Aramco was well represented during the AAPG annual convention attracting petroleum geoscience professionals from around the world
The unique geology of Saudi Arabia, combined with Aramco’s preeminence in energy exploration and production, attracted attendees to the Saudi Aramco booth at this year’s American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Annual Convention & Exhibition.
This year’s themes included traditional topics from structure, tectonics and geomechanics to the latest learnings from emerging international unconventional plays, where industry is working on endeavors such as characterizing pore systems from these unique reservoirs. Aramco, a longtime supporter and sponsor of AAPG, participated in several poster and technical sessions and had a significant presence in the exhibition space.
Saudi Aramco’s Exploration organization partnered with the U.S. office’s Upstream professionals to highlight the acceleration of new ideas in geoscience disciplines to tackle E&P challenges. The company’s technical presenters shared information about exploration in the Red Sea and unconventional gas reservoirs, as well as geological analysis of the Khuff formation in the Kingdom’s giant Ghawar Field.
History serves as guidepost for future exploration
Computer modeling assists Aramco researchers in rebuilding the past and predicting the future. Going back more than 150 million years to the Jurassic period of geologic time, Rainer Zuhlke, Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center—Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC), presented “3-D Forward Stratigraphic Modeling in Reservoir Quality Prediction—Arab-D Reservoir, Ghawar Field, Saudi Arabia.”
Running data sets to produce ‘virtual rock’ creates predictive models for exploration teams, explained Zuhlke.
Two papers in a session on the topic of sedimentology showcased the company’s strength in understanding how sedimentary rocks form.
“By calculating sediment discharge and the grain size mix you can make predictions about reservoir quality,” said Nikolaos Michael, Geologist, EXPEC ARC. The company is actively drilling in the Sarah Formation in northwest Saudi Arabia. “Source to Sink of the Sarah Formation, Latest Ordovician, Northwest Saudi Arabia”
by Michael and coauthors examined this fascinating reservoir with glacial deposits.
Looking back 440 million years in time, Osama Soliman, Geological Consultant, Red Sea Exploration, spoke of the character and composition of rock in his presentation “Deep-Marine to Shelf Margin Deltaic Sedimentation, Silurian Succession, Saudi Arabia.”
Careful deciphering of the stratigraphic architecture may lead to exploration targets in the future. “Deep basin sandstones may prove to be prolific potential reservoirs in the future,” said Soliman.
Exhibition stand draws crowds: Ghawar, Red Sea and Unconventionals
While technical sessions were the mainstay of the conference, those eager to talk with Aramco geoscientists and learn more about the company’s diversification and career opportunities stopped by the exhibition area. Specially-focused in-booth presentations proved popular. Reinforcing the company’s sedimentology expertise, Raed Al- Dukhayyil, Reservoir Characterization Department, examined aspects of stratigraphy within the Khuff formation. Michael Zinger, Manager, Red Sea Exploration, offered an introduction to Red Sea geology with tectonic maps highlighting the complex sea floor.
Various ‘look ahead technologies’ such as logging while drilling (LWD), seismic while drilling (SWD), and pore pressure prediction (PPP) are being utilized by the operations team to address geoscience challenges posed by operating in the deepwater Red Sea. Exploration’s Robert Lindsay and Brian Gratto also captivated crowds with presentations on unconventional Jurassic source rock potential and the progress of Saudi Aramco in exploring for and developing unconventional gas.
More than 850 presentations were held throughout the three-day conference with sold-out field trips and short courses — including a short course for Young Professionals on economics of field development taught by Jenny Spalding, Petroleum Engineering Specialist, Houston’s Upstream team — for new and veteran geoscientists alike. The unique geology and large scale reservoirs combined with Aramco’s advanced R&D capabilities continue to attract worldwide attention from professionals around the globe.