Exploration Field Geology of the Middle East



The successful Heriot-Watt AAPG Student Chapter Lecture Series continued this month with invited guest speaker Prof. Ian Sharp, Senior Specialist in Global Basin Analysis at Statoil and Adjunct Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway. Prof. Sharp shared key learnings from using fieldwork to aid exploration and field development in Iran in his talk entitled Exploration Field Geology of the Middle East.

After an overview of Statoil's UK operations, Prof. Sharp introduced the fieldwork carried out by him and his team in the Zagros Mountains over a period of 8 years. The carbonate hydrocarbon fields in the Middle East are challenging to develop on account:

  1. primary facies heterogeneities;
  2. secondary diagenetic heterogeneities; and
  3. complex fracture network distributions.

Prof. Sharp showed that fieldwork could be used to aid interpretation and mapping of these heterogeneities in the subsurface. The spectacular outcrops of the Zagros Mountains were often accessible only by helicopter, but detailed mapping, logging and sampling under these challenging conditions aided in the identification of reservoir facies and allowed for more accurate reservoir modelling of the Azar Field.

With modern field techniques moving to a digital age, Professor Sharp's lecture was a timely summation of how Satellite and Virtual Geological outcrop methods can be used alongside in-field measurements to allow for increased understanding of the subsurface.

The Lecture was followed by an informal networking event where there was further discussion about the benefits of integrating fieldwork into the exploration and development workflow. Further information on the topic discussed in this lecture can be found in suggested papers Lapponi et al. 2011, Petroleum Geoscience and Casini et al. 2018, AAPG Bulletin.

The next AAPG Lecture will be held March 26. Follow us on our LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook pages to keep updated on this and future activities or contact aapgstudentchapter@hw.ac.uk for further information.