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Explorer Emphasis Article

After years of a brutal industry downturn, Latin American oil and gas is finally starting to get back its strength. But just barely, according to Aditya Ravi, senior analyst for consulting firm Rystad Energy in Oslo. Challenges for the Latin American oil industry include a financial hangover from the oil price collapse, political uncertainties and a struggle to replace declining production. In Latin America, “Brazil and Guyana are the hotspots when it comes to exploration offshore. Until something big comes up in Argentina, it’s unlikely” those provinces will be overshadowed soon, Ravi said.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

“The Aaron Harber Show,” a weekly television program seen nationwide is aimed at promoting mutually respectful civil discourse. Harber said the show is in “diametric opposition” to television’s typical use of gratuitous conflict, false controversy, polarization and personal attacks – and that includes the interviewing of geologists and discussing the issues facing the industry. His reputation among geologists and AAPG members in particular has earned him this year’s Geosciences in the Media Award.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Africa Blog

Under the Patronage of His Excellency Eng. Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Egypt, AAPG Africa introduces the Eastern Mediterranean Mega-Basin: New Data, New Ideas, and New Opportunities GTW.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Middle East Blog

After a successful first edition in 2017, the Structural Styles of the Middle East GTW is back in the region to continue focusing on the structural evolution of the Middle East geological provinces as well as on the main structural styles characterizing these provinces.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Asia Pacific Blog

Call for abstracts is now open for the 1st AAPG/EAGE Papua New Guinea Petroleum Geoscience Conference & Exhibition. The conference will focus on those who explore for petroleum accumulations, appraise them and seek to develop them as producing oil and gas fields. Papers on oil and gas fields and their reservoirs and production where it pertains to the subsurface science of the accumulation of petroleum in the region will be considered.

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

The Division of Professional Affairs has been busy in the first half of 2019. The DPA’s charge is deepening and expanding geoscience professionalism. We achieve this directive in many ways, one being the strengthening of our business acumen.

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

One of the issues we’re spending a lot of time thinking about is the future of the petroleum geoscience workforce. It’s a topic we’ve covered extensively in the EXPLORER and one that I’ve written about repeatedly in this column. A broad trend observed in the U.S. economy is a move toward “on demand” labor. Also known as the “gig” economy, there is a push to hiring contract or self- employed workers to fill specific job tasks.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Geophysical Corner

Seismic data are usually contaminated with two common types of noise, namely random and coherence. Such noise, if not tackled appropriately, prevents their accurate imaging. Small-scale geologic features such as thin channels, or subtle faults, etc. might not be seen clearly in the presence of noise. Similarly, seismic attributes generated on noise-contaminated data are seen as compromised on their quality, and hence their interpretation. Noise reduction techniques have been developed for poststack and prestack seismic data and are implemented wherever appropriate for enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio and achieving the goals set for reservoir characterization exercises.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

From high-altitude, windswept prairies in southwestern Wyoming, the span of the powerful Wind River and Wyoming Ranges can be seen in the distance. This is home to the Pinedale Anticline Project and the Jonah Field, located in Sublette County, Wyo. In 2000, this was the site of one of the most productive gas fields in the continental United States. Gas reserves were estimated at up to 40 trillion cubic feet. That was enough to serve the nation’s entire natural gas demand for 22 months.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Each year, AAPG's Petroleum Structure and Geomechanics Division recognizes what the membership considers the best recent and seminal publications in the field. This year's Best Seminal Publication award recognizes Tod Harding and Jim Lowell for their 1979 paper, 'Structural styles, their plate-tectonic habitats, and hydrocarbon traps in petroleum provinces,” published in the AAPG Bulletin 63. Division Chair Bob Krantz praised the work as 'truly foundational.'

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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)
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

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

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)
DL Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) seismic-reflection surveys provide one of the most important data types for understanding subsurface depositional systems. Quantitative analysis is commonly restricted to geophysical interpretation of elastic properties of rocks in the subsurface. Wide availability of 3D seismic-reflection data and integration provide opportunities for quantitative analysis of subsurface stratigraphic sequences. Here, we integrate traditional seismic-stratigraphic interpretation with quantitative geomorphologic analysis and numerical modeling to explore new insights into submarine-channel evolution.

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Request a visit from Jacob Covault!

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

Why H₂ is generated in subsurface? Which are the reactions and the promising geological setting? Example in countries where H₂ have already been found: Australia, Brazil. Kinetic reactions: i.e., Is the natural H₂ renewable? What we don't know yet about this resource and about the H₂ systems (generation/transport/accumulation). Overview of the current landscape (subsurface law, permitting, E&P activity)

Request a visit from Isabelle Moretti!

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

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

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)

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