Salt Lake City, a stone’s throw from the Green River Basin and its abundant natural gas reserves served as the setting for the 2018 American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Annual Convention and Exhibition.
A key highlight was Aramco’s participation in the anticipated, inaugural presentation of a new forum called Super Basins – which will become a mainstay of the annual show and include follow-up papers in show publications.
Super basins are defined as having already provided 5 billion barrels of oil, contain a remaining potential for 5 billion barrels of oil, with multiple petroleum systems in the geological column, and infrastructure for producing.
The forum brings new insight into petroleum basins with massive opportunity and capability for production over time.
Hosted on opening day, the session featured Sa’id Al Hajri, manager of Geological Operations Department, who presented “The Basins and Petroleum Systems of the Middle East.”
Al Hajri shared the historic significance and evolution of the Arabian plate, including the major petroleum basins, and Aramco’s innovation culture that is driving the next stages in fully maximizing these basins, as well as the Red Sea’s promise in both shallow and deepwater. Rounding out the story of Aramco, he touched on the alternative energy – wind and solar – that are being pursued in the Kingdom.
A group of geoscientists from Aramco joined colleagues from geoscience data company TGS for a visit to Warfield Quarry. The quarry is near Kemmerer, Wyoming, where the elevation is 7,300 feet above sea level and a noted locality for fossil collection from the Green River Formation.
The Green River Formation contains the largest oil shale reserves in the world. Unlike conventional resources that contain shale oil, oil is recovered from oil shale using heat or dissolution techniques that currently are uneconomic.
Gretchen Gillis, geologist at Aramco Services and longtime AAPG member, received an Honorary Member Award, bestowed on individuals who have distinguished themselves by their service and devotion to the science and profession of petroleum geology.
Gillis was described as “an ambassador for AAPG whose leadership leverages diversity and challenges the status quo to deliver on the organizational promise of the association.”
Saudi Aramco was also recognized for its diamond-level sponsorship of the Imperial Barrel Award, AAPG’s graduate student competition to evaluate prospective basins. Anwar Al-Beaiji, a geologist in the Exploration Resource Assessment Department and president-elect of AAPG’s Middle East region, delivered remarks during the awards ceremony, congratulating all the participants and encouraging students to stay active by helping mentor the next year’s IBA team at their schools.
The company’s exhibit attracted a strong attendance by fellow professionals, job seekers as well as sponsored students. In-booth presentations included “Tracing Oil Migration” by Constantin Sandu and “Microporosity Technologies” by Lauren Stout, both of the Aramco Research Center-Houston.
Another notable aspect of this year’s conference was the technology demonstrated on the show floor. “On the one hand, the show is heavily focused on deepening the understanding of plays, with the goal of discovering more,” said Al Hajri, "and yet, there’s also this major confluence of exhibitors, all showing their views of what’s next in technology.”
Aramco had a strong technical presence with numerous presentations, posters and papers.
Susan Agar, geology technology lead at the Aramco Research Center-Houston and the AAPG Theme Chair – Energy Innovation, sat on AAPG’s Technical Committee for the conference.
Aramco’s ongoing role in supporting the AAPG agenda for the annual show, as well as regional and special-topic conferences, is shaping the industry discussion, and is part of the company’s commitment to industry leadership. The company was a diamond-level sponsor.