Offshore Oil & Gas Research Emerges as Key Interest on the Horizon

EGI Oceans Initiative to Provide Refreshed Petroleum Systems Insights, Recalibrate Age Dates

Based on interest and feedback from readers, this article represents an expansion on the concepts presented in the previous edition of ASK EGI (Fall 2015).

The overarching purpose of the Oceans Initiative is to repurpose previous oceanographic data to facilitate better petroleum system insights and deductions. Projects developed as part of the Oceans Initiative will examine non-digital data that is currently difficult to access and normalize it to industry standards. EGI researchers will use the updated data and EGI lab facilities to fill gaps in present-day knowledge.

The research, currently in progress for both the South Atlantic and the Central & North Atlantic regions, provides exceptional value to sponsoring CA members as it provides a fresh perspective to better understand ongoing challenges and complexities that often lead to costly exploration decisions in deep water environments. Drilling programs like ODP, IODP, etc., allow sediment packages and irregularities near the surface of the ocean floor to be tested; these are often related to buried sediments and potential petroleum systems.

Worldwide, certain areas are consistent at creating petroleum systems while others are not. In areas that do not show these statistical consistencies, the question becomes, “Why not?” Have they been misidentified? What are we missing scientifically, and how can we fill the gaps?

Research on the South Atlantic has determined a 40 million year age difference between existing understanding of ocean crusts and current, newer insights. The EGI Oceans South Atlantic project is retesting old samples and testing newly acquired samples using the most up to date, state-of-the-art technology. Likewise, cores are being tested at additional intervals, including those which project sponsors have identified as critical.

Some of these questions and challenges can be addressed, to varying degrees, by taking non-petroleum industry data and turning it into useful data streams for successful exploration. Ongoing work in the South Atlantic, as well as Central & North Atlantic, comes in advance of future bid rounds. By 2020, the U.S. Atlantic coast may potentially open up for exploration.

Key value for the Central & North Atlantic project includes:

  • Recalibration of the stratigraphy and evaluation of petroleum systems of the Central & North Atlantic Ocean conjugate margin.
  • Timely opportunity to leverage a carefully selected array of 35 wells: COST – Continental Offshore Stratigraphic Test plus commercial wells and DSDP-ODP-IODP sites, recommended by EGI corporate members.
  • Both in-house and affiliate scientist expertise and partnerships with 12 international institutes.
  • Unique world-class capability in high-resolution chronostratigraphy via composite standards calibrated to the 2012 time scale, and novel analytical techniques in petroleum geochemistry (e.g., HAWK pyrolysis).
  • ArcGIS delivery platform.

Research Area – Central & North Atlantic project

Key Value for the South Atlantic project includes:

  • New core sample analyses of selected intervals from 20 DSDP-ODP sites in the South Atlantic with ArcGIS delivery in November 2015.
  • 20 key sites from the South Atlantic conjugate margins (South America and western Africa), including one site (DSDP 249) from East Africa.
  • Concurrent chronostratigraphic, paleoenvironmental and geochemical analysis of up to 200 samples from critically identified gaps.
  • Source rock related Cretaceous and Jurassic intervals for Hydrocarbon Analyzer with Kinetics (HAWK™) geochemical analyses; quality control and new data generation using modern HAWK™ instrumentation.
  • At least 1000 new data points (from the 200 samples) resulting from chronostratigraphy and geochemical measurements will be added to the regional synthesis dataset.

Research Area – South Atlantic project

All of these efforts are part of a 10-year goal to reevaluate all major Oceans. The Oceans Initiative makes use of the ArcGIS platform for delivery of project materials. The research projects are open for sponsorship to all EGI CA members. iCORDS subscribers will receive project deliverables via the iCORDS platform, while non-subscribers will receive the data and reports via ArcGIS and written report.

EGI will also participate in the May 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, TX. OTC is a hub for energy professionals to meet, exchange ideas and opinions in order to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources. The Conference showcases leading-edge technical information along with the industry’s largest equipment exhibition. EGI will have a booth in the technical sessions area to showcase offshore-related R&D projects to attendees highlighting global sharing of technology, expertise, products, and best practices.

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