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The driving forces for conventional accumulations (structural or stratigraphic traps) are Forces of Buoyancy which are due to differences in densities of hydrocarbons and water. In contrast, the driving forces for unconventional tight accumulations are Forces of Expulsion which are produced by high pressures. That is an enormous difference and creates unconventional petroleum systems that are characterized by very different and distinctive characteristics. The Force of Expulsion pressures are created by the significant increase in volume when any of the three main kerogen types are converted to hydrocarbons. At those conversion times in the burial history, the rocks are already sufficiently tight so the large volumes of generated hydrocarbons cannot efficiently escape through the existing tight pore system, thus creating a permeability bottleneck that produces an overpressured compartment over a large area corresponding to the proper thermal oil and gas maturities for that basin. The forces initially created in these source rocks can only go limited distances into adjacent tight reservoirs (clastics or carbonates) above or below the source. The exact distance will vary depending on the pressure increase, matrix permeability, and fractures of that specific tight reservoir system. In general, the distances are small, in the orders of 10s to 100s of feet for oil and larger for more mobile gas systems. Those exact distance numbers are subject to ongoing investigations.  

A plot of the pressure data versus elevation for a given formation is critical in determining whether an accumulation is conventional or unconventional. Conventional accumulations will have hydrocarbon columns of 10s to 100s of feet with the pressure in the hydrocarbons and that in the water equal at the bottom of the accumulation (at the HC-water contact). In contrast, the unconventional accumulations will show HC column heights of 1000s of feet with the pressure in the hydrocarbon phase and the water phase being the same at the top of the accumulation (at the updip transition zone). Those significant differences are critical for understanding and differentiating these two play types. Because the system is a pore throat bottleneck with very little or minimum lateral migration, the type of hydrocarbon s are closely tied to the thermal maturity required to generate those hydrocarbons. Thus the play concept begins with two important geochemical considerations: (1) where are the source rocks and what are the kerogen types and organic richness (TOC), and (2 ) where are they mature in the basin for oil, condensate, and gas in the basin. These parameters will very quickly define the fairway for the play. Then one has to add the critical information on the reservoirs themselves: composition (brittleness), thickness, and reservoir quality (matrix porosity and permeability). In summary, these tight unconventional petroleum systems (1) are dynamic , and (2) create a regionally inverted petroleum system with water over oil over condensate over gas for source rocks wit h Type I or II kerogen types.

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The dynamics of fluid behavior and structural movement on the nano-scale can be complicated and not always what was expected. New research that analyzes the well information and cores using new techniques and technologies is yielding important and useful results. Welcome to an interview with Wen Zhou, Chengdu University of Technology, who discusses recent research findings.

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Primary research in hydrocarbon generation is yielding new insights into the natural gas geochemical characteristics of conventional and unconventional reservoirs, along with discoveries relating to the geomechanical processes. Welcome to an interview with Chenglin Liu, China University of Petroleum-Beijing, who discusses enlightening new findings regarding the relationship between salinity and hydrocarbon geochemical characteristics.

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Researchers from the University of Calgary found just what they weren’t looking for when they monitored microseismic signals from an unconventional resource unit in the Hoadley field in central Alberta.

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Mexico, the locale for this month’s AAPG/SEG 2016 International Conference and Exhibition, is a land of enormous untapped hydrocarbon potential, as AAPG Past President Paul Weimer explains.

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Recent focus on hydrocarbons hosted in muddy fine grained strata, often referred to as shale gas or shale oil, has increased our understanding of these relatively poorly understood depositional systems. This study will focus on the link between bedforms, depositional processes, and stratal architecture, and their relation to the laterally continuous hydrocarbon accumulations hosted within these strata.

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Oil production in North America has the last years surged due to the successful exploitation of unconventional low-permeability (tight) light oil reservoirs in North America by multistage hydraulic fractured horizontal wells.

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Fracture modeling has become a vital part of successful drilling, completion, and ongoing stimulation of shale plays, as well as other unconventionals. It is also important in optimizing recovery in mature fields. Welcome to an interview with Ahmed Ouenes, CEO and Founder of FracGeo.

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The Petroleum Economics is designed for New Energy Professionals. The course consist of lecture and exercises to assist the new industry energy professionals with understanding the principles of petroleum economics; including the value of money, quantifying financials risks in petroleum investments, rates of return, forecasting cash flows and the fundamentals of capital budgeting.

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There are a surprising number of AAPG Members (new and experienced) who are not familiar with the technical divisions of AAPG and what they do. Given how much excellent work is done in the divisions, everyone is encouraged to learn more about them.

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Online Training
12 July, 2012 12 July, 2012 1490 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-shale-wells-making-the-engineering-fit-what-geology-offers.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
12 July 2012

This presentation will look at well placement vertically in the pay, well azimuth and well trajectory with explanations of how geology and post-depositional effects can make the difference between a successful well and a failure.

28 April, 2011 28 April, 2011 1471 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-niobrara-petroleum-system-a-major-tight-resource-play.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
28 April 2011

The Niobrara Petroleum System of the U.S. Rocky Mountain Region is a major tight petroleum resource play.

21 May, 2009 21 May, 2009 1443 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-how-tight-is-your-gas.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
 
21 May 2009

This e-symposium introduces you to the practical benefits of thermal profiling for a variety of unconventional oil and gas projects, including tight gas sands, oil shale, low-gravity oil.

Tight Gas Sands

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