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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

Molly Turko has a passion for unraveling complex geological histories and it has taken her to fascinating field locations where there are still mysteries to solve. Join Molly as she shares her story and her favorite outcrops.

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 Division Column DEG

The environment is in your face this year. Here in Los Angeles, we had one of the clearest springs that I can remember. All because the COVID-19 virus resulted in a huge shutdown of most everything that took us outdoors. Come summer and the fires struck the western states. The air turned brown and the visibility went to nearly zero. It stayed that way all the way to summer’s end. This was a huge wakeup call on how sensitive the atmosphere is to changes brought about by aerosols. This brings to mind a story about the biggest tourist attraction in the greater Los Angeles area in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

During the 1980s, early prospecting in deepwater margins was the simple extension of prolific updip producing basins that were charged. However, the migration of petroleum exploration and development into deepwater was fraught with challenges. For engineers and geologists, one of our biggest challenges was to overcome our collective lack of understanding about the geology of deepwater. We had to revisit everything we thought we knew, one paradigm shift after another.

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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 Geophysical Corner

The past few years have seen increasing interest in the application of machine learning techniques in the industry, specifically in seismic interpretation. Over a clastic Tertiary clinoform interval in the public F3-Netherland dataset, we benchmarked advanced neural network algorithms against standard probabilistic lithology classifications from seismic data, to understand their benefits and limitations, and to check which approach works best under which circumstances.

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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)
Explorer Article

As companies work toward developing alternative sources for a world with ever-increasing energy demands, energy minerals are moving to the forefront of the conversation. AAPG’s Energy Minerals Division finds itself in the spotlight these days for its work in prospecting alternative energy sources, such as geothermal and hydrates, for commercial use. “We’ve got good momentum right now with interest in alternative energy,” said Ursula Hammes, AAPG Member, EMD president and president at Hammes Energy and Consultants.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

One of the cooler energy projects in development today addresses CO₂, methane, climate change and clean fuels, all at the same time. That’s “cooler” in the sense of using less heat, as well as being highly innovative in combining natural gas and carbon dioxide to generate fuel. The gas-to-liquids process is a research project of GTI in metropolitan Chicago, where it’s known as Cool GTL.

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

While there are many habitats that are associated with the deposition of organic-rich marine and lacustrine source rocks, one important pathway is linked to the onset of increased basin subsidence associated with major tectonic events. A key aspect is that this subsidence is spatially variable, with the uplift of basin flanks contemporaneous with the foundering of the basin center, resulting in a steeper basin profile.

Request a visit from Kurt W. Rudolph!

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

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

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

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

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

For well over a century there have been conflicting indications of the strength of the crust and of faults and what controls them.  Much of our ignorance comes quite naturally from the general inaccessibility of the crust to measurement--in contrast with our understanding of the atmosphere, which is much more accessible to observation as well as more rapidly changing.  Crustal strength is best understood in deforming sedimentary basins where the petroleum industry has made great contributions, particularly in deforming petroleum basins because of the practical need to predict. In this talk we take a broad look at key issues in crustal strength and deformation and what we can learn from boreholes, earthquakes, active fault systems, and toy models.

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Request a visit from John Suppe!

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

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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