Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Virtual Field Trips: Geological dive around the globe
Monday, 20/Sept/2021:
4:15pm - 5:45pm

Session Chair: Pankaj Khanna, Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center


Session Abstract

This session will showcase geological field trips to some of the most spectacular outcrops around the world. Virtual Outcrops provide an opportunity to a larger audience to visualize and learn about outcrops that expose a certain geological characteristic (architecture/structure/facies heterogeneity amongst a few), and have academic / industry relevance.In reservoir studies, outcrop analogues provide important insights into the vertical and lateral heterogeneity of reservoir properties, which in turn affect hydrocarbon recovery and cost-effective reservoir development. The advent of high resolution drone and satellite based remote sensing techniques has opened a window to illuminate a blind spot in reservoir studies that existed between low resolution 3D seismic data and high resolution 2D data from wells.The datasets included in the field trips would be (but not limited to) standard sedimentological, but also geological and petrophysical data. The presenters are allowed to use any 3D platforms which caters to their needs to carry out a 3D virtual field trip. 

Intended Audience: This session will present current research as well as tools and applications that are intended to be of interest to both academic and industry audience. Audience will be exposed to most current tools and applications being utilized to not only work but also display 3D outcrop models.

4:15pm - 5:00pm

Virtual field trip to Late Jurassic Hanifa Formation of the Central Saudi Arabia

Pankaj Khanna, Ahmad Ihsan Ramdani, Teyyuba Adigozalova, Gaurav Gariola, Volker Vahrenkamp

Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center, Saudi Arabia

Tuwaiq Mountain Escarpment in the Central Saudi Arabia exposes the Late Jurassic carbonates, which are one of the world’s most prolific oil-producing strata in the subsurface. The outcrops provide a window of opportunity to study the architecture of these strata that is found usually complex due to heterogeneous lateral and vertical facies. These heterogeneities are sub-seismic in scale, thus, the information from outcrops bridge the gap between seismic and core data. This virtual field trip focuses on the Late Jurassic Hanifa Formation outcrops at Wadi Birk, central Saudi Arabia with an objective to highlight and display interwell scale heterogeneities associated with depositional architecture. The Hanifa Fm is one of the major hydrocarbon reservoirs in the subsurface of Saudi Arabia and is also in many respects analogous to the even more prolific overlying Arab D reservoirs.

The virtual field trip will include a 4x4 km2 3D digital outcrop model (DOM). The VRGS (Virtual Geoscience) platform will be used to run this field trip. The participants will be taken to one of the most spectacular exposures of the Hanifa Formation at Wadi Birk in Central Saudi Arabia. Depositional facies (in outcrop and thin section), 3D Digital Outcrop Models, and geophysical (GPR, Seismic) and petrophysical datasets (Spectral Gamma Ray - SGR) will be discussed. The main learning outcome of this field trip is to show reservoir equivalent facies in the outcrops but also provide clues into the intricacies of the stratal architecture. It will be demonstrated that the layered architecture is actually not so layered (as usually observed and published). Depositional cycles will be defined based on geological, geophysical, and petrophysical datasets (measured sections, core, thin section, and SGR). The mapping of the depositional cycles within the 4x4 km2 area at Wadi Birk will aid in demonstrating that vertically and laterally the depocenters (sediment production) were migrating. These depocenters are a product of high sediment production by the buildups (stromatoporoid/coral), and relatively low sediment production or current winnowing in the inter-buildups areas. Further, the variability in the shape and sizes of the stromatoporoid/coral build-ups laterally adds more complexity to the thickness of a depositional cycle and provides clues to environmental dynamics. Uneven topography is healed during the deposition of the next cycle with the areas of higher accommodation availability becoming natural depocenters.

The observations and results will be used as input into high-resolution static reservoir models to address the gap of our understanding in inter-well scale heterogeneities of similar subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs.

5:00pm - 5:45pm

A virtual field tour of the Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve, part of the Black Country Unesco Geopark, UK

David Hodgetts

VRGeoscience Limited. UK., United Kingdom

The Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve, situated in the West Midlands, UK, is well known for its exposures of Silurian (Wenlock and Ludlow Series) carbonates. The Wren’s Nest was first recognised as a nature reserve in 1965, and in 2020 it became recognised as part of the part of the Black Country Unesco Geopark. The area has significant geological importance due to the superb preservation of its fossils, with more than 700 macro fossil species identified (including brachiopods, bivalves,corals, crinoids, trilobites, gastropods, cephalopods and bryozoans), and is particularly well known for the trilobite Calymene blumenbachii, locally known as the “Dudley Bug”.

The Wren’s Nest Hill forms a large elongated N-S anticlinal dome structure faulted along is main axis by the Wrens Nest Fault, with the structure forming in the Late Carboniferous as a result of the Variscan Orogeny.

The nature reserve also has an extensive industrial heritage with the limestone being mined since the 1700’s for building stones, lime, fertilizer and during the industrial revolution as a flux for iron smelting, with abundant coal being available locally from the surrounding coal measures. An extensive network of mines and tunnels exists, with Dark Cavern being the largest man-made cavern in the UK. These mines are linked together by a series of underground canals which in turn join the national canal network.

With the underground workings closed off to the public for safety reasons this field tour is constructed using surface data only and attempts to reconstruct as much as possible through information from the archives.