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Finding and Protecting Energy Assets with 21st Century Geochemical Tools

David Seneshen
Vista Geoscience

Organic and inorganic geochemical analyses of various sample media are used to reduce risk in oil & gas exploration and development. More specifically, the tools help to focus land acquisition, seismic surveys and drill targets in petroleum exploration. Similar geochemical tools are used for documenting baseline environmental conditions before and after development of an energy resource to prevent potential litigation and complaints down the road. The results of geochemical exploration surveys are presented from the following areas: (1) Albion-Scipio Oil Field (Michigan) – Crude oil microseeps in focused the drilling of commercial oil wells in the 4,000-foot deep, Ordovician Trenton hydrothermal dolomite reservoir. (2) Roncott Bakken Oil Field (Saskatchewan) – Crude oil microseeps are evident over and around the field and in several townships surrounding Roncott. (3) Covenant Oil Field (Utah) – Oil microseeps and wet gas anomalies over the Covenant oil field. Baseline environmental surveys are done before and after the development of an energy resource to document groundwater quality and natural hydrocarbon seeps. This documentation is important for avoiding future potential litigation and complaints from landowners and regulatory agencies. Groundwater from domestic and stock wells near proposed oil and/or gas wells are tested for dissolved C1-C7 hydrocarbons, carbon and deuterium isotopes of detected hydrocarbons, cations and anions, and pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria to document general water quality before and after stimulation of an oil and/or gas reservoir. Examples of baseline environmental surveys from the DJ and Ration Basins will be presented. Forensic isotopic evidence from shallow aquifers and produced water in the DJ Basin will be shown to emphasize the lack of fluid mixing between oil and gas reservoirs and shallow groundwater aquifers.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90169©2013 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section 62nd Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 22-24, 2013