Explorer Division Column DPA

As geologists, we manage uncertainty for a living. Geological scenarios are rarely black and white. Through experience, we’ve come to expect the various shades of grey that accompany the technical decisions we make, usually much to the vexation of our engineering colleagues who are more accustomed to speaking in absolutes. We’re trained to do the best we can with the data we have in any given moment and explain why we commit to the decision we make. Over the decades, we’ve excelled at this practice, except in one critical area: our own public image. We’re completely capable of explaining risk and reward to a boardroom of investors, but some proportion of the public thinks the worst of us.

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

“A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.” – Gilbert H. Grosvenor

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

'Molly Turko, even in these dark times of COVID and decreased worldwide energy demand, is at heart an optimist. “There is always a light, you just have to know where to look,” she said. And she feels that the Anadarko Basin, a place she has spent the last 10 years of her professional life, is a great place to start looking. For Turko, who has worked in multiple basins in the United States, including the Ardmore, Powder River, Appalachian, onshore Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain basins, said the Anadarko, along with the adjacent Wichita Uplift, may hold the most attractive possibilities.

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

Welcome to 2021! I am so glad to see 2020 in my rearview mirror, but there are just as many challenges in front of us with the new year. As you know from my previous columns, AAPG while experiencing significant financial challenges, is also at a turning point as we prepare for the future. To that end, the AAPG Executive Committee set up a short-term strategy with tactics in July 2020 at the start of the fiscal year.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The world’s super basins have their roots in deep time and their fruits in long-standing, prolific oil and gas production. But that doesn’t mean the industry understands them completely or knows where they all are. One potential super basin complex in the Rocky Mountains area of the United States isn’t even officially named yet. Located mostly in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, bounded to the northeast by the older Williston Basin and to the west by the Sevier thrust belt, it contains numerous, present-day basins including the Powder River, Big Horn, Wind River, Green River, Uinta, Piceance and Denver basins.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Electric vehicles have been targeted as an important transition toward a greener planet. Yet the manufacturing of lithium ion batteries is creating a significant environmental impact. As it stands, most large volumes of lithium-bearing rocks and brines mined in Australia, Chile, Argentina and other countries must be shipped to China, which controls 65 percent of the supply chains for battery-ready lithium chemicals and 73 percent of the manufacturing of lithium ion batteries. While carbon emissions from shipping is substantial, the greatest environmental impact comes from the actual processing of lithium and the manufacturing of its end products. The United States could play a significant role in solving this problem.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin is one of the largest, in area, in the world. Practically the size of all North American basins combined, it boasts the third largest reserves in the world, five major source rocks, numerous reservoirs, a broad range of structural and stratigraphic traps and a host of conventional and unconventional plays.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Super basin applications and analogs continue to drive the future. As we learn more about them, we discover how valuable super basins are to exploration and development. As a result, AAPG continues its initiative to showcase some of the world’s greatest petroleum basins with the fourth Global Super Basins Leadership Conference.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The AAPG Women’s Network and the SEPM student community co-hosted a panel discussion in October with AAPG Executive Committee officers. While we addressed many of the audience’s questions during the event, we ran out of time before answering all of the important submitted questions. The panelists decided to share responses with the greater AAPG community through the EXPLORER.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Researchers generally say they are scrambling to keep up with the changing needs of the oil industry combined with the emerging, broader concerns of society. Amazingly, technology research for oil and gas continues to flourish even now, despite some recent problematic headwinds. And even though computing-related technology gets most of the attention these days, today’s energy research extends far beyond Big Data and its applications.

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, 2 October 2014, 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

This course is ideal for individuals involved in Midland Basin exploration and development. Successful development of Wolfcamp shale oil relies on complex inter-relationships (ultimately interdependencies) within and between a wide variety of scientific disciplines, financial entities, and company partnerships. 

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Join us for 'Pivoting 2021: Energy Industry Supply Chains'. Panelists will discuss some of the most prominent advances in supply chain practice, including provenance, authenticity assurance, blockchain, automation, multiple sourcing, and 3D printing. Webinar will be presented via Zoom 7pm - 8:30pm CDT, 14 April 2021.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Join us for 'Matching Capabilities and Capacity With Current and Emerging Demand Areas; Building a Business Plan That Reflects the Realities of Opportunities'. Webinar will be presented via Zoom 7pm - 8:30pm CDT, 20 May 2020. During this webinar we will discuss: Matching technologies and companies Keys to Building a Resilient Early-Stage Business Multi-Industry Technology: Robotics as a Service

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Webinar
Virtual Webinar
Wednesday, 10 June 2020, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Gil Machado is a Petroleum Exploration Geologist with a Ph.D in stratigraphy and source rock characterization. Gil's presentation 'Reducing Uncertainty and Increasing Chances of Success Using Biostratigraphy', will explore the role of biostratigraphy in the exploration workflow. Several success cases from around the World will be detailed, showing the uses of this discipline for sedimentation age determination, paleoenvironmental interpretation and source rock characterization. Join Gil Machado via Zoom on June 10 at 12:00 GMT+1

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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

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)
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

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)
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

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

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

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)
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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