.
As discussed in part 1 of this article, when it comes to the attributes used in equation 1 for seismically determining shale capacity, it is difficult to make a manual choice for the cut off values. To alleviate such a problem, application of machine learning techniques could be useful and thus worth exploring.
It’s natural to think of super basins as highly developed, mature play areas. When a basin has already produced more than 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, there’s an established history of exploration and production. The Santos Basin, especially the basin’s pre-salt play offshore Brazil, is one of the more notable exceptions to that idea. This super basin area is almost all about the future. “There is so much running room, so much remaining potential. We’re going to see new reservoirs developed, new plays developed,” said James Deckelman, vice president of investment and program assurance for ION Geophysical in Houston.
'Conventional geothermal reservoirs are characterized by a heat source, hydrothermal convection, and sufficient natural permeability to allow for fluid migration. Recognizing the geologically restricted occurrence of natural sites, additional opportunities have been sought. Enhanced geothermal systems are reservoirs in hot rock that lack the natural permeability required for fluid movement. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy initiated a program to test and develop new technologies for characterizing, creating and sustaining EGS reservoirs under natural field conditions. A site approximately 350 kilometers south of Salt Lake City Utah was selected for the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, or “FORGE” laboratory.
'Sourced in part by the Eagle Ford Group, the Austin Chalk has been a hot spot for operators on and off for a century. The rise of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing brought a renewed interest in the formation, which has produced new discoveries in Texas and Louisiana. Yet in parts of the Austin Chalk, extracting oil and gas can be extremely tricky. Several years ago, the Carbonate Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory at the University of Texas began a project to analyze approximately 40 cores from the Austin Chalk – the first group to do so.
Exploration of the Brookian-age Nanushuk and Torok formations on the North Slope of Alaska is a hot topic these days. The Nanushuk and Torok formations are Cretaceous progradational clastic deposits in the Colville basin of Alaska. These formations offer new opportunities to the oil and gas community because of their shallow depth, vast spatial extent, publicly available data, scope of development and other appealing features.
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.
Henry W. Posamentier discusses the application of 3-D seismic stratigraphic analyses to the mitigation of risk associated with lithology prediction prior to drilling – workflows and techniques. Principles and workflows of seismic stratigraphy and seismic geomorphology will be discussed and numerous examples will be shown from a variety of different depositional settings.
The following short course option was developed for geology and geophysics students that have not had much exposure to how geoscience is applied in industry. It can be tailored for undergraduate juniors and seniors or graduate students. The agenda can be modified to meet specific needs and time constraints. Contact the presenter to discuss options.
Request a visit from Fred Schroeder!
The following short course option was developed for geology and geophysics students that have not had much exposure to how geoscience is applied in industry. It can be tailored for undergraduate juniors and seniors or graduate students. The agenda can be modified to meet specific needs and time constraints.
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!
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