Explorer Director’s Corner

Geoscientists play a lot of different roles in our industry, but foremost, we are technical and scientific experts. We understand the rocks, their depositional history and their potential to generate hydrocarbons.

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

Six months have passed since I started writing and speaking on sustainable development. While writing this column at the end of the year for publication in the January EXPLORER to start the new year, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at sustainable development and petroleum basins from both past and future perspectives.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Historical Highlights

Little more than a novelty when first discovered, helium has become a key commodity. It is used extensively in medical cryogenics, analytical and lab applications, breathing mixtures, as a lift gas, for arc welding, leak detection and, contrary to popular belief, only a little is used to inflate party balloons. There are few substitutes for helium and so, as its applications have become more common, demand has grown and supply is struggling to match demand.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

The Energy Minerals Division celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2002. The Division emphasized to the AAPG membership that it was AAPG’s center of activity on energy minerals and unconventional energy resources. EMD originally focused primarily on coal, uranium, geothermal energy, oil shales and tar sands. However, its focus expanded and in 2002, EMD’s most active unconventional resource areas were coalbed methane, gas hydrates, and unconventional energy economics.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Mountains and beaches. Colonial cities, farming communities, indigenous villages. Central Eastern Mexico is full of diverse cultures and landscapes. It is also home to the Tampico-Misantla super basin, a 25,000-square-kilometer area that has produced oil since 1869.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Emphasis Article

Its present lull notwithstanding, the Permian Basin has been a production behemoth for years. The archetypal super basin in West Texas is the primary growth driver in U.S. oil production and may become the largest oil patch in the world over the next decade.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Learn! Blog

Groundwater resources are valuable resources, especially in arid climates such as in South Africa where in a dry year they may receive no rain at all. Welcome to an interview with Surina Esterhuyse, who speaks to us about the special challenges facing water scarce countries and her particular experience in South Africa.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Foundation Update

AAPG’s historic Distinguished Lecture program has undergone a revolutionary transformation aimed at extending the program’s accessibility, audience and reach.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Geophysical Corner

Generally, the fine-grained shale rocks are found to be composed of 50 to 70 percent clay, anywhere between 25 to 40 percent silt- and clay-sized quartz, and 5 percent of minerals including feldspars and carbonates, comprising the total rock volume. A variety of techniques such as X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy and electron microscopy are available, which help us understand the type of clay minerals present in a shale sample.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Explorer Article

In 2017, AAPG celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in Tulsa, Okla. This same year was also the 40th anniversary of the establishment the AAPG Energy Minerals Division. The EMD has evolved as an organization over the past 40 years to reflect the changes in the mix of resources fueling the world’s ever-increasing energy demand.

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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