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OUTCROP Newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists

Volume 65 • No. 12 • December 2016

2016 Summit Sponsors Gold Sponsors

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OUTCROP | December 2016


Vol. 65, No. 12 |

OUTCROP The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists

910 16th Street • Suite 1214 • Denver, CO 80202 • 303-573-8621 The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG) is a nonprofit organization whose purposes are to promote interest in geology and allied sciences and their practical application, to foster scientific research and to encourage fellowship and cooperation among its members. The Outcrop is a monthly publication of the RMAG.



John Ladd

Tom Sperr



Larry Rasmussen 1st VICE PRESIDENT


John Roesink

Sarah Hawkins



Kelly Foley

Rob Diedrich 2nd YEAR COUNSELOR

Jane Estes-Jackson



Hannah Rogers ACCOUNTANT


Kathy Mitchell-Garton MANAGING EDITOR

Will Duggins



Rates and sizes can be found on page 33. Advertising rates apply to either black and white or color ads. Submit color ads in RGB color to be compatible with web format. Borders are recommended for advertisements that comprise less than one half page. Digital files must be PC compatible submitted in png, jpg, tif, pdf or eps formats at a minimum of 300 dpi. If you have any questions, please call the RMAG office at 303-573-8621.

Holly Sell

Ad copy, signed contract and payment must be received before advertising insertion. Contact the RMAG office for details. DEADLINES: Ad submissions are the 1st of every month for the following month’s publication.


RMAG Office: 303-573-8621 | Fax: 303-476-2241 | or

Greg Guyer Cheryl Fountain Ron Parker DESIGN/PRODUCTION

Nate Silva

The Outcrop is a monthly publication of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists

Vol. 65, No. 12 | |

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Outcrop| | December 2016 OUTCROP

OUTCROP Newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists



22 In Memoriam: Robert M. (Bob) Cluff

2 RMAG 2016 Summit Sponsors

24 Lead Story: Ancient Ocean Currents May Have Changed Pacing And Intensity Of Ice Ages

17 RMAG Rockbusters Ball

DEPARTMENTS 6 RMAG October 2016 Board of Directors Meeting

21 RMS-AAPG Call for Papers 23 Hydrocarbon Source Rocks in Uncoventional Plays, Rocky Mountain Region: Arriving Soon

8 President’s Letter

31 23rd Annual 3D Seismic Symposium

14 RMAG Luncheon Programs: Steven G. Fryberger

34 RMAG/DAPL GeoLand Ski Day

18 RMAG Luncheon Programs: Pete Stark & Steve Trammel

35 RMAG Foundation

COVER PHOTO Earthquake liquefaction, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2010. Photo courtesy of Cat Campbell

32 In The Pipeline 33 Welcome New RMAG Members! 33 Outcrop Advertising Rates 35 Calendar 36 Advertiser Index

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OUTCROP | December 2016


this period of industry downturn for so many of the people and companies that support the RMAG mission. We have some excellent core workshops and symposia planned for 2017, so check the RMAG website in the coming months for event details and registration deadlines! By the time you read this, Carrie Veatch, our amazing Executive Director, will no longer be a part of the organization. Carrie submitted her letter of resignation at our meeting, and her last Susan Spancers Susan Spancers MCEP, RFC, AACEP, NICEP, CSA day will be December 2. She is a highly skilled RFC, AACEP, NICEP, CSAof Mind” HelpingMCEP, You Create Financial “Peace nonprofit leader has worked very hard on behalf Helping You Create Financial “Peace of Mind” 303 766-9599 303 766-9599 of RMAG. Carrie has continued to facilitate the Services Include: createfinancial financial security Services Include: How How to to create security planning of excellent engaging technical events, Launch into Launch intoretirement: retirement: create-protect-distribute create-protect-distribute Estate protection: all under an ever-tightening budget due to the Estate protection: Wills/Trusts-Probate-Incapacity Wills/Trusts-Probate-Incapacity oil and gas industry (which is Email: Web: Email: Web: RMAG publication   Ad-­‐-­‐-­‐prof   card   sAdv, ize  Inc.2  5/8  X  1/1/2;  1downturn 2  issues  @in  $the 144   Adv Svs offeredthrough through TLG, TLG SecSec andand Adv Svs offered TLG,Inc* Inc*and and TLG Adv, Inc. traditionally the largest discipline of geologists 26 West Dry Creek Circle #575, Littleton, CO 80120 26 West Dry Creek Circle #575, Littleton, CO 80120 303 797-9080 *Member NASD-SIPC within RMAG). We will miss her! 303 797-9080 *Member NASD-SIPC 

The October meeting of the RMAG Board of Directors meeting took place on October 19, 2016 at 4 p.m. Tom Sperr reported that the organization has done well financially this year. The board reviewed and approved the 2017 budget this month, continuing the plan to keep our expenses for events low throughout


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OUTCROP | December 2016


Vol. 65, No. 12 |

Come in out of the Cold for a Class! Carbonate Diagenesis

Tuesday-Wednesday, December 20-21, 2016, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Colorado School of Mines, Berthoud Hall room 403 Fee: $500, includes food at breaks, class notes, and PDH certificate, limit 20 Instructor: Dr. Peter A. Scholle, and Dr. Dana Ulmer-Scholle, New Mexico Tech & Scholle Petrographic



Carbonate diagenesis includes any physical or chemical changes that occur in carbonate rocks after their deposition. It can begin on the sea floor and may include early subaerial exposure (syn/eogenetic) continue through possible burial (mesogenetic) and into possible uplift-related (telogenetic) realms. Since diagenesis has profound effects on the porosity and permeability evolution of the carbonate reservoirs, understanding these changes can provide valuable information on both the history of reservoir potential through time as well as the history of fluid flow through the units. Although many reservoirs produce mainly from original or early formed pores, there is a growing understanding that late-stage diagenesis can also form excellent productive porosity. Unlike most courses that consist of only lectures, this course provides participants an opportunity to have hands-on experience using standard petrographic techniques to better understand how diagenesis impacts carbonate reservoirs and how to identify the processes involved and their relative timing. This class is designed for participants who have some fundamental knowledge of geology and some minimal petrographic experience (i.e., can identify common minerals like quartz, calcite, etc. under the microscope).

st p

The course:



Integrating petrography into petrophysical or core studies of carbonate rocks provides unique and important information about their diagenetic history. The information garnered from petrographic analyses can be utilized to better understand reservoir trends, diagenetic effects that impact reservoir quality, and fluid flow through these rocks. This course combines half-day lectures with hands-on petrographic observations of thin sections from a variety of carbonate rocks. Participants are also welcome to bring their own thin section samples to the class.

Course Topics:

Overview of carbonate rocks and their composition Syndepositional to early burial diagenesis (marine and meteoric processes) Burial diagenesis Uplift-related diagenesis Dolomitization

Basic Well Log Interpretation

Tuesday – Thursday, January 10-12, 2017, 8:30 am – 5 pm Colorado School of Mines, Ben Parker Student Center Fee: $750, includes food at breaks, class notes, and PDH certificate Instructor: Dr. Dan Krygowski, The Discovery Group, Denver, CO

The course assumes no logging knowledge, and seeks to establish an understanding of basic petrophysical measurements and interpretation techniques which can be applied to routine tasks, and upon which more complex and advanced information and techniques can be built. The course: Offers a "hands-on" approach to basic openhole well log analysis and interpretation. Focuses on the traditional interpretation targets of lithology, porosity, and fluid saturation. Introduces a variety of interpretation techniques in the context of the availability of newer, more extensive, data Is organized by the targets, or goals of the measurements, rather than by the physics of the measurements. The course strives to provide a strong and coherent foundation for the understanding of other, specialized interpretation techniques involving well log data, which are not covered here. Course topics include: An overview of petrophysical well log data acquisition Description of correlation/lithology, porosity, and resistivity logs Determination of lithology, porosity, and fluid saturation from logs Interpretive techniques using logs individually and in combination Interpretation exercises to reinforce the interpretation methods discussed Equipment Needed: Calculator with exponent functions, straight-edge, pencil or pen.

Class Descriptions and Register Online: For more information, contact Mary Carr, 303.273.3107,

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OUTCROP | December 2016



short term sense, remarkably well. The board approved a budget last fall that projected a significant deficit, based on assumptions of reduced attendance at events, a drop in membership renewals, and lower levels of 8

sponsorships. Although all those things have happened to some degree, I can still say, while writing this a few weeks before the fiscal year ends on November 30th, that we anticipate coming

OUTCROP | December 2016

It gets my vote for the most overused word of the current decade. When I walk into a grocery store, especially an expensive place like Whole Foods, I am bombarded by the word: sustainably farmed salmon, coffee from sustainable, shade-grown bushes or even sustainable, fake (meaning soy-based) ground beef. One of the stands at the local farmer’s market we shop at announces that they have been practicing sustainable farming in Longmont for 20 years. Does this mean that all the other farmers selling their produce at the market are using unsustainable farming techniques? Then why are they still here? Why hasn’t the soil in their fields turned to alkali-choked dust and blown away to Kansas when the Chinooks blow? It’s like the term “organic”. You pay extra to buy organic and purchase the illusion that the food is somehow healthier, and now you can pay even more so you can be free of the guilt that somehow your purchase may have contributed to the trashing of the planet. So, given how I feel about the word, it seems only appropriate that the most important task I have had as the President of RMAG, during a year that marked the transition from a long boom to a bust, is to somehow keep the organization sustainable. And how has it gone? In a


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close to breaking even. Combined with profits from our savings account, we will, barring a stock market crash in November, be in the black for the year, at least by accounting standards. This is a remarkable achievement, one that has been the result of a lot of people’s efforts, including the staff and committee members who have all tried to cut back on operating expenses, as well as the decisions of past boards, which include moving to cheaper office space and converting 100% to digital publications. In addition, we haven’t lost many members. We ended the year just shy of 2000, while in recent years we have been around 2100. Most of the events we sponsored were well attended. The field trips and geochemistry classes all sold out quickly, and some of the lunches and the fall symposium were at capacity. Yet there are still many dark clouds building on the horizon. Part of the commitment of serving as RMAG President is that one agrees to serve as Past President the following year. The duties are mercifully light, but one of them is to serve as head of the Long Term Planning Committee. The committee membership is made up exclusively of past presidents and our charge is to plan for the long term viability and success of the organization, or in modern marketing lingo, to keep it sustainable. Here are some of the long term challenges that I see facing RMAG: • Structural deficits are a big issue. We have been cutting overhead and other basic expenses for several years, but I doubt there

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OUTCROP | December 2016

PRESIDENT’S LETTER advantage that we are not risking a lot of up front capital on facility rentals in case attendance is low, but at the same time, these types of events don’t make a lot of money for us either. In earlier years, major events like the 3D and fall symposia could each clear amounts equal to 10% of our budget. Most events we ran this year were lucky to clear 1 or 2%. One way we keep in good financial shape is by hosting two AAPG events, the RMS meeting and the annual convention. Usually we host each one once every six years. The profits we got in the past two years from hosting both of them will cover small deficits over the following four years when we aren’t hosting, but what about the future? If you read the AAPG Explorer, you no doubt are aware that AAPG is experiencing some financial difficulties. Unfortunately, their events are large enough in size that they have to plan and commit five years out, and in 2011, no one was predicting that there would be a price collapse and companies would be slashing travel and


is much more we can cut. Staff salaries and benefits, office rent, utilities and insurance all make up a large part of our budget. To pay for this we rely on dues, sponsorships, donations and profits from events. As I said, membership levels held up well this year and so did dues, but we will inevitably start to lose members the longer the bust goes on. We are extremely grateful for the Summit Sponsors who did renew in 2016 in spite of tight budgets and limited resources and we understand why many could not renew. However, this was a sizable hit to our income. Levels of sponsorships are likely to remain at lower levels until the business climate improves again. That leaves event profits to make up the difference, and that is problematic. • As you have no doubt noticed, we continued to host a lot of events this year, but most were of the smaller and cheaper-to-run variety. Costs to members were also kept low, both to encourage attendance and help out those who have suffered through periods of unemployment. There is an


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training budgets for their employees. I am not privy to details of the AAPG’s finances, but I have been told that the Calgary meeting this year made little or no profit, which means there was little or no profit sharing with the host society. We were extremely lucky to be hosting the convention last year, but if oil prices are still low when we do host it next, in 2021, it could have a major impact on our finances further into the future. During the last major down cycle, the price crash and major layoffs took place primarily in the mid-1980’s, with prices bottoming in 1986. RMAG did come close to running out of money, but it wasn’t until the early 1990’s. Just because we survived this year doesn’t mean that we out of the woods yet.

Enough on finances. I am sure if the only problem is money, members will find a way to keep the organization going, even if on a smaller, more informal scale. But the other thing I worry about in terms of long term planning for RMAG is continued relevance. There has been a none-too-subtle effort to make sure that we include programs that are directed at and relevant to younger members, including the mentoring program and free Petra and Kingdom training for student members. We have also nominated younger members for board positions so RMAG isn’t run just by a bunch of grey-haired types like me. Many of the events I have attended this year, especially lunches and field trips, have attracted members of a wide ranges of ages. But


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OUTCROP | December 2016


OUTCROP | December 2016

still, many of the members who are active in committees and events are part of the group that entered the oil industry during the boom of the late 70’s and early 80’s. We are all reaching retirement age, and thanks to the current bust, we are leaving the industry in droves. Some are staying active in RMAG, but others have left town and disappeared. We will need younger members not only to fill vacated committee spots, but also to provide us with ideas on what educational and social programs we should be doing as an organization. I hate to keep picking on the AAPG, but their situation is a great example of what I am worried about. Total membership as of May was 38,500, but only 2500 of those members were under the age of 51. Ouch! And this is after five years of a program to actively recruit new, younger members, including sponsoring the dues for large numbers of student members so that they get acquainted with the organization. On top of that, their membership dropped by 6600 this past year. But then think about their programs. Many things are little changed from when I first started attending meetings and conventions earlier in my career and I often feel there is a bit of a stodgy atmosphere to their events. On the one hand I have benefited tremendously by being able to attend many of their annual conventions during the last 15 years as the scientific understanding of producing oil 12

from unconventional reservoirs has originated and evolved. To me it is one of the most effective and efficient ways to keep up to date technically. Yet at the same time probably my worst experience as a professional society volunteer came at one of those conventions when I acted as a RMAG representative to the House of Delegates the year that the main topic was whether to remove the word “American” from the name. The AAPG Board had recommend this change in order to recognize that the oil industry is a world-wide one, AAPG is the world’s premier petroleum geologist society, and most opportunities for growing membership lies overseas. The name change would help their marketing efforts and help them to overcome the lack of diversity in age of membership. I thought it would be seen as a great idea to most everyone in attendance, but, much to my surprise, there was a well-organized opposition that led an endless debate, and the motion was eventually defeated. I know that “globalization” has suddenly become a dirty word, sometimes with good reason, but in this case, a reluctance to change just seemed silly. We at RMAG need to be willing to change to adjust to the times. I’ll finish up on a lighter note. My daughter has been living in Switzerland for the past couple of years, which gives my wife and me the excuse to do some foreign travel, all in the name of family togetherness,



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PRESIDENT’S LETTER of course. We took a trip there in September. As we all enjoy hiking in the mountains, my daughter and her husband plan a weekend excursion for all of us through one of the more remote parts of the Swiss Alps. But weekend treks there don’t involve hauling tents, food and cooking gear and sleeping on cold, hard ground like they usually do in the Rockies. The Swiss have what they call mountain huts, which are really like informal lodges. We all had to share a room with bunk beds, but they were comfortable and the dinner and breakfast that were served were good. But the best part was the unexpected. After my

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daughter dragged us up 5000’ of elevation gain to the top of a mountain, we then dropped down to a high pass where the hut was situated. I was tired and thirsty. It was miles from any road or cable car that could be used to supply it, but, much to my delight, not only did they serve beer, they even had it on tap! The accompanying photo is a record of that that well-earned pint. Which reminds me, this marks the end of my last column for the Outcrop. Larry Rasmussen will take over this space next month. I think I’ve just earned another pint, and I plan to enjoy it, right now. Best of all, our beer is better than theirs!



OUTCROP | December 2016

RMAG LUNCHEON PROGRAMS Speaker: Steven G. Fryberger — December 7, 2016

Stratigraphy, Exploration and EOR potential of the Tensleep/Casper Formations, Southeast Wyoming Steven G. Fryberger, Nick Jones, Matthew Johnson and Curtis Chopping, Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, University of Wyoming. April, 2016.


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and trap styles to produce Common Risk Segment (CRS) maps of this play. We have measured new outcrop sections in this region, as well as reviewed core and production data. We have created a new subsurface tops database and regional correlations of the Tensleep. Our results support the idea that the Tensleep in this region consists of a dominantly eolian Upper Member and eolian-paralic Lower Member; and that for all practical purposes the Tensleep and Casper are the same formation and separate nomenclature is not necessary. Additionally, our study provides details of complex reservoir flow unit geometry that at multiple scales in the productive Upper Tensleep. These complexities, in general, reduce recovery factors and sweep efficiency in primary production and EOR/IOR projects. Our studies further indicate that arrangement of primary eolian strata, and bedform geometry negatively affect recovery factors in the Upper Tensleep. Along with our study of key outcrops, we also looked at the Tensleep in terms of global

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many years. We have reviewed Tensleep oil production in the Laramie, Shirley and Hanna Basins in the light of sedimentological and other technical progress, analyzing oil shows, reservoir quality

The Pennsylvanian-Permian Tensleep/Casper Formation in Southeast Wyoming has produced commercial volumes of oil and gas in a region extending from Lost Soldier-Wertz to Quealy Dome for

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strategies from CO2 injection to primary production using various well spacing strategies. Southeast Wyoming is a mature region in terms of oil exploration, with some discoveries dating back to the 1930’s. However, it may be under-capitalized in the sense that further investment may

allow profitable application of current seismic and other exploration techniques. Our CRS analysis, and the structural overview indicates some potential for further exploration and development in this region, and identifies those areas that are most likely to contain additional reserves.

concepts in eolian reservoir oil and gas production worldwide, in order to view Southeast Wyoming in an updated perspective. A review of the EOR status of Tensleep fields in Southeast Wyoming reveals a range of development



Steve Fryberger is a stratigrapher/scientist who has spent a career in the exploration and exploitation of eolian and continental rocks for the petroleum industry. Prior to his work at Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI), (until spring of 2012) he served as Senior Regional Geologist at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in Muscat, Oman – A joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell and the Sultanate of Oman. Prior to this, Steve worked for Shell in Aberdeen, and independent oil companies in Denver, Colorado. While at PDO he worked in the new ventures team. This team studied the whole of Oman in order to create new exploration plays.  His studies of modern eolian and related deposits have formed the foundation for many of the projects he has undertaken in exploration and development both at PDO and in prior years.  Steve has experience in the interpretation of seismic data with respect to eolian and related continental (hydrocarbon bearing) depositional systems at both the prospect and regional level. He has conducted and published independent research in eolian deposits for many years. In 1978, Steve received a M.S. in geology from the Colorado School of Mines.

OUTCROP | December 2016


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R o c k b u s t e r s

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RMAG LUNCHEON PROGRAMS Speaker: Pete Stark & Steve Trammel — January 4, 2017

Perspective 2017 – Growth Resumes While Challenges Abound Pete Stark, Senior Research Director and Advisor, IHS Steve Trammel, Research Director and Advisor, IHS shape of the industry will be much different. Efforts to reduce costs and to boost production efficiencies have significantly increased capital efficiency and lowered upstream breakeven costs over the last two years. This means that fewer larger volume wells from core sweet spots in plays with stacked pays where horizontal technologies can be leveraged will drive future production growth. The Permian Basin has become the poster child for an emerging “super basin” concept wherein future recoverable oil supplies could essentially double historic recoverable oil from a combination of conventional, unconventional and tight conventional reservoirs. This concept could substantially alter the future role of worldwide exploration. For the gas side of the energy industry the key theme has been “Playing Catch-Up with Demand”. Declining associated gas production and pipeline

The surge in North American tight oil and shale gas production upset the supply – demand balance resulting in substantial adjustments to global oil and gas flows and prices. Multiple factors, including modest growth in energy demand, lack of agreement by OPEC members to curb production and ability of U.S. operators to sustain production in core plays in spite of sub-$45 oil have extended the period of time to rebalance oil markets. But it looks like the combination of reduced North American and non-OPEC oil production will be sufficient to offset the supply overhang so that U.S. oil production will resume growth during first quarter 2017. But moderate economic growth coupled with sluggish oil demand and uncertain above ground risks point to a slow and possibly volatile recovery of oil prices. Even though IHS Markit projects that the U.S. will once again lead world oil production growth – adding about 1.9 MMb/d over the next decade – the


Philip H. “Pete” Stark is Senior Upstream Research Director and Advisor for IHS Energy in Englewood, Colorado. Prior to joining IHS in 1969, Stark was an exploration geologist for Mobil Oil. Dr. Stark has authored papers on E&P databases, hydrocarbon shows, horizontal drilling, US natural gas, global oil and gas resources, global E&P trends, giant fields and unconventional O&G. He co-authored special IHS studies of North American gas supplies, unconventional gas supplies, North American and global tight oil and global reserves replacement. Pete has participated in the AAPG Resources Committee and AAPG-SPE and Hedberg resource research conferences. He has served on the AAPG Corporate Advisory Board and boards of the AAPG International Pavilion and PPDM. Previously, he was chairman of the Board of Visitors for the University of Wisconsin Department of Geology and Geophysics. Dr. Stark holds a BSc in geology from the University of Oklahoma and MSc and PhD degrees in geology from the University of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin Department of Geology and Geophysics honored Dr. Stark’s contributions to the university and profession with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Pete received a 2011 Honorary Member Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the 2011 IHS Chairman’s Award and the 2015 COGA Lifetime Achievement Award. Pete also was named to the Denver and Houston Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Energy” publications. OUTCROP | December 2016


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constraints limiting Appalachian production growth are affecting natural gas prices. Despite record inventories and excess Appalachian production capability, the market is correctly anticipating a tighter Henry Hub cash market this winter and throughout 2017. Year-over-year North America demand growth is expected to outstrip production by 5.6 Bcf/d this winter. We expect North American natural gas prices to rise significantly by the summer of 2017 which will reduce power sector gas demand and enable sufficient storage injections next summer in preparation for winter 2017/18. With the supply picture not anticipated to change substantially, power sector gas demand will be the primary lever to balance the market. Pipeline expansions, local inventories, and growing demand will affect North American regional natural gas markets unevenly this winter. Appalachia remains the focus of gas price–responsive flexible production—but this production is restrained by the pace of grid expansion to downstream markets and, where it does have excess pipeline capacity, to seasonal demand. In contrast, associated gas production from oil plays is not expected to begin growing materially until mid- 2017 and even then is likely to take longer to rebound given the slow recovery in oil prices and production. Rockies basis discounts narrow in November (following very wide summer spreads) driven

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by regional heating demand and assumed normal weather, plus seasonal consumption climbs in California—requiring incremental Rockies gas. Nevertheless, basis discounts should remain much larger than a year ago owing to high inventories—both in the region and elsewhere—and as Rocky Mountains production faces strong competition from western Canadian and Appalachian supplies in downstream markets. Slow-butsteady declines in Rocky Mountains production because of low gas prices and competition from other supply regions will provide some support to Rockies price hubs as heating loads materialize. High eastbound flows on REX are the only bright spot for Rocky Mountains gas. Longer term, the petroleum industry is increasingly challenged by pro-environmental and anti-hydrocarbon sentiments and actions that reduce the demand outlook. Nevertheless, the gas business is entering a new era—global markets--, as the first major US LNG export cargo departed the Gulf Coast for Brazil in February 2016, followed by many cargoes that sent LNG to more than a dozen countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. We expect the US to become a net gas exporter soon. The oil outlook, though, is more daunting and the petroleum industry must consider how it will adjust to the onset of peak oil demand – possibly only a decade away.

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Rocky Mountain Section Annual Meeting








JUNE 25-28









SUBMISSION DEADLINE FEBRUARY 28, 2017 For more information contact: General Chairman Robert Schalla (406) 294-3525

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Technical Program Chairs Steve Van Delinder Mark Millard 21

OUTCROP | December 2016


Robert M. (Bob) Cluff the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (1999); the President’s Award from the Canadian Well Logging Society (2005); and the Medal of Merit from the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (2005). For serving as President and for his willingness to serve in several capacities for the betterment of the local geological society, Bob was awarded Honorary Membership to the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists in 2008. Bob’s scientific and professional contributions to the industry and to all of these societies will be greatly missed. But, what will be missed even more is his wry humor and outgoing nature. To many in the geological profession, Bob was a friend, a mentor, and a consummate professional. Bob is survived by his wife, Sue, and their two children, Tim and Stephanie. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a favorite charity. Additionally, a memorial scholarship in Bob’s name is being established and information will be provided at a later date.

OUTCROP | December 2016

Robert M. (Bob) Cluff, co-owner and president of The Discovery Group, Inc. located in Denver, Colorado passed away on October 26. Bob, highly regarded worldwide for his petrophysical expertise especially in tight hydrocarbon reservoirs, received his BS degree in Geology from the University of California at Riverside (high honors) and an MS in Geology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Always yearning to learn more, Bob also completed additional courses in geology, physics and mathematics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Colorado at Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver and Colorado School of Mines. Bob contributed in many ways to several professional societies. These include the American Association of Petroleum Geologists; Society for Sedimentary Geology (Technical Program Chair, 2015 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition); and Society of Petroleum Engineers. Other societies in which Bob was active are the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (President 2006); the Denver Well Logging Society (past-President); the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (Vice President Technology, Vice President Membership, Regional Director North America); and the Society

of Independent Professional Earth Scientists. As well as donating time, Bob also lent his expertise to the petrophysical and geological communities through numerous scientific presentations and articles. In recognition of his involvement, he received several awards from the American Association of Geologists (AAPG) and its sections. These include the A. I. Levorsen Award (AAPG -Eastern Section, 1980); the Roger Planalp Award (AAPG - Midcontinent Section, 1991); the Vincent Nelson Award (AAPG - Eastern Section, 1997); and the Wallace Pratt Award (AAPG, 2006). In addition to these, Bob was also presented 22

Vol. 65, No. 12 |

Arriving in the RMAG Digital store soon. Non-member - $70

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Unconventional Plays, Rocky Mountain Region Editors: Michael P. Dolan, Debra K. Higley, Paul G. Lillis Introduction - Michael P. Dolan, Debra K. Higley, and Paul G. Lillis

(Pennsylvanian) Source Beds in the Williston Basin, Western North Dakota Stratigraphy and Depositional Origin of Tyler Formation - TIMOTHY O. NESHEIM and STEPHEN H. NORDENG

Marine mudstone source rocks in epicontinental basins: Development of a conceptual facies model and application to Cenomanian/Turonian mudstones of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway - BRUCE S. HART Overpressure development through time using 4D In Memoriam pressure-volume-temperature modeling in the deep Anadarko Basin, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas DEBRA K. HIGLEY The Chuar Petroleum System, Arizona and Utah - PAUL G. LILLIS Insights into the Evolution of an Intracratonic Foreland Basin: A Regional Assessment of the Duvernay Formation - Matthew Davis, Glenn Karlen, Mark Tobey, and David Tivey Petroleum system model of the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian Bakken Formation in the northern Williston Basin, Saskatchewan, southwestern Manitoba, and southeastern Alberta, Canada - DEBRA K. HIGLEY and NICHOLAS J. GIANOUTSOS The Integration of Geochemical, Stratigraphic, and Production Data to Improve Geological Models in the Bakken-Three Forks Petroleum System, Williston Basin, North Dakota - MARK MILLARD and RILEY BRINKERHOFF

Vitrinite Reflectance of Cretaceous Coaly Material and Thermal Maturity of the Niobrara Formation, Denver Basin, Colorado, USA - DANIEL G. HALLAU, RYAN J. SHARMA, and ROBERT M. CLUFF Evolution of the Lower Tertiary Elko Lake Basin, a Potential Hydrocarbon Source Rock in Northeast Nevada - RONALD C. JOHNSON and JUSTIN E. BIRDWELL Geochemistry of the Green River Formation, Piceance Creek Basin, Colorado - JEREMY BOAK, SHEVEN POOLE, and JUFANG FENG Source Rock Characterization of the Green River Oil Shale, Piceance Creek Basin, Colorado - JUFANG FENG, J. F. SARG, AND K. TÄNAVSUU-MILKEVICIENE Geological, Geochemical, and Reservoir Characterization of the Uteland Butte Member of the Green River Formation, Uinta Basin, Utah - JUSTIN E. BIRDWELL, MICHAEL D. VANDEN BERG, RONALD C. JOHNSON, TRACEY J. MERCIER, ADAM R. BOEHLKE, and MICHAEL E. BROWNFIELD Uinta Green River Oil Shale Charge RONALD C. JOHNSON and JUSTIN E. BIRDWELL

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Ancient Ocean Currents May Have Changed Pacing And Intensity Of Ice Ages Slowing of currents may have flipped switch shows that the oceans played a major role in slowing the pace of ice ages and making them more severe.” The researchers reconstructed the past strength of earth’s system of deep-ocean currents by sampling deep-sea sediments off the coast of South Africa, where powerful currents originating in the North Atlantic Ocean pass on their way to Antarctica. How vigorously those currents moved in the past can be inferred by how much North Atlantic water made it that far, as measured by isotope ratios of the element neodymium bearing the signature of North Atlantic seawater. Like a tape recorder, the shells of ancient plankton incorporate this seawater signal through time, allowing scientists to approximate when the currents grew stronger and weaker off South Africa. They confirmed that over the last 1.2 million years, the conveyor-like currents strengthened during warm periods and weakened

By The Earth Institute at Colombia University For decades, climate scientists have tried to explain why ice-age cycles became longer and more intense about 900,000 years ago, switching from 41,000-year cycles to 100,000year cycles. In a new study in the journal Science, researchers found that the deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe stalled or even stopped, possibly due to expanding ice cover in the north. The slowing currents increased carbon dioxide storage in the ocean, leaving less in the atmosphere, which kept temperatures cold and kicked the climate system into a new phase of colder but less frequent ice ages, they hypothesize. “The oceans started storing more carbon dioxide for a longer period of time,” said Leopoldo Pena, the study’s lead author, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “Our evidence OUTCROP | December 2016



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OUTCROP | December 2016




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during ice ages, as previously thought. But they also discovered that at about 950,000 years ago, ocean circulation weakened significantly and stayed weak for 100,000 years; during that period the planet skipped an interglacial -- the warm interval between ice-ages--and when the system recovered it entered a new phase of longer, 100,000-year ice age cycles. After this turning point, the deep ocean currents remain weak during ice ages, and the ice ages themselves become colder, they find. “Our discovery of such a major breakdown in the ocean circulation system was a big surprise,” said study coauthor Steven Goldstein, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty. “It allowed the ice sheets to grow when they should have melted, triggering the first 100,000-year cycle.” Ice ages come and go at predictable intervals based on the changing amount of sunlight that falls on the planet due to variations in earth’s orbit around the sun. Orbital changes alone, however, are not enough to explain the sudden switch to longer ice age intervals. According to one earlier hypothesis for the transition, advancing glaciers in North America stripped away soils in Canada, causing thicker, longer-lasting ice to build up on the remaining bedrock. Building on that idea, the researchers hypothesize that the advancing ice might have triggered the slowdown in deep ocean currents, leading the oceans to


OUTCROP | December 2016


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vent less carbon dioxide, which suppressed the interglacial that should have followed. A 2009 study in Science led by Lamont’s Bärbel Hönisch confirmed that carbon dioxide levels dropped sharply at the time. “The ice sheets must have reached a critical state that switched the ocean circulation system into a weaker mode,” said Goldstein. A key ingredient in cellphones, headphones, computers and wind turbines, neodymium, it turns out, is also a good way of measuring the vigResearchers have found that ocean currents slowed 950,000 years ago, triggering a or of ancient ocean currents at depth. new phase of colder but less frequent ice ages. Credit: Leo Pena In a 2000 study in Nature, Goldstein and colleagues used neodymium raREFERENCES tios in deep-sea sediment samples to show that ocean Leopoldo D. Pena and Steven L. Goldstein. Thermocirculation slowed during past ice ages. In a follow-up haline circulation crisis and impacts during the study in Science, they used the same method to show mid-Pleistocene transition. Science, 26 June 2014 that changes in climate preceded changes in ocean cirDOI: 10.1126/science.1249770ces: culation. A trace element in earth’s crust, neodymium washes into the oceans through erosion from the conSINCLAIR PETROLEUM ENGINEERING,INC. tinents, where natural radioactive decay leaves a nature unique to the land mass where it originated.  Unconventional Well Modeling Specialist When Goldstein and his Lamont colleague Sid Shale, CBM, Tight Gas, Primary, Secondary ney Hemming were pioneering this method in the late  Reserve Reports, Property Evaluations 1990s, they rarely worried about surrounding neo Production Forecasting dymium contaminating their samples. The rise of con307-587-5502 (o) John Sinclair,Ph.D.,P.E. sumer electronics has changed that. “I used to say you 307-431-6382 (c) Licensed in CO, UT, MT, & WY could do sample processing for neodymium analysis in a parking lot,” said Goldstein. “Not anymore.” KES T



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OUTCROP | December 2016


Why Does Our Planet Experience An Ice Age Every 100,000 Years? Experts have offered up an explanation as to why our planet began to move in and out of ice ages every 100,000 years way that they suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere. By studying the chemical make-up of tiny fossils on the ocean floor, the team discovered that there was more CO2 stored in the deep ocean during the ice age periods at regular intervals every 100,000 years. This suggests that extra carbon dioxide was being pulled from the atmosphere and into the oceans at this time, subsequently lowering the temperature on Earth and enabling vast ice sheets to engulf the Northern Hemisphere. Lead author of the research Professor Carrie Lear, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: “We can think of the oceans as inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, so when the ice sheets are larger, the oceans have inhaled carbon dioxide from the

By Cardiff University This mysterious phenomena, dubbed the ‘100,000 year problem’, has been occurring for the past million years or so and leads to vast ice sheets covering North America, Europe and Asia. Up until now, scientists have been unable to explain why this happens. Our planet’s ice ages used to occur at intervals of every 40,000 years, which made sense to scientists as the Earth’s seasons vary in a predictable way, with colder summers occurring at these intervals. However there was a point, about a million years ago, called the ‘Mid-Pleistocene Transition’, in which the ice age intervals changed from every 40,000 years to every 100,000 years. New research published today in the journal Geology has suggested the oceans may be responsible for this change, specifically in the OUTCROP | December 2016



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OUTCROP | December 2016


OUTCROP | December 2016


Since then, temperatures and sea levels have risen, and ice caps have retreated back to the poles. In addition to these natural cycles, humanmade carbon emissions are also having an effect by warming the climate.

atmosphere, making the planet colder. When the ice sheets are small, the oceans have exhaled carbon dioxide, so there is more in the atmosphere which makes the planet warmer. “By looking at the fossils of tiny creatures on the ocean floor, we showed that when ice sheets were advancing and retreating every 100,000 years the oceans were inhaling more carbon dioxide in the cold periods, suggesting that there was less left in the atmosphere.” Marine algae play a key role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere as it is an essential ingredient of photosynthesis.

CO2 is put back into the atmosphere when deep ocean water rises to the surface through a process called upwelling, but when a vast amount of sea ice is present this prevents the CO2 from being exhaled, which could make the ice sheets bigger and prolong the ice age. “If we think of the oceans inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, the presence of vast amounts of ice is like a giant gobstopper. It’s like a lid on the surface of the ocean,” Prof Lear continued. The Earth’s climate is currently in a warm spell between glacial periods. The last ice age ended about 11,000 years ago.



Caroline H. Lear, Katharina Billups, Rosalind E.M. Rickaby, Liselotte Diester-Haass, Elaine M. Mawbey, Sindia M. Sosdian. Breathing more deeply: Deep ocean carbon storage during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition. Geology, 2016; G38636.1 DOI: 10.1130/G38636.1

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Focusing Our Energy

‘Recovery On The Horizon’ Black Diamond Sponsor 3-D Seismic Symposium set for February 22, 2017 There will be two Permian Basin presentations, one given by Stephen Gardner of Lago Petroleum Consulting, and the other by Glenn Winters from Fasken Oil and Ranch. Two Marcellus speakers are slated, Dr. Morgan Brown from Neos GeoSolutions and Nancy House, Integrated Interpretation. Finally, Dr. Colin Sayers, Schlumberger, Dr. Antoine Guitton, Colorado School of Mines, and Bruce Karr, Fairfieldnodal, will all give presentations involving some of the latest in 3D technology advances. These speakers come to us from a mix of oil and gas operators, consultants, service companies, and academia. Mark your calendar for February 22nd, and make plans to join for what will no doubt be another great day of informative presentations on the very latest trends and concepts our industry has to offer. Lunch and digital copies of the booklet are included as part of the program. An area within the Studio Loft will be set aside for exhibitor booths and networking. Registration has already begun through the DGS (sign up through For more information, please contact 3D Symposium Co-Chair Angie Southcott at, or Kyrie Encinas at the DGS We are actively seeking corporate sponsorship for this event, please contact Jim Folcik for more information (Jim_ ).

The 23rd Annual 3-D Seismic Symposium, jointly sponsored by the Denver Geophysical Society and the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, will be held Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at the Studio Loft in downtown Denver’s Performing Arts Complex. This year’s theme is “Recovery On The Horizon.” The 2017 program includes a total of 15 presentations focusing on case histories from the Rockies and other USA shale plays, along with several talks on the latest 3D technologies. Kicking off the Symposium this year will be Cimarex’s VP of Exploration, John Lambuth, giving us an active operator’s perspective on technical influences on operational success in some of today’s key trends. The luncheon Keynote speaker will be Dr. Mark Zoback, Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University. His talk will discuss the ability to predict and manage the risk of injection-induced seismicity. Numerous presentations will involve case studies involving various Rocky Mountain Basin projects. John Frederick of Red Leaf Energy will give a presentation on the Powder River Basin, as will CGG’s Ron Kenny. Several talks will be given regarding the DJ Basin, including from Dr. James Applegate at SeismicUtensils, Meagan Stephens of Halliburton, and Anders Elgerd of Night Hawk Energy. SM Energy’s Shane Mogensen will be giving a Williston Basin Bakken talk.

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IN THE PIPELINE DECEMBER 7, 2016 RMAG Luncheon. Speaker Steve Fryberger. “Stratigraphy, Exploration, and EOR Potential of the Tensleep/Casper Formations, SE Wyoming.” Maggiano’s Little Italy, Downtown Denver. DECEMBER 20-21, 2016

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PTTC Rockies Short Course. Instructors: Dr. Peter Scholle and Dr. Dana Ulmer-Scholle. “Carbonate Diagenesis.” CSM, Golden, CO. DECEMBER 26-30, 2016 The RMAG Office is Closed DECEMBER 28, 2016 OCF Denver Chapter Luncheon. RVSP to 303-258-6401. FEBRUARY 24, 2017 RMAG DAPL GeoLand Ski Day.

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As a diverse community of individuals working towards a worthy cause, we believe that your unique talents can bring us all forward. Volunteers are always needed and welcome!

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