The Importance of Geology

I have just returned from the URTeC Conference in Denver, and it was great.

There were more than 5,000 people in attendance, the talks were very informative and the energy level was high. I want to commend the three technical program co-chairs – Doug Valleau of AAPG, Jay Stratton of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and Scott Singleton of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists – for a great program and a job well done.

Many of you may not know, but the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference is run by AAPG in partnership with SPE and SEG. URTeC was started as a way to bring all disciplines together to share best practices on horizontal and unconventional drilling.

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Niagara Falls – it’s all about the geology.

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I have just returned from the URTeC Conference in Denver, and it was great.

There were more than 5,000 people in attendance, the talks were very informative and the energy level was high. I want to commend the three technical program co-chairs – Doug Valleau of AAPG, Jay Stratton of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and Scott Singleton of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists – for a great program and a job well done.

Many of you may not know, but the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference is run by AAPG in partnership with SPE and SEG. URTeC was started as a way to bring all disciplines together to share best practices on horizontal and unconventional drilling.

I went by several booths and talked with service providers who were showcasing new ways to help lower risk before you drill, while you drill and while completing. Some of the new seismic processing programs can help find the sweet spots to drill and help create better value for your investors.

The Reward of Awards Notifications

One of the perks of being AAPG president is that I get to notify the award winners for the upcoming year. This last week, I had the pleasure of notifying roughly 30 people that they have been selected by the Advisory Council to receive an award. It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to congratulate these highly dedicated individuals for their commitment to the science of geology, and to students and AAPG. Without people putting in the effort on behalf of the AAPG, we could not be a highly respected geological organization. The list of award winners will be out soon – maybe even before you read this column. Please take the time to congratulate them on their dedication and hard work.

Efforts and Events to Come

Your Executive Committee has been working on getting all of the committees and their chairs in place for the coming year. The committee structure within AAPG allows for member engagement and is a vital part of the organization. If you are not, or have not, been involved with a committee, go to the website and review the different committees, special interest groups and technical interest groups, and get involved.

As we move into the fall, we have several of the sectional meetings on the schedule. In September we have the Rocky Mountain Section in Cheyenne, Wyo., followed in October with the Midcontinent Section in Wichita, Kan., Eastern Section in Columbus, Ohio, and then the Gulf Coast Section in Houston. I understand the importance of the sections and regions within AAPG, having been active in the Southwest Section and even serving as the president of that section. I encourage you to attend your sectional orregional meeting this fall.

Internationally, we have the International Conference and Exhibition coming up the end of August in Bueno Aires, Argentina. If you have never attended an ICE event, I would highly recommend it. I have attended several throughout my career, and they are a great way to see unique outcrops and learn about some great research being conducted around the world. I was fortunate that, while working at Wagner and Brown, we did a lot of international exploration. We drilled wells in Australia (last month’s column topic!), England and France, and looked at most areas around the world to invest in.

All of these meetings – from regional and sectional meetings, to the ACE and ICE conferences and summer or winter NAPE – allow for the free flow of information and are great networking events. My plan, as your president, is to attend as many of these meetings as possible, so I hope to see you at one of these events at least.

Uniqueness of Geology

At the recent URTeC conference, I gave a luncheon talk about the importance of the geology within the Permian Basin as it relates to the unconventional and horizontal plays within the basin. As we move into the “mining stage,” one tends to forget that these plays exist because of the geology. Technology allows us to get the oil out, but the geology put the oil in. Without the uniqueness of the geology, the production curve of the Permian Basin would not look like this (See fig 1).

From April 2011 till April 2016, just five years, the production doubled from 1 to 2 million barrels of oil per day (MBOPD). The next three years saw it double again to 4 MBOPD. This uniqueness of geology was reinforced recently on a vacation trip. Cathie and I went to Philadelphia to see Queen in concert, which was phenomenal. If you follow me on Twitter, @aapgpresident, you may have seen photos from the concert! After the concert we went to Niagara Falls. Again, the uniqueness of the geology of the area, from the glaciation that carved the Great Lakes to the formations that allowed the falls to form, all came together to form this amazing sight. Just as geology formed Niagara Falls, and so many other breathtaking sites around the world, geology formed some of the most prolific basins – “super basins,” like the Permian.

In closing I once saw the definition of a geologist: “gneiss, tuff and a little bit wacke” but remember don’t expect perfection from a geologist, they all have faults.

Cheers.

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