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)
Explorer Article

Exact predictions of the future have always been close to impossible. For the oil industry today, they might be even harder than that. Some oil companies are taking a wait- and-watch approach to planning, as multiple unknowns face the industry in a period of extreme uncertainty. Trying to predict a precise outlook right now isn’t just foolish, said Mark Finley. It could be dangerous.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

What is “brand”? The London-based Design Council notes that: “Brand is a set of associations that a person (or a group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual or organization. These associations may be intentional – that is, they may be actively promoted by marketing and/or corporate identity – or they may be outside the control of the business.” For example, the growing belief among younger demographics that the fossil fuel industry represents the fuels of their parents.

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

“The only certainty in geology is the unexpected will happen” is a bit of wisdom my friend and mentor John Shelton likes to quote. If anything, in this environment, it’s an understatement. AAPG, our members and industry were hit with the perfect storm: —COVID-19, geopolitics and commodity prices. Of course, I don’t need to tell you about it. We have all adjusted to a new world, which includes quarantines, masks, eating in, ordering out, Zoom, MS Teams, etc. The dogs love it, the cats hate it. It’s been tough on all of us and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families, especially those who have lost loved ones. So … how does all this impact your society?

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

I know I’m not alone. Each day, as part of my morning routine, just as reliably as I brush my teeth and brew strong coffee, I check the price that oil is trading for on global markets. How do I know I’m not alone? Because my first calls of the day – usually with AAPG leaders – usually begin or end with a reference to oil prices. We all know that watching the price of oil does nothing to boost demand, but still we watch, ever hopeful that today will be a good day in the markets.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

The German oil industry did not employ geologists until the 1920s. Instead, they relied on geological surveys and other resources from universities, predominantly from Jakob Stoller of the Prussian Geological Survey. After World War I, with the beginning of private motorization and the interest of the military, demand for oil began to increase. This led to the establishment of a separate department of petroleum geology and the employment of a young geologist, Alfred Bentz, as assistant to Stoller.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Super basins around the world offer plentiful opportunities for exploration and development, even with the temporarily reduced financial outlook of the oil industry. Ask explorationists to pick a favorite in today’s environment and the popular choice is almost a cheat. The Gulf of Mexico isn’t just a super basin. It’s a huge expanse of prospects and possibilities, of proven resources and potential reserves. An onshore, near-shore, offshore and deepwater exploration province that is really a vast collection of basins and geological features.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Helium rose back into the news recently, in part because of drilling exploration programs planned for an area along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border in southern Canada. North American Helium Inc. of Calgary announced it had arranged additional equity financing of about $29 million to purchase and construct its second helium purification plant at the Battle Creek field in southwest Saskatchewan and to fund an active drilling program. A number of other companies are reportedly involved in North American helium exploration projects, including Desert Mountain Energy Corp. and Royal Helium Ltd. of Vancouver, Weil Group Resources LLC in Richmond, Va., and Australian explorer Blue Star Energy.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Can predictive data analytics, a cutting-edge tool for exploration, lead to a future boom in new field discoveries and reserve additions? If it does, predictive analytics predicted it.

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

Many of us as petroleum geoscientists, whether recent graduates or experienced professionals, are confronting significant disruption in our chosen profession. The oil and gas business today is, once again, in transition. How do we each individually adapt this to this new reality? It’s by exploring breadth – range – not just the depths of specialization.

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)
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)
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)
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 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

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)

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