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Explorer Division Column DPA

In early August, we learned that a Texas Sunset Review Board had recommended the elimination of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists. Our local AAPG-affiliated societies quickly organized an information campaign and defense for the TBPG. This shows the importance of strong, well organized local affiliates. This situation also raises several questions about the professional status of geologists in our society and how we view ourselves.

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

The continent of Africa has beguiled geologists for centuries. Its varied and beautiful landforms and geological features, its mineral and energy resources, its cultural heritage – it’s the birthplace of our species – all combine to form a rich experience of sights and sounds, aromas and flavors. Once you’ve been to Africa, you want to go back. And that’s why, after 10 years, we’re heading back to Africa next month – back to Cape Town, for the 2018 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition.

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

“When you think about the future of energy in the year 2025, seven years from now, I see ______?” This was one of the digital interactive questions asked at the Energy Transitions Forum in Amsterdam last month. The answers from a room of energy professionals were telling: diversity, renewables, energy, change, hybrid, oil, gas. The Forum addressed how companies and geoscientists can broaden their roles for energy transitions that can include a lower-carbon future.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Geophysical Corner

Advances in deep learning and artificial intelligence promise to not only drive our cars but also taste our beer. Specifically, recent advances in the architecture of deep-learning convolutional neural networks have brought the field of image classification and computer vision to a new level.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Geoscientists have a special obligation. We are the historians of Earth’s past, much as medical researchers have a responsibility regarding the understanding and honest communication of the functions of the human body and lawyers to understand and correctly interpret the law. Many of the tools we have established in our search for oil and gas, from plate tectonics to seismic stratigraphy, to study of paleoenvironments and paleontology, are being applied to understanding the geologic past in ways that document climate change.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

Alongside 3-D seismic, long-reach horizontal drilling and the application of plate tectonics to exploration, sequence stratigraphy has been one of the greatest scientific advances within the petroleum geology industry of the last 50 years. Since it came to the wider attention of the industry in 1977, it has been embraced because the integration of time-significant surfaces with stratigraphic architecture provides great predictive insight at a variety of scales and extracts value from many data types.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Bolivia’s role as a South American gas market supplier was a key theme at the Geosciences Technology Workshop Bolivia 2018, AAPG’s first technical workshop in the country. High-profile guests drew national attention, and local media outlets covering the GTW described Bolivia as “playing in the big leagues.”

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Saudi Aramco hopes to push the boundaries of exploration by creating and encouraging new technologies. The company said it is pursuing the promise of “the fourth industrial revolution” through Big Data and supercomputing and investigations into nanotechnology applications.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

The date is important – Aug. 11, 2014. That was the day Mexican President Peña Nieto signed a package of laws designed to attract and encourage foreign investment into the country’s oil, gas and electrical grids. With the reform codified, the country was open for business and companies like Shell, Total, BP, Petronas Repsol and BHP rushed in.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Carlo Doglioni, professor of Earth Science at Sapienza University in Rome, is one of this year’s recipients of the Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award.

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)
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)
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)
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

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

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

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

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

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)
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)
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)

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