American Association of Petroleum Geologists

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Fundamental Controls on Petroleum Systems in Lower Paleozoic and Older Strata

AAPG Hedberg Research Conference organized through the AAPG Research Committee
Conference Conveners
Zhijun Jin
Sinopec, China
Barry Katz
Chevron, USA

21-24 April 2013, Beijing, China

Conference Goals

This conference aimed to stimulate new ideas and joint industry-academic ventures that can accelerate the exploitation of potential petroleum systems within the Precambrian and Lower Paleozoic sedimentary record. Such advances are likely to be among some of the most significant developments for the oil and gas industry in the next decade, as younger sediments are fully exploited and as the role of unconventional resources increases. 

The conference provided a venue for both industry and academic geoscientists to increase awareness of the needs and interests of each party and focus on emerging concepts, novel technologies, and global case studies. Among the key goals of the conference was to generate new research opportunities, to identify paradigm shifts, and to raise awareness of the cross-disciplinary skill sets that are needed to solve problems related to petroleum resource prediction in Lower Paleozoic and older strata.

Conference Description

The conference started with a broad general thematic session to capture thoughts from leading scientists on the nature and character of the global Lower Paleozoic and Precambrian petroleum systems, similarities and general problems.  This was followed by sessions dealing with the fundamental elements of petroleum systems in Australia, North America, North Africa, Middle East, Europe and Asia, and the uniqueness of these older systems, and concludde with a session on the technology advances and needs, and with a session on selected case studies. 

The conference aimed to gather experts from multiple disciplines. Participants included academic and industry scientists with technical backgrounds in Paleozoic and Proterozoic geology, geochemistry, carbonate reservoir geoscience, fluid flow, basin modeling, seals, and reservoir geophysics. New and different perspectives were sought from researchers in fields that are not traditionally linked. For this reason, the conveners strongly encouraged applications from researchers in related fields such as hydrogeology, visualization methods, numerical modeling, and biological evolution.

Format

The conference comprised three days of non-parallel oral and poster presentations (22-24 April 2013). English was the official language for both oral and poster presentations, with simultaneous Chinese translation available for the oral presentations. Talks and panel sessions were used to introduce different themes. The conference placed a strong emphasis on group discussions as well as interactions around posters. In addition to the formal conference there was an optional field trip (25-26 April 2013) to the Jixian Proterozoic type section, located in the City of Tianjin, east of Beijing.

Themes:

The program was split into 6 sessions corresponding to the different themes listed below:

  1. Fundamental controls on the occurrence of petroleum resources and reserves in old petroleum systems (“what makes these systems unique”);
  2. Precambrian and Lower Paleozoic source rocks – Kerogen and its precursors; oil and gas geochemistry (fundamentals related to hydrocarbon correlation with extremely old source rocks, biomarkers for early organisms), thermal maturity, thermal cracking and oil to gas evolution;
  3. Reservoirs – Long diagenetic histories, porosity evolution, the importance of carbonate reservoirs;
  4. Caprocks and traps - challenges of hydrocarbon retention, the importance of timing, the role and challenges of recognizing multi-episode petroleum charging and seal failure, with long and potential complex tectonic histories;
  5. New technologies - geophysical imaging of sub-salt carbonate reservoirs; age diagnostic biomarkers for the Paleozoic; fluid properties from Paleozoic source rocks; and how to use alternative thermal maturity indicators to calibrate models of Precambrian systems prior to the existence of vitrinite; etc..
  6. Case Studies. A selection of industry case studies will be solicited to address components within each of the technical themes.

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