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Seismic correlations and well data confirm that deep-water carbonate beds of Mesozoic age have been found above the shallow allochthonous salt canopy in the northern Gulf of Mexico. These rafts of carbonate strata often overlie equivalent age Mesozoic carbonates in their correct stratigraphic position below the salt canopy.

The origin of keel structures is presently not well understood. As deformation occurs after shallow canopy emplacement, the keels are fairly recent developments geologically. Volumetrically few but intriguing observations suggest possible basement involvement in keel formation.

Show more American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/images/_site/AAPG-newlogo-vertical-morepadding.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Mesozoic Carbonate Rafts Above and Keel Structures at the Base of Shallow Salt Canopies: Exotic Processes at work in the Deep-water Northern Gulf of Mexico
 

Hydrocarbon exploration beneath the shallow allochthonous salt canopy of the ultra-deepwater central Gulf of Mexico has encountered three thick, sand-rich, submarine fan successions that punctuate an otherwise relatively condensed and fine-grained basin center stratigraphy. These sand-rich fans are Late Paleocene, Early Miocene, and Middle Miocene in age and each coincide with periods of very high sediment flux and basin margin instability. They are the primary exploration targets in most ultra-deepwater fields, recent discoveries, and failed exploration tests.

Show more American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/images/_site/AAPG-newlogo-vertical-morepadding.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true The Influence of Salt Structures and Salt Deformation on Petroleum Exploration in the Deep-water Northern Gulf of Mexico
 

The Distinguished Lecture program, funded in part by the AAPG Foundation, is the Association’s flagship initiative for spreading the latest in science, technology and professional information.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/explorer-hero-2013-11nov.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Four DLs Have Speaking Dates In November
 

The ultra-deepwater Alaminos Canyon area proved to be a valuable lease purchase in the recent Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/players-focus-on-deepwater-alaminos-canyon-2013-10oct-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true A chess game in the Gulf Players Focus on Deepwater Alaminos Canyon
 

Latin America offers some of the most promising and most perplexing exploration prospects on the planet.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/potential-successes-top-regional-challenges-2013-08aug-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true ‘Promising future’ for unconventional plays Potential, Successes Top Regional Challenges
 
Anomalously high porosities and permeabilities are commonly found in the fluvial channel sandstone facies of the Triassic Skagerrak Formation in the central North Sea at burial depths greater than 3200 m (10,499 ft), from which hydrocarbons are currently being produced. The aim of our study was to improve understanding of sandstone diagenesis in the Skagerrak Formation to help predict whether the facies with high porosity may be found at even greater depths. The Skagerrak sandstones comprise fine to medium-grained arkosic to lithic-arkosic arenites. We have used scanning electron microscopy, petrographic analysis, pressure history modeling, and core analysis to assess the timing of growth and origin of mineral cements, with generation, and the impact of high fluid pressure on reservoir quality. Our interpretation is that the anomalously high porosities in the Skagerrak sandstones were maintained by a history of overpressure generation and maintenance from the Late Triassic onward, in combination with early microquartz cementation and subsequent precipitation of robust chlorite grain coats. Increasing salinity of pore fluids during burial diagenesis led to pore-filling halite cements in sustained phreatic conditions. The halite pore-filling cements removed most of the remaining porosity and limited the precipitation of other diagenetic phases. Fluid flow associated with the migration of hydrocarbons during the Neogene is inferred to have dissolved the halite locally. Dissolution of halite cements in the channel sands has given rise to megapores and porosities of as much as 35% at current production depths.
Show more American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/the-role-of-fluid-pressure-and-diagenetic.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true The role of fluid pressure and diagenetic cements for porosity preservation in Triassic fluvial reservoirs of the Central Graben, North Sea
 

Prolific hydrocarbon discoveries in the subsalt, commonly known as the “presalt,” section of Brazil and the conjugate African margin have created a business imperative to predict reservoir quality in lacustrine carbonates. Geothermal convection is a style of groundwater flow known to occur in rift settings, which is capable of diagenetic modification of reservoir quality. We simulated variable density groundwater flow coupled with chemical reactions to evaluate the potential for diagenesis driven by convection in subsalt carbonates.

Rates of calcite diagenesis are critically controlled by temperature gradient and fluid flux following the principles of retrograde solubility. Simulations predict that convection could operate in rift carbonates prior to salt deposition, but with rates of dissolution in the reservoir interval only on the order of 0.01 vol. %/m.y., which is too low to significantly modify reservoir quality. The exception is around permeable fault zones and/or unconformities where flow is focused and dissolution rates are amplified to 1 to 10 vol. %/m.y. and could locally modify reservoir quality. After salt deposition, simulations also predict convection with a critical function for salt rugosity. The greatest potential for dissolution at rates of 0.1 to 1 vol. %/m.y. occurs where salt welds, overlying permeable carbonates thin to 500 m (1640 ft) or less. With tens of million years residence times feasible, convection under these conditions could locally result in reservoir sweet spots with porosity modification of 1% to 10% and potentially an order of magnitude or more in reservoir permeability. Integrating quantitative model–derived predictive diagenetic concepts with traditional subsurface data sets refines exploration to production scale risking of carbonate reservoir presence and quality.

Show more American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/geothermal-convection-in-south-atlantic-subsalt.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Geothermal convection in South Atlantic subsalt lacustrine carbonates: Developing diagenesis and reservoir quality predictive concepts with reactive transport models
 

Where’s the beef? Latin America’s new Vaca Muerta play has loads of potential – and it’s not the only area that’s making South America a hot target for today’s explorationists.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/south-america-exploration-earns-hot-reviews-2013-02feb-hero.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true New plays, big plays, surprising plays South America Exploration Earns Hot Reviews
 

Improving conditions: Technological advances in seismic acquisition have led to successful operations in the Gulf of Mexico – and those lessons are being shared around the world.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/painter-james-h.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Partnership yields ‘virtual IT system’ Seismic Technology Keeping GOM Active
 

In an effort to continue serving the geosciences community in the Middle East, AAPG Middle East Region will be offering a number of Geosciences Technology Workshops (GTWs) where the attendees, practitioners and scientists will have an opportunity to discuss real cases, issues and experiences.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/EXPLORER-hero-2012-10oct.jpg?width=100&h=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Middle East Region Sets GTW Lineup
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