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Explorer Historical Highlights

John S. Wold was a man of such prolific industry and accomplishment that his life story reads less like a narrative and more like a series of escalating and expanding accomplishments in one field after another. Along with being a successful petroleum geologist and mineral resource producer, this award-winning AAPG Member was also an accomplished inventor, scientist, academic, entrepreneur, rancher, philanthropist and public servant. He had the distinction of being the first professional geologist in the U.S. Congress – and a petroleum geologist at that.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Geophysical Corner

Phase decomposition is a novel technique that decomposes a composite seismic signal into different phase components, which can improve reservoir characterization. The technique is particularly useful in those areas where thin-bed interference causes the phase of the input seismic response to differ from the phase of the embedded wavelet in the data.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

When the International Petroleum Technology Conference comes to Saudi Arabia in February, the technical program will include a significant look at both unconventional oil and gas and conventional tight oil in the Middle East. Those are two different concepts in the region and the distinctions are important. The Middle East holds a large conventional tight oil resource, now emerging as a serious focus for development. With so much recent attention devoted to unconventional resources, conventional tight oil could be considered an overlooked sibling.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Worldwide oil and gas exploration results took a major hit from reduced investment and the ongoing COVID pandemic last year. Cautious industry spending and overall selectivity over prospects likely reduced discoveries to their lowest annual level in 75 years. Here’s the recommendation from one industry analyst for 2022’s global exploration and supply outlook: Stay chill for now.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The cloud forests in Western Colombia’s Andes Mountains are home to a diverse group of indigenous communities including the U´wa people. Community traditions prohibit members from using energy from non-renewable sources, so most lack access to electricity. Without computers and the internet, U’wa children’s education lags behind that of other Colombians. The story changed for one U´wa village when a group of geology students and AAPG Chapter members decided to reach out.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

In the IEA’s “Net Zero by 2050” report, which outlines a comprehensive pathway for a global transition to zero emissions by mid-century, the agency states that much of the technology needed to make a timely transition has not yet been developed. Emerging technologies, such as improved battery storage, low-carbon hydrogen production and carbon capture utilization and storage, show “encouraging” progress, but the world significantly lags behind in power generation and end-use sectors, specifically industry, buildings and transport.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Middle East Blog

Save the new dates for the upcoming Source Rocks of the Middle East: A World Class Resource for Unconventional? GTW taking place now from 26-28 September 2022 in Manama, Bahrain. The event will focus on the geological aspects of the unconventional revolution, which is vital to ensure successful Exploration, Appraisal and subsequently Development of the basins in the region.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Thanks to continuing advances in reservoir characterization, technology and innovative thinking, many oil fields around the globe have “grown larger” in recent decades. John Sneider, president of Sneider Exploration Inc., documented examples of mature field growth 20 years ago and recently revisited the topic to focus on mature giant fields. This updated analysis is detailed in chapter 4 of the new AAPG Memoir 125: “Giant Fields of the Decade: 2010 – 2020.”

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Division Column DPA

There is no denying there are massive changes happening around the world today, seemingly as a reaction to the emergence of the COVID/Wuhan virus. However, while the virus might be a catalyst of change, other factors are in play too. Many leaders around the world seem to share in the sentiment expressed by the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, who recently wrote, “The changes we have already seen in response to COVID-19 prove that a reset of our economic and social foundations is possible,” in the interest of promoting the WEF’s proposed “Great Reset” of the global economy.

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

Last month Houston hosted the 23rd World Petroleum Congress with more than 5,000 attendees from 70 countries. After a one-year postponement due to the global pandemic, energy leaders from across the globe gathered to discuss the future of energy. And the tone of the discussion was sobering. Following on the heels of November’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow, there was recognition that political and societal pressures are shifting the energy sector and the industries in it. But there was widespread concern that the expectations underlying these pressures for change were unrealistic. That those pushing hardest for change lacked a fundamental understanding of what transforming the global energy sector truly entailed, what it would look like when it was complete and the dangers looming from getting it wrong.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Houston, Texas
Thursday, 6 June Friday, 7 June 2024, 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

For the first time, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Geothermal Rising are bringing together geothermal, critical minerals and gases to explore the connections between them, either in the formation of the reservoirs or reserves, or in exploring for, evaluating, and producing them.  Specifically, the conference will bring together geothermal, lithium, geologic hydrogen, helium, iodine, and more in the form of technical presentations, probing panel discussions, poster sessions, and more.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Palermo, Italy
Thursday, 25 April 2024, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.

This one-day field trip will provide an introduction to a Miocene-Pliocene succession of southern Sicily, which includes outcrops of the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), as well as the Messinian-Zanclean GSSP (Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Point) and Zanclean stratotype. The MSC sedimentary record consists of an evaporitic-carbonate unit at the base (the Basal Limestone), overlain the Lower Gypsum unit, in turn overlain by the Upper Gypsum unit, and sealed by transgressive chalk deposits of the Trubi Fm. The Lower Gypsum unit (massive gypsum with cm-sized selenite crystals) will be visited along the beach of Siculiana Marina (about 15 km NW of Agrigento). Next, we will visit near Capo Rossello (about 10 km NW of Agrigento) an outcrop of the Upper Gypsum unit consisting of clay-gypsum cycles and overlain by the Trubi Fm. The latter, at Scala dei Turchi beach, consists of chalk deposits arranged in a spectacular thick succession (~120 m thick) interpreted as astronomically-controlled depositional cycles. The uppermost interval of the MSC sedimentary record, including the Messinian-Zanclean GSSP, will be observed along the beach of Eraclea Minoa located about 20 km NW of Capo Rossello. Pricing Fee: €50 Attendee Limit: Min 15 - Max 50 People Registration Deadline: 11 April 2024 Field Trip Rendezvous Point Hotel nH Palermo Field Trip Leaders Antonio Caruso University of Palermo Attilio Sulli University of Palermo

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Palermo, Italy
Sunday, 21 April 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This one-day field trip will focus on Mesozoic (Jurassic to Cretaceous) carbonates outcropping in the fold and thrust belt of western Sicily and equivalent to the aquifer complex of the Sciacca Geothermal Field located in the southwestern part of the island. Participants will have the opportunity to visit in the first stop a spectacular “drowned” carbonate-platform succession at Mt. Maranfusa located in an inactive quarry about 50 km SW of Palermo. The succession consists of Lower Jurassic peritidal cycles overlain by Middle Jurassic to Cretaceous pelagic limestone (e.g. ammonitic limestone, “chalk”) and marked by an unconformity with locally hardground. Syn-depositional Mesozoic tectonic is characterized by neptunian dykes and normal faults, whereas reverse faults, strike-slip faults, and joints are related to subsequent Cenozoic deformation. In the second stop, at Mt. San Calogero, adjacent to the picturesque coastal town of Sciacca (about 100 km south of Palermo), we will visit the surface expression of an extensive karst system linked to uprising geothermal fluids. Furthermore, we will discuss main characteristics of the Sciacca Geothermal Field and its connection to deep mantle-derived fluids. Outcrop data will be integrated with both 2D seismic lines and exploration well logs showing the stratigraphy and structure of the deep aquifer. Given the presence of faults and joints in the outcrops, this field trip can provide the participants with valuable insights into naturally fractured reservoirs at the sub-seismic scale. Pricing Fee: €50 Attendee Limit: Min15 - Max 45 People Registration Deadline: 11 April 2024 Field Trip Leaders Gianni Mallarino MOL Group Attilio Sulli University of Palermo

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Field Seminar
Banff, Canada
Saturday, 11 May 2024, 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Time: 8:00am - 5:00pm Fee: $300 AAPG members $350 Nonmembers $200 Academic/AAPG Emeritus Members $50 discount for workshop registrants Fee Includes: Transportation Insurance Field guide Entrance fee to Banff National Park Registration available during workshop registration This field trip will focus on the structural geology of the foothills and Front Ranges of Banff. Participants will be able to view excellent field examples of structures very similar to the producing oil and gas fields in the foothills to the west of Calgary and to learn about the complexities of sub-seismic-scale deformation. The field trip starts with an introduction to the interaction between thrust front with foreland basins and the interaction of basement trends with thrust belt geometries and (conventional) hydrocarbon fields. During the 1-day trip participants will follow a dip transect from the undeformed foreland basin, the eastern edge of the foothills marked by the triangle zone, the Front Ranges boundary and end at the Main Ranges west of Banff. Field Trip Itinerary Depart from Calgary – 8:00 a.m. Stop 1: Cochrane Retreat Road Overlook Trip overview and introduction; safety and logistics comments; interaction of thrust front with foreland basin; interaction of basement trends with thrust belt geometry and (conventional) hydrocarbon field distribution; appreciation of scale for subsurface play fairway. Stop 2: Scott Lake Stop 3: The Stony Nakoda Tim’s Classic stop, with historical importance for understanding the thrust belt and thrust geometry. Part 1 of displacement gradient on a large thrust. Most importantly, toilet stop after all the Tim’s coffee and driving. Review of Mt Yamnuska from a different perspective; preview of drive through McConnell damage zone and change in HW stratigraphy.. Stop 4: Lac des Arcs Imbricate thrust sheets in the Front Ranges and Banff Formation. Stop 5: Canmore T-junction Observe complexities of sub-seismic-scale deformation in mechanically layered rocks in the footwall of a large thrust Stop 6: Canmore strike view of the Rundle thrust Exposed strike view analogous to a cut-away of a giant conventional Foothills hydrocarbon field such as Turner Valley. Cross faults within the thrust sheet offset potential reservoir units at sub-seismic scale. Cross faults are arguably part of a regional trend associated with deeper, basement-rooted NE-SW structures. Stop 7: Mt Norquay Overlook Stop 8: Bow Falls Fracture systems in the Vega Siltstone Mbr of the Triassic Sulphur Mtn Fm. This outcrop of Vega Member siltstone of the Sulphur Mtn Fm is considered equivalent to upper Montney Fm. We will focus on the outcrop adjacent to the steps up to the Falls overlook.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Palermo, Italy
Monday, 22 April Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This Symposium marks a collaborative event that brings together AAPG Europe and AAPG Middle East, with a central focus on carbonates and mixed carbonate systems worldwide, while highlighting their significance within these two regions. The primary objectives are an overview of controls that govern the evolution of these systems in time and space and the characterization and prediction of their properties across scales.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Workshop
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Monday, 27 May Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

In order to support the energy transition, optimizing exploration and production from complex stratigraphic-diagenetic conventional and unconventional plays remains highly important. At the same time, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) poses new technological challenges that will impact both the industry and academia for decades to come. This 2nd edition will present reviews and discuss technology developments in geological process-based forward modeling achieved during the last 2 years. New perspectives for future technology developments and implementation in industry workflows will be discussed and with the additional focus on CO₂ storage and other sustainability-related applications, the scope of the workshop will be considerably extended.

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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

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)
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

This presentation is a survey of subsurface machine learning concepts that have been formulated for unconventional asset development, described in the literature, and subsequently patented. Operators that utilize similar subsurface machine learning workflows and other data modelling techniques enjoy a competitive advantage at optimizing the development of unconventional plays.

Request a visit from Shane Prochnow!

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

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)
DL Abstract

Paleozoic North America has experienced multiple mountain building events, from Ordovician to Permian, on all margins of the continent. These have had a profound effect on the resulting complex basins and their associated petroleum systems. Subsequent uplift, erosion and overprinting of these ancient systems impedes the direct observation of their tectonic history. However, the basin sedimentary records are more complete, and provide additional insights into the timing and style of the mountain building events. In this study, we employ ~90 1D basin models, ~30 inverse flexural models, isopachs, and paleogeographic maps to better understand the Paleozoic history of North America.

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Request a visit from Kurt W. Rudolph!

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
DL Abstract

Climate change is not only happening in the atmosphere but also in the anthroposphere; in some ways the former could drive or exacerbate the latter, with extreme weather excursions and extreme excursions from societal norms occurring all over the earth. Accomplishing geoscience for a common goal – whether that is for successful business activities, resource assessment for public planning, mitigating the impacts of geological hazards, or for the sheer love of furthering knowledge and understanding – can and should be done by a workforce that is equitably developed and supported. Difficulty arises when the value of institutional programs to increase equity and diversity is not realized.

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Request a visit from Sherilyn Williams-Stroud!

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)

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