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Salt Tectonics

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The past 30+ years have witnessed a wide variety of exploration strategies and a number of technological “revolutions” in the search for oil and gas. Although the exploration landscape and tools of the trade are so different than they were in the early 1980’s, in one aspect we appear to have come full circle, realizing that a deep understanding of our basins is the critical element in any success.
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The search for unconventional hydrocarbons is not new. It’s true that almost 100 years separated the early exploration successes in the synclinal valleys of Central Pennsylvania, to the exploitation of Coal-Bed Methane in a number of basins in the U.S. and Canada in the 1980’s. Since the 1980's, however, a quiet revolution began which by today has seen several waves of unconventional resources being pursued with economic success. Coal-bed methane was followed by the search for Center-Basin Gas, Shale Gas and most recently, Liquid-rich Shales (some of which aren't shales).

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Some of the world’s most spectacular and geologically fascinating sights will be showcased in nine field trips planned in conjunction with September’s AAPG-SEG International Conference and Exhibition (ACE) in Melbourne, Australia, Sept. 13-16.
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The Upper Jurassic Smackover formation in northern Louisiana and surrounding states has been explored and drilled for decades, but has only recently seen the sophisticated approach needed to decipher its challenging geology.

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Take a first hand look at the basic working tools to explore and develop hydrocarbons in salt basins. This introduction to salt tectonics is intended for geoscientists, engineers, and managers who need review or update on this constantly evolving field. The course is appropriate for those working in any salt basin globally and assumes abasic familiarity with structural geology concepts and terminology

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“Spectacular geology and history, together.” That’s how AAPG Honorary member Pinar Yilmaz of ExxonMobil set the scene for the upcoming International Conference and Exhibition (ICE), set Sept., 14-17 in Istanbul, Turkey.

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The style of faulting in offshore Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico, is characterized by short, arcuate regional and counterregional growth faults, which commonly form complex transfer zones above shallow, Miocene level salt bodies. South Timbalier Block 54 (ST54) constitutes one such area where a basinward-dipping regional and a landward-dipping counterregional growth fault form a convergent transfer zone.

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Thirty-seven mudstone samples were collected from the uppermost Lower Mudstone Member of the Potrerillos Formation in El Gordo minibasin within La Popa Basin, Mexico. The unit is exposed in a circular pattern at the earth's surface and is intersected by El Gordo diapir in the northeast part of the minibasin. Vitrinite reflectance (Ro) results show that samples along the eastern side of the minibasin (i.e., south of the diapir) are mostly thermally immature to low maturity (Ro ranges from 0.53% to 0.64%). Vitrinite values along the southern, western, and northwestern part of the minibasin range between 0.67% and 0.85%. Values of Ro immediately northwest of the diapir are the highest, reaching a maximum of 1.44%. The results are consistent with two different possibilities: (1) that the diapir plunges to the northwest, or (2) that a focused high-temperature heat flow existed along just the northwest margin of the diapir. If the plunging diapir interpretation is correct, then the thermally immature area south of the diapir was in a subsalt position, and the high-maturity area northwest of the diapir was in a suprasalt position prior to Tertiary uplift and erosion. If a presumed salt source at depth to the northwest of El Gordo also fed El Papalote diapir, which is located just to the north of El Gordo diapir, then the tabular halokinetic sequences that are found only along the east side of El Papalote may be subsalt features. However, if the diapir is subvertical and the high-maturity values northwest of the diapir are caused by prolonged, high-temperature fluid flow along just the northwestern margin of the diapir, then both of these scenarios are in disagreement with previously published numerical models. This disagreement arises because the models predict that thermal anomalies will extend outward from a diapir a distance roughly 1.5 times the radius of the diapir, but the results reported here show that the anomalous values on one side of the diapir are about two times the radius, whereas they are as much as five times the radius on the other side of the diapir. The results indicate that strata adjacent to salt margins may experience significantly different heat histories adjacent to different margins of diapirs that result in strikingly different diagenetic histories, even at the same depth.
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The results of regional deep seismic acquisition in the South Atlantic continental margins have shed new lights on the birth and development of sedimentary basins formed during the Gondwana breakup. Recent models of mantle exhumation as observed in the deep water Iberian margin have been applied extensively to the interpretation of several basins in the Eastern Brazilian and West African conjugate margins. However, the tectonic development of these basins is markedly different from the magma-poor margins, and in this lecture we emphasize the contrasts from the tectono-sedimentary features imaged in deep-penetrating seismic profiles that extend from the platform towards the oceanic crust, which indicate that the Red Sea constitutes a better analogue for the birth of divergent continental margins.

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In-Person Training
Houston Texas United States 01 December, 2015 04 December, 2015 13554 Mobile /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/sc-Practical-Salt-Tectonics.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Structure, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Salt Tectonics, Fold and Thrust Belts, Evaporites
Houston, Texas, United States
1-4 December 2015
This course is designed to give participants the basic working tools to explore and develop hydrocarbons in salt basins. Because no two basins are alike, the focus is on understanding the processes and styles of salt-related deformation. At course completion participants should be able to under the depositional setting of layered evaporites, describe the mechanics of salt flow, interpret salt and stratal geometries associated with diapirs, salt welds, and minibasins, and assess more accurately the risks in the exploration of salt basins.
Online Training
15 March, 2012 15 March, 2012 1484 Mobile /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-exploring-the-geopressure-risk-in-deep-water-frontier-plays.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
15 March 2012

This e-symposium presents techniques for predicting pore pressure in seals by examining case studies from the Gulf of Mexico and incorporating the relationship between rocks, fluids, stress, and pressure.

01 January, 2013 01 January, 9999 1459 Mobile /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.

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Salt Tectonics

Salt Tectonics
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