Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Special Seminar

12:00 PM, 1348 Earth and Physical Sciences

“Career Talk with Dr. Lori Summa”

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MS Exit Talk

2:00 PM, 1316 Earth and Physical Sciences

“Deformation and Exhumation of the Greater Caucasus Crystalline Basement during Arabia-Eurasia Continental Collision”

      – by Dylan Vasey, University of California, Davis

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Wednesday Seminar

4:10 PM, 55 Roessler
Tea and cookies at 3:45 in the aviary - (2110 EPS)

“From Source to Seep: New Challenges and Emerging Technologies in Petroleum Systems Analysis (aka Carbon Sources and Sinks)”

      – by Dr. Lori Summa, Rice University; UT Austin; ExxonMobil (retired)

The global energy system is in the midst of a profound transformation to lower carbon fuel sources and greater efficiencies, even as energy demand continues to grow. Energy forecasts conclude that in the near term, however, oil and gas will continue to play a prominent role in the world's energy mix, with natural gas use likely to increase to meet growing electricity demand. To meet the energy demand, hydrocarbon exploration has moved into extraordinarily challenging environments, including ultra-deep water basins with limited calibration data, onshore basins with complex, multi-phase histories, and resources that may be difficult to develop, e.g. unconventional gases and liquids, shallow gas in deep water, heavy oil, and accumulations with high concentrations of CO2, H2S, and N2. Integrated analysis of petroleum systems is critical to exploration success in all of these environments. Key questions typically include: Is there a robust petroleum system? If so, will the fluids be oil or gas, and what physical properties will those phases have? Why was this exploration well unsuccessful? Answering these questions also provides fundamental insight into the carbon sources and sinks within a sedimentary basin, so that research done to elucidate petroleum systems issues can be used to inform understanding of the long-term carbon cycle and climate.

We address these questions through integrated analysis of fundamental plate- to pore-scale physical, chemical, and biologic processes that control hydrocarbon sources and sinks in sedimentary basins. All sedimentary basins are unique and inherit characteristics from multiple stages of their development. However, geologic processes are common, and can be recognized with incomplete data and conceptual models. The combinations and timing of the geologic processes determine the viability of petroleum systems, and the nature of carbon sources and sinks. We investigate these processes using a 'genetic' approach that begins by evaluating plate-scale controls on basin formation and fill, and uses that understanding to predict sediment architecture, and ultimately, the interactions between sediments and fluids through time. In this talk, we use a field laboratory in the Bighorn Basin of north-central Wyoming to illustrate fundamental concepts and evolving geochemical tools for analyzing petroleum systems and discuss our current ability to predict carbon sources and sinks, hydrocarbon resources and their associated uncertainties.

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