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Explorer Article

In July 2019, when the current AAPG Executive Committee took office, they inherited one piece of outstanding business: review the AAPG Climate Statement that had been approved by the previous EC, but also tabled for approval by the incoming EC. Over the last seven months, and long before the two black swan events that are wreaking havoc on our industry and our Association, the EC engaged many of the Association’s stakeholders, including the divisions, the Advisory Council, the Corporate Advisory Board and, by way of a survey, our members.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The goal of the Environmental Geosciences Journal is to leverage the profession’s understanding of geological, geochemical, geophysical and hydrogeological principles and methodologies to assist in the quest for solutions to environmental problems and to bring you the latest research in these areas. You can help the DEG reach the broader stakeholder community by submitting your manuscripts to the Environmental Geosciences Journal.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer ProTracks

At a time when the geoscience job market is suffering from low demand and fewer jobs, the Middle East is hungry for petroleum geoscientists.

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

We have been through a month of lockdown due to the coronavirus, and in that time, we have seen oil prices go into negative numbers. This is paper barrels! The commodity market has a place in our business and it’s helpful to understand the history and how the commodity market has changed our industry.

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

May is upon us. In the northern hemisphere we’re in the middle of spring, a time of awakening and new beginnings. Here in Oklahoma, the sun is shining, the grass is green and the roses are in bloom. But there’s another side to spring in Oklahoma: tornado season. And for many of us, the present situation looks more like foreboding thunderheads, hail, fierce winds and sheets of rain. COVID-19 continues to spread illness and uncertainty. Far too many of us have either been directly affected by this virus or know someone who has. None of us has escaped the impact of a staggering collapse in oil prices. Graduation has been canceled. This month looks more sinister than sunny. And all of us – newly minted graduates, mid- career and seasoned veterans alike – are asking, “What’s next?”

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Some 257 people gathered at the beautiful new Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in the last week of February 2020 to attend the first AAPG/EAGE Papua New Guinea Petroleum Geoscience Conference and Exhibition. The theme for the conference was, “PNG’s Oil and Gas Industry Maturing Through Exploration Development and Production.”

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

In a room of more than 150 geoscientists gathered to support scholarship recipients of the Houston Geological Society, the question was asked: “How many of you secretly want to be an astronaut?” Dozens of hands shot up. Yes, it is cool to study rocks on Earth, but with exploration in the DNA of scientists, the rocks on the moon and on Mars inevitably beckon. In a keynote address to recipients of $50,000 in scholarships from the HGS Scholarship Committee chaired by past AAPG President Charles Sternbach, Jessica Watkins – a newly graduated astronaut from NASA and planetary geologist – made the possibility of space exploration a little less out of reach for budding geoscientists.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Joshua Rosenfeld’s article in the April EXPLORER issue’s Historical Highlights provides an interesting compilation of observations selected to support an unproven hypothesis: that the large influx of Paleogene Wilcox sandstones in the Gulf of Mexico can be linked to a major evaporative drawdown of the basin, loosely aligned with and possibly triggering the Paleocene-Eocene thermal event. We offer our observations based on decades of oil industry experience working the Wilcox play, more than 55 peer- reviewed academic papers and one book on Gulf of Mexico sedimentary basin.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Geophysical Corner

The interactive visualization of seismic attributes makes an effective use of color. Any color can be represented in RGB color space, which forms the working model for computer and television monitors. Normally, humans do not think of any color as a mixture of these three colors, but often refer to colors being more- or less-saturated, having different tones, or even one color being brighter than the other. Thus, besides the 3-D RGB color space, other more intuitive 3-D color models such as HSV and HSL have also been developed, with the application of the latter model for co-visualizing two or three different seismic attributes.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

With oil reaching historic lows, massive layoffs, a growing stigma against fossil fuels, and new fields of science with a futuristic feel, it is understandable why studying the geosciences – particularly for careers in petroleum – might strike a student as a bad idea. Most would agree the oil and gas industry has a major public relations crisis on its hands. To remain relevant, it must demonstrate the growing need for geoscientists in forward-thinking positions where job security is all but a given.

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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

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

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

Physics is an essential component of geophysics but there is much that physics cannot know or address. 

Request a visit from John Castagna!

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

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

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

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

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)

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