March 2021

What’s new in exploration

“… keeping the world at a safe temperature”
William (Bill) Head / Contributing Editor

This month’s headline on this page is an excerpt from a White House statement from Joe Biden, issued on Jan. 20, 2021. So, in January ’21, the White House “cancels”... our industry. “Sci-Ence” is double-speak from the new Ministry of Love (per protagonist Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell). “Fracking,” Joe’s “F” word, is no longer allowed in exploration speech or drill planning. Meanwhile, we create survivable workarounds.

Misplaced standards. TOTAL speaks to API but not to the issue. Notice: when human climate change is voiced, no one shows data. Yet, human-generated CO2 is significantly lower in Europe and North America than just a few years ago. However, TOTAL keeps bidding on exploration blocks while using oil cash to claim cleanliness. Thank you.

“Never Stop Exploring,” says The North Face, which adds, “At our core, we believe exploration creates an indelible bond with the outdoors, inspiring people to protect our land and pass these beliefs down to the next generation...” Apparently, this does not apply to Innovex Downhole Solutions, Midland, Texas, whose order of jackets as Christmas gifts to its employees was rejected by the apparel company. Being an oil service company is not good enough for The North Face/VF Corp., even though most of its products are made from oil derivatives often produced and supplied by China, the world’s largest CO2 contributor to Global Warming [worlds-top-10-carbon-dioxide-emitters] Boycott? If this  keeps up, I might be riding my horse naked.

Misplaced rhetoric. Oil and gas exploration continues in countries intending to grow economies, create jobs, and keep families warm. Note to Sen. Ed Markey (Dem.-Mass) and U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, District of Alaska (Obama appointee, January 2012)—Find me one of the political voices objecting to U.S. Arctic exploration, who lives without fossil energy. There are no icehouse igloos, or seal skin kayaks chasing whales. The villages I have visited in Alaska were constructed, heated communities. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Rep.–Alaska), former chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, defends our industry in the Arctic, when she says she opposes stopping the Green New Deal, wanting rather to address politics mocking the opinions of others? [Murkowski-middle-way-on-climate] So much for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. Real scientific discovery still makes sense to me, Russia and Norway.

SEAM (SEG Advanced Modeling Corp., Fig. 1) responded to a U.S. DOE CO2 call for studies with Computer simulation of fault and geomechanical response to CO2 injection: High accuracy workflows for rapid hazard assessment: “We propose to build a state-of-the-art geologic model and perform computer … a) geophysical measurements to identify best method(s) and limits for identification of different size faults (static model) and b) geomechanical and fault response to CO2 sequestration (dynamic model) and geophysical monitoring ...

The model will be based on realistic geology with a saline reservoir, with differently sized faults in the saline reservoir and in the basement. For the fault identification, we will simulate 3D surface seismic, cross-hole seismic, VSP, DAS, electrical measurements from both surface and borehole, and gravimetric borehole measurements. For the dynamic modelling, we use fully coupled poroelastic modeling (i.e. coupled geomechanics and multi-phase reservoir simulation) … Additionally, we monitor surface displacement and simulate microseismic events of different magnitude, as well as fault slip… and induced seismicity in response to the increase in reservoir pressure … Simulation of continuous and comprehensive geophysical monitoring of the subsurface before, during and after injection will allow us to assess the VOI of the different geophysical measurements for site selection and hazard evaluation [contributing editor’s emphasis added]…

“As opposed to conducting expensive experimentation, we propose to utilize state-of-the-art computational simulations to establish guidelines for strategic … monitoring, based on realistic CO2 storage scenarios. The simulations will track the evolution of the subsurface stress field, pore fluid saturation and pressure, and changes in the associated geophysical parameters. This will allow quantitative evaluation of the minimum number of wells to be utilized for monitoring, their optimal placement, the depth range and spacing of sensor deployments, and the types of sensors and acquisition (VSP, DAS, DTS, pressure sensors, custom DAS configurations, 3C-geophones/accelerometers) that are required to achieve the desired accuracy…”

SEG-SEAM forms cooperatives with best-in-class researchers, addressing specific world energy challenges. Too bad, the new DOE does not see it that way.  

About the Authors
William (Bill) Head
Contributing Editor
William (Bill) Head is a technologist with over 40 years of experience in U.S. and international exploration.
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