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Who’s got the last laugh now? The Uteland Butte once was a sandstone that operators quickly passed through – and often ignored – on their way to other targets. But things are changing in Utah.

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A three-dimensional seismic data set and published data from exploration wells were used to reconstruct the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Mandal High area, southern North Sea, Norway. The Mandal High is an elongated southeast-northwest–trending horst. Three fault families in the Lower Permian sequence, inherited from the basement structural grain of Caledonian origin, are interpreted: (1) a north-northwest–south-southeast–striking fault family, (2) a northeast-southwest–striking fault family, and (3) a near east-west–striking fault family. In addition, an east-southeast–west-northwest–striking fault family (4) that formed during Late Jurassic rifting and was reverse reactivated in the Late Cretaceous is interpreted. We suggest that inversion occurred because of small dextral motion along fault family 1. A final fault family (5) displays various strike orientations and is associated with salt movements.

Seven chronostratigraphic sequences defined by well data and recognized on three-dimensional seismic data are interpreted and mapped: Early Permian rifting in a continental environment; Late Permian deposition of the Zechstein salt and flooding; Triassic continental rifting; uplift and erosion in the Middle Jurassic with deposition of shallow-marine and deltaic sediments; rifting and transgression in a deep-marine environment during the Late Jurassic; a post-rift phase in a marine environment during the Early Cretaceous; and flooding and deposition of the Chalk Group in the Late Cretaceous. An eighth sequence was interpreted—Paleogene–Neogene—but has not been studied in detail. This sequence is dominated by progradation from the east and basin subsidence. Well and seismic data over the Mandal High reveal that large parts of the high were subaerially exposed from Late Permian to Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous, providing a local source of sediments for adjacent basins.

Similar to the Utsira High, where several large hydrocarbon discoveries have been recently seen, the Mandal High might consist of a set of petroleum plays, including fractured crystalline basement and shallow-marine systems along the flanks of the high, thereby opening up future exploration opportunities.

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Regional variations in thickness and facies of clastic sediments are controlled by geographic location within a foreland basin. Preservation of facies is dependent on the original accommodation space available during deposition and ultimately by tectonic modification of the foreland in its postthrusting stages. The preservation of facies within the foreland basin and during the modification stage affects the kinds of hydrocarbon reservoirs that are present.

This is the case for the Cretaceous Mowry Shale and Frontier Formation and equivalent strata in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Biostratigraphically constrained isopach maps of three intervals within these formations provide a control on eustatic variations in sea level, which allow depositional patterns across dip and along strike to be interpreted in terms of relationship to thrust progression and depositional topography.

The most highly subsiding parts of the Rocky Mountain foreland basin, near the fold and thrust belt to the west, typically contain a low number of coarse-grained sandstone channels but limited sandstone reservoirs. However, where subsidence is greater than sediment supply, the foredeep contains stacked deltaic sandstones, coal, and preserved transgressive marine shales in mainly conformable successions. The main exploration play in this area is currently coalbed gas, but the enhanced coal thickness combined with a Mowry marine shale source rock indicates that a low-permeability, basin-centered play may exist somewhere along strike in a deep part of the basin.

In the slower subsiding parts of the foreland basin, marginal marine and fluvial sandstones are amalgamated and compartmentalized by unconformities, providing conditions for the development of stratigraphic and combination traps, especially in areas of repeated reactivation. Areas of medium accommodation in the most distal parts of the foreland contain isolated marginal marine shoreface and deltaic sandstones that were deposited at or near sea level lowstand and were reworked landward by ravinement and longshore currents by storms creating stratigraphic or combination traps enclosed with marine shale seals.

Paleogeographic reconstructions are used to show exploration fairways of the different play types present in the Laramide-modified, Cretaceous foreland basin. Existing oil and gas fields from these plays show a relatively consistent volume of hydrocarbons, which results from the partitioning of facies within the different parts of the foreland basin.

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Thus far, the subject of deep-marine sands emplaced by baroclinic currents associated with internal waves and internal tides as potential reservoirs has remained an alien topic in petroleum exploration. Internal waves are gravity waves that oscillate along oceanic pycnoclines. Internal tides are internal waves with a tidal frequency. Internal solitary waves (i.e., solitons), the most common type, are commonly generated near the shelf edge (100–200 m [328–656 ft] in bathymetry) and in the deep ocean over areas of sea-floor irregularities, such as mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, and guyots. Empirical data from 51 locations in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans reveal that internal solitary waves travel in packets. Internal waves commonly exhibit (1) higher wave amplitudes (5–50 m [16–164 ft]) than surface waves (lt2 m [6.56 ft]), (2) longer wavelengths (0.5–15 km [0.31–9 mi]) than surface waves (100 m [328 ft]), (3) longer wave periods (5–50 min) than surface waves (9–10 s), and (4) higher wave speeds (0.5–2 m s–1 [1.64–6.56 ft s–1]) than surface waves (25 cm s–1 [10 in. s–1]). Maximum speeds of 48 cm s–1 (19 in. s–1) for baroclinic currents were measured on guyots. However, core-based sedimentologic studies of modern sediments emplaced by baroclinic currents on continental slopes, in submarine canyons, and on submarine guyots are lacking. No cogent sedimentologic or seismic criteria exist for distinguishing ancient counterparts. Outcrop-based facies models of these deposits are untenable. Therefore, potential exists for misinterpreting deep-marine baroclinic sands as turbidites, contourites, basin-floor fans, and others. Economic risks associated with such misinterpretations could be real.
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Integrated three-dimensional (3-D) paleomorphologic and sedimentary modeling was used to predict the basin architecture and depositional pattern of Pleistocene forearc basin turbidites in a gas hydrate field along the northeast Nankai Trough, off central Japan. Structural unfolding and stratigraphic decompaction of the targeted stratigraphic unit resulted in successful modeling of the paleobathymetry at the time of deposition. This paleobathymetry was characterized by a simple U-shaped paleominibasin. Subsequent turbidity current modeling on the reconstructed paleobathymetric surface demonstrated morphologically controlled turbidity current behavior and selective turbidite sand distribution within the minibasin, which strongly suggests the development of a confined turbidite system. Among three candidate inflow patterns, a northeasterly inflow pattern was determined as most likely. In this scenario, flow reflection and deflection caused ponding and a concentration of sandy turbidite accumulation in the basin center, which facilitated filling of the minibasin. Such a sedimentary character is undetected by seismic data in the studied gas hydrate reservoir formation because of hydrate-cementation–induced seismic anomalies. Our model suggests that 3-D horizon surfaces mapped from 3-D seismic data along with well-log data can be used to predict paleobasin characteristics and depositional processes in deep-water turbidite systems even if seismic profiles cannot be determined because of the presence of gas hydrates.
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A recent study has been completed comparing North American and European shale gas and oil resource systems.

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We use samples from undeformed and deformed sandstones (single deformation band, deformation band cluster, slip-surface cataclasite, and fault core slip zone) to characterize their petrophysical properties (porosity, permeability, and capillary pressure). Relationships between permeability and porosity are described by power-law regressions where the power-law exponent (D) decreases with the increasing degree of deformation (strain) experienced by the sample from host rock (D, sim9) to fault core (D, sim5). The approaches introduced in this work will allow geologists to use permeability and/or porosity measurements to estimate the capillary pressures and sealing capacity of different fault-related rocks without requiring direct laboratory measurements of capillary pressure. Results show that fault core slip zones have the highest theoretical sealing capacity (gt140-m [459-ft] oil column in extreme cases), although our calculations suggest that deformation bands can locally act as efficiently as fault core slip zones in sealing nonwetting fluids (in this study, oil and CO2). Higher interfacial tension between brine and CO2 (because of the sensitivity of CO2 to temperature and pressure) results in higher capillary pressure and sealing capacity in a brine and CO2 system than a brine and oil system for the same samples.
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Reservoir properties of Upper Triassic–Middle Jurassic sandstones, Spitsbergen, are studied as part of a CO2 storage pilot project in Longyearbyen. The reservoir formations show large contrasts in sandstone compositions, with unexpected low permeability despite moderate porosity values. Petrographic analyses were performed to investigate the influence and distribution of diagenesis. It is concluded that, because of various compaction, cementation, and dissolution processes, the sandstone porosity is mainly isolated molds and micropores and associated with fibrous illite and chamosite, explaining the low permeability. Diagenesis and the distribution of quartz cement is influenced by lithofacies and detrital compositions. Mineralogically immature sandstones (De Geerdalen Formation) show a homogeneous distribution of quartz cement overgrowths on quartz grains, distributed interstitial to labile grains and other cements (e.g., late calcite). The main silica source was from the dissolution of adjacent feldspar and labile grains as part of the chemical compaction. In contrast, quartz-dominated sandstones (Knorringfjellet Formation) show a heterogeneous patchy distribution of quartz cement influenced by the sedimentary bioturbation pattern, with silica sourced also from dissolution at clay-rich microstylolites. Phosphatic beds at the base and top of the formation are strongly influenced by marine eogenesis and reworking processes and associated with concentration of iron-rich authigenic minerals. The highest porosity appears in sand-supported conglomerate where moldic clay-mineral ooids contributed to reduce quartz cementation. The stratigraphic change from mineralogical immature (Triassic) to mature (uppermost Triassic–Jurassic) sandstone compositions is detected in wide areas of the Barents Shelf and has considerable implications for the distribution of sandstone reservoir properties.
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Estimation of the dimensions of fluvial geobodies from core data is a notoriously difficult problem in reservoir modeling. To try and improve such estimates and, hence, reduce uncertainty in geomodels, data on dunes, unit bars, cross-bar channels, and compound bars and their associated deposits are presented herein from the sand-bed braided South Saskatchewan River, Canada. These data are used to test models that relate the scale of the formative bed forms to the dimensions of the preserved deposits and, therefore, provide an insight as to how such deposits may be preserved over geologic time. The preservation of bed-form geometry is quantified by comparing the alluvial architecture above and below the maximum erosion depth of the modern channel deposits. This comparison shows that there is no significant difference in the mean set thickness of dune cross-strata above and below the basal erosion surface of the contemporary channel, thus suggesting that dimensional relationships between dune deposits and the formative bed-form dimensions are likely to be valid from both recent and older deposits.

The data show that estimates of mean bankfull flow depth derived from dune, unit bar, and cross-bar channel deposits are all very similar. Thus, the use of all these metrics together can provide a useful check that all components and scales of the alluvial architecture have been identified correctly when building reservoir models. The data also highlight several practical issues with identifying and applying data relating to cross-strata. For example, the deposits of unit bars were found to be severely truncated in length and width, with only approximately 10% of the mean bar-form length remaining, and thus making identification in section difficult. For similar reasons, the deposits of compound bars were found to be especially difficult to recognize, and hence, estimates of channel depth based on this method may be problematic. Where only core data are available (i.e., no outcrop data exist), formative flow depths are suggested to be best reconstructed using cross-strata formed by dunes. However, theoretical relationships between the distribution of set thicknesses and formative dune height are found to result in slight overestimates of the latter and, hence, mean bankfull flow depths derived from these measurements.

This article illustrates that the preservation of fluvial cross-strata and, thus, the paleohydraulic inferences that can be drawn from them, are a function of the ratio of the size and migration rate of bed forms and the time scale of aggradation and channel migration. These factors must thus be considered when deciding on appropriate length:thickness ratios for the purposes of object-based modeling in reservoir characterization.

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In-Person Training
Abilene Texas United States 11 January, 2016 11 January, 2016 23513 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/aapg-southwest-section.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Geochemistry and Basin Modeling, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Engineering, Petrophysics and Well Logs, Clastics, Carbonates, Reservoir Characterization, Eolian Sandstones, Fluvial Deltaic Systems, Marine, Deepwater Turbidites
Abilene, Texas, United States
11 January 2016

The AAPG Southwest Section presents the 2016 Bill Hailey Memorial Short Course in Abilene, Texas. Dr. Matthew J. Pranter will be speaking on "Fundamentals of Reservoir Characterization and Modeling".

Questions? Contact Jean Campbell, Continuing Education Committee Chair.

Fort Worth Texas United States 12 January, 2016 12 January, 2016 23511 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/aapg-southwest-section.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Engineering, Reservoir Characterization, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Petrophysics and Well Logs, Clastics, Fluvial Deltaic Systems, Eolian Sandstones, Marine, Deepwater Turbidites, Carbonates, Geochemistry and Basin Modeling
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
12 January 2016

The AAPG Southwest Section presents the 2016 Bill Hailey Memorial Short Course in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Matthew J. Pranter will be speaking on "Fundamentals of Reservoir Characterization and Modeling".

Questions? Contact Jean Campbell, Continuing Education Committee Chair.

Muscat Oman 18 January, 2016 20 January, 2016 16517 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/gtw2016me-hydrocarbon-seals-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Subsalt Traps, Structural Traps, Stratigraphic Traps, Diagenetic Traps, Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs, Reservoir Characterization, Engineering, Seismic Attributes, Geochemical Fingerprinting, 3D Seismic, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Sequence Stratigraphy, Evaporites, Clastics, Carbonates, Structure, Fold and Thrust Belts, Compressional Systems, Geomechanics and Fracture Analysis, Production, Drive Mechanisms
Muscat, Oman
18-20 January 2016

This workshop has the primary goal to share knowledge, case studies, techniques and workflows pertaining to the understanding and prediction of hydrocarbon seals for exploration and production in the Middle East. These seals range in age from Pre-Cambrian to Tertiary.    

Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 25 January, 2016 26 January, 2016 16518 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/gtw2016me-source-rocks-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Geochemistry and Basin Modeling, Source Rock, Development and Operations, Engineering, Conventional Drilling, Directional Drilling, Infill Drilling, Clastics, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Conventional Sandstones, Petroleum Systems, Fluvial Deltaic Systems, Structure, Compressional Systems, Extensional Systems, Sequence Stratigraphy, Stratigraphic Traps, Petrophysics and Well Logs, Basin Modeling, Oil and Gas Analysis, Reservoir Characterization
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
25-26 January 2016

This three-day workshop aims to provide a forum for professionals from industry, academia and government agencies, who are actively involved in the study of Middle Eastern Source Rocks, to share their advances in source rock related fields, present their experiences and challenges, and demonstrate relevant technologies and solutions.

Houston Texas United States 26 January, 2016 27 January, 2016 23346 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/Fifth-Annual-AAPG-SPE-Deepwater-Reservoirs-Geosciences-Technology-Workshop.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Clastics, Deep Sea / Deepwater, Deepwater Turbidites
Houston, Texas, United States
26-27 January 2016

Reserve your space now to learn how and where new knowledge and technology geology, engineering, and geophysics come together to make deepwater and shelf exploration and development more successful.

Lagos Nigeria 22 February, 2016 24 February, 2016 21922 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/sequence-stratigraphy-concepts-principles-applications-clastic-depositional-environments-02feb-2016-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Engineering, Reservoir Characterization, Geochemistry and Basin Modeling, Source Rock, Petrophysics and Well Logs, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Clastics, Conventional Sandstones, Deep Sea / Deepwater, Deepwater Turbidites, Eolian Sandstones, Estuarine Deposits, Fluvial Deltaic Systems, High Stand Deposits, Incised Valley Deposits, Lacustrine Deposits, Low Stand Deposits, Marine, Regressive Deposits, Sheet Sand Deposits, Shelf Sand Deposits, Slope, Transgressive Deposits, Sequence Stratigraphy, Deep Basin Gas, Diagenetic Traps, Stratigraphic Traps, Structural Traps
Lagos, Nigeria
22-24 February 2016
Sequence stratigraphy provides a framework for the integration of geological, geophysical, biostratigraphic and engineering data, with the aim of predicting the distribution of reservoir, source rock and seal lithologies. It gives the geoscientist a powerful predictive tool for regional basin analysis, shelf-to-basin correlation, and characterization of reservoir heterogeneity. This course will examine the underlying geological principles, processes and terminology related to sequence stratigraphic interpretation. The strength of this course is the application of these basic principles to subsurface datasets in a series of well-founded exercises.
Online Training
13 December, 2012 13 December, 2012 1494 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-petrophysics-of-shales.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
13 December 2012

The course will review core data, petrophysical comparisons, rock physics modeling (including pseudo logs and mechanical properties).

08 December, 2011 08 December, 2011 1480 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-connectivity-in-fluvial-systems.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
8 December 2011

This e-symposium focuses on methods for predicting connectivity within clastic fluvial systems.

24 October, 2013 24 October, 2013 1499 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-geomechanical-data-from-petrophysical-logs.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
24 October 2013

This e-symposium will be introducing signal processing techniques as a means to maximize extracting geomechanical data from petrophysical logs.

01 January, 2013 01 January, 9999 1459 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-cc-giant-oil-and-gas-fields.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
1 January 2013 - 1 January 9999

There are more approximately 1,000 oil and gas fields in the world that have been classified as "giant," containing more than 500 million barrels of recoverable oil and /or 3 trillion cubic feet of gas.

07 November, 2013 07 November, 2013 1500 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-from-qualitative-to-quantitative-interpretations.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
7 November 2013

This e-symposium presentation places the interpretation of deep-water turbidites discernible in 3-D seismic inversion data within a geological context.

28 April, 2011 28 April, 2011 1471 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-niobrara-petroleum-system-a-major-tight-resource-play.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
28 April 2011

The Niobrara Petroleum System of the U.S. Rocky Mountain Region is a major tight petroleum resource play.

17 February, 2011 17 February, 2011 1469 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-siliclastic-sequence-stratigraphy.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
17 February 2011

This presentation is designed for exploration/production geologists and geological managers or reservoir engineers.

11 November, 2010 11 November, 2010 1465 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-geochemical-evaluation-of-eagle-ford-group-source.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
11 November 2010

This e-symposium is ideal for geologists, geophysicists, engineers and other geoscientists who are involved in gas shale exploration and production.

29 April, 2010 29 April, 2010 1457 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-seismic-stratigraphy-seismic-geomorphology-of-deep-water.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
29 April 2010

This presentation will focus on the seismic stratigraphic and seismic geomorphologic expression of deep-water deposits, including both reservoir and non-reservoir facies.

22 October, 2009 22 October, 2009 1452 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-fluvial-stratigraphy.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
22 October 2009

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

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7817 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-generic-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
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