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Integration of Aeromagnetics and Geology to Identify Petroleum Productive Areas for Conventional and Unconventional Resources

Tedesco, Steven A.
Running Foxes petroleum Inc., Centennial, CO.

Aeromagnetics has been used extensively in the petroleum industry for regional or basin analysis to identify major tectonic features, basement fault blocks, migration pathways and potential location of areas where reservoir development might be likely. Typically the industry acquires widely spaced airborne data that does not have sufficient definition to define specific targets or target areas. Acquisition of tightly spaced acquired aeromagnetic data can be used to define areas that are more likely to contain petroleum accumulations. In areas where seismic data is difficult to acquire, to interpret or not cost effective aeromagnetic data can provide an effective alternative.

Shallow intercratonic basins, such as the Sedgwick, Forest City and Cherokee basins and foreland basin such as the Denver basin in the Mid-Continent of the US are examples where there is a strong relationship with defined aeromagnetic basement faults coinciding with petroleum accumulations. The first step for target area definition is using the existing regional or basin aeromagnetic data sets to define the parameters for a more detailed survey over an area of interest.

Utilizing detail surveys in the four aforementioned basins resulted in a better understanding of where both unconventional and conventional hydrocarbon resources could be found. In the Sedgwick Basin there is a definitive relationship between productive areas for convention petroleum accumulations and unconventional resources such as the "Mississippian "Lime". The coals and shale resources of the Cherokee and southern part of the Forest City basins are related to specific basement blocks as defined by aeromagnetics. The conventional resources in the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian rocks in the Denver Basin also show a close association with basement faulting as defined by aeromagnetics. The aeromagnetics can provide specific target areas for seismic in other cases where seismic is not usable or cost effective it can provide drilling targets and leasing. Case histories will be presented in the talk demonstrating the usefulness of aeromagnetics in exploration.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90155©2012 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Singapore, 16-19 September 2012