Explorer President’s Column

I received my 40-year certificate from AAPG. At the bottom it reads, “In Recognition and Appreciation of your Loyalty to AAPG,” but it is I who should be thanking AAPG for allowing me to be part of this great organization. AAPG allowed me to network and make contacts with smarter people than me and to learn and expand my knowledge base. This is a great profession, and I have found a career in the geological sciences to be extremely rewarding.

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

Buckminster Fuller, the American designer, inventor and visionary said, “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” In the Energy Minerals Division of the AAPG, we hear that calling and embrace it. In our 2019-20 fiscal year, we welcome the return of longtime leaders as well as an influx of new ones to our design team.

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

Producers are feeling the pinch: they’ve got to drill ever more wells to stay ahead of their production declines. Increased production is weighing on crude oil prices – you get the benefit of this supply in resilient markets, but it is shrinking margins and available cashflow to fund this drilling. And at the same time, the financial community is pulling back, restricting access to capital. The industry is reshaping itself yet again in response to new market realities, looking for new ideas and better approaches and operating models.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Collaboration. Scott Singleton, geophysical technology adviser at Independence Resources Management in Houston, wants to underscore that one word. He believes that if there’s a single ingredient to success in unconventional fields – and the one concept from which those in unconventionals have unfortunately moved away – it’s that geologists, geophysicists and engineers have to work together for the benefit of everyone.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

The two most compelling words in the Middle East oil industry today might be “natural gas.” And there are other, increasingly important word pairs not usually associated with the Middle East oil industry, like “unconventional resources” and “renewable energy.”

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Digital transformation is taking place in oilfields all around the globe, but the Middle East is pursuing it most aggressively. It is estimated that Middle Eastern oil companies have more than doubled their investments in digital technology over the last four years, said Vivek Chidambaram, managing director of Accenture Strategy, a multinational consulting company.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

Some of the world’s largest oil companies have pumped up their shale investments recently, targeting increased future production from shale oil plays. At the same time, some independents have been cutting back on shale spending, in part because of lower oil and gas prices and shareholder demands for improved returns. The result is a not-so-subtle shift toward shale dominance by Big Oil.

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 Emphasis Article

Over the past 10 years, tight oil boosted the United States back to world prominence in crude oil production. Today’s projections tie future U.S. production levels to continued strength in tight oil output, especially from the Permian Basin. Considering the importance of unconventional oil plays in the overall U.S. production picture, it’s useful to examine the outlook for tight oil. And in the Permian Basin, that outlook isn’t as bright as previously thought.

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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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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

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