Super basin applications and analogs continue to drive the future. As we learn more about them, we discover how valuable super basins are to exploration and development. As a result, AAPG continues its initiative to showcase some of the world’s greatest petroleum basins with the fourth Global Super Basins Leadership Conference.
On Jan. 25-26, the AAPG Global Super Basins Conference 2021 will feature an all-virtual two-day program of experts and commercial masters on North American onshore super basins. These basins include the Permian, Anadarko, Gulf Coast – onshore and offshore, Appalachians, Rocky Mountains and Canada. We will take a deeper look at thought processes that helped lead to these prototype basins’ resurgence.
The geology, exploration and development of these basins provide analogs to help us rethink other global basins’ potential.
“Why not leverage the billions of dollars and time others have spent understanding the geology and commercial workings of the world’s super basins to help you with your projects?” said Bob Fryklund, IHS Markit chief upstream strategist.
Where New Ideas Began
To find new oil in old places, returning to places where new ideas began can help.
“Industry formulated some of the major exploration concepts in Rocky Mountain proving grounds like basin-centered gas, unconventional resources and a new resource focus, carrier bed, plays,” explained Steve Sonnenberg, a professor at the Colorado School of mines and past president AAPG. “The collective Rocky Mountain basins form a super basin with unique characteristics and opportunities. There is much to learn from these basins to apply globally.”
Party, who is vice chair of the AAPG Super Basins Committee chaired by Sternbach, will also speak on the Permian Basin at the conference.
The Permian Basin combines fundamental geology with commercial success.
Uniquely positioned with Wolfcamp and Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin and Wolfcamp and Spraberry Formation in the Midland Basin, the Permian Basin contains multiple landing zones within each formation. Operators are working on efficiencies and ways to increase full-cycle economics. Horizontal wells now reach a length of three miles in both basins.
A remarkable example is Devon’s recent completion in the Delaware Basin, which has a 24-hour rate of over 7,000 boe per day from the Wolfcamp. Rigs are returning to the Permian, but you can still expect mergers and bankruptcies as we get through trying economic times. But like the Phoenix, the Permian will rise from the ashes as it did from the 1980 price collapse.
Speakers at the Super Basin Conference will share strategies to adapt and evolve.
AAPG President Rick Fritz will assess the prolific Anadarko Basin.
“There are at least ten unique characteristics that make the Anadarko Basin classified as ‘super’ – eight natural geoscience elements and two human-made or surface characteristics. The most important is its source rocks, especially the dominant Woodford shale, estimated to have generated and expelled more than 300 BBOE (about 50 MMcm) over time. The basin has multiple over-pressured cells that assist in well performance and an overall positive paragenetic history that allows for good reservoir development. As a result, the Anadarko Basin has copious conventional and evolving non-conventional production history,” he said.
Fritz emphasized that each super basin, like the Anadarko, has key characteristics that make them unique.
The January conference will focus on each basin’s uniqueness, and that is where the opportunity lies.
Linda Sternbach, AAPG vice president of sections, observed, “The AAPG Super Basins Conference allows geologists to understand petroleum source rocks and tectonics across adjoining U.S. basins. It’s a one-of-a-kind program. It’s enlightening how much you can learn about finding energy from basins you might not have studied before. This two-day program will make you a better energy explorer and expand your career network.”
Revitalizing petroleum basins long thought depleted requires geologic thinking to unlock new potential. Experts will share their thoughts on high-grading sweet spots and their vision of possible futures for each basin. This program will be valuable to operators in the featured basins and global explorers looking for actionable insights from North American analogs.
“Super basins are the world’s storehouse for concentrated petroleum resources. They have a unique combination of characteristics that geoscientists and engineers can use to model new plays or re-develop old plays,” Fritz added. “Super basins represent important workshops for the sustainable development of oil, gas, and other resources. Many depleted fields can store CO2, enhance oil and gas recovery, develop geothermal resources and provide rare earth metals from deep brines. To understand the future, you must understand old truths. Super basins provide that opportunity.”
Next month we will spotlight the 2021 Super Basin Conference keynote speakers. You can read more about super basins in the December 2020 AAPG Bulletin and this month’s issue of Geo ExPro. Sternbach and Dr. Claudio Bartolini are editing manuscripts by global experts for future super basin
special issues for the AAPG Bulletin. Previous programs and resources are available on the AAPG website: SuperBasins.AAPG.org