Super Basins 2: Giant Fields of the World

....Giant Fields define Super Basins; Super Basins are the home for Giant Fields! 0

Friday, October 22, 2021, Webinar, Online

Developing "Super Basins" is probably a good way to continue providing oil and gas production with is low carbon intensity and low cost. We'll continue our series of webinars on this topic a week on Oct 22, with a talk from John Dolson, Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami, Florida and consultant with Cairn Energy India. He has his own consultancy, DSP Geosciences.

Mr Dolson is a geologist with 40 years experience, including 28 years with Amoco/BP. He is a former VP of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), and author of a book "Understanding Oil and Gas Shows and Seals in the Search for Hydrocarbons" (Springer, 2016).

The talk will review the update of the AAPG's Giant Fields database, with a Giant Field defined as being greater than 500 mmbo equivalent. This is the first update in 20 years. It shows some paradigm shifts which have occurred in petroleum geology over this period into what it takes to find a new super basin.

Mr Dolson will end with geological questions which may need more thought, such as factors allowing drilling at greater than 10km, why many giant fields are over oceanic or greatly thinned continental crust, possible hydrodynamic modifications in such over pressured settings, concerns about upward basin hydrodynamic flow, which could completely flush prospective traps.

One approach is to look at countries with under-explored basins, such as Ethiopia's onshore Ogaden basin.

Perhaps the Stabroek trend (Guyana) is an example of a new giant field, certainly sub-salt Santos (Brazil) was, Mr Dolson says.

NB you can see the video from our first Super Basin talk from Mike Simmons on October 8 here



Karl Jeffery - editor - Finding Petroleum

Watch video of entire webinar

Talk Description.
Understanding Giant Fields can opens up 3 options for the intrepid explorer:

  1. Where are the maturing basins where new 'low cost oil & gas' can be found in proximity to exisitng infrastructure?
  2. A "Super Basin" with Giant Fields implies a major, highly productive source rock (or rocks) which will be prime targets for unconventional exploitation.
  3. What are their charcterisitcs such that we can spot potential new "Super Basins" and explore them efficiently and effectively?

Karl Jeffery is editor and co-founder of Digital Energy Journal, and conference producer of Finding Petroleum. He is also publisher of Carbon Capture Journal and Tanker Operator, and co-founder of Digital Ship, a publishing and events company covering digital technology for the deep sea maritime industry. He has a BEng in chemical engineering from Nottingham University

Finding Petroleum
Finding Petroleum was established to help the oil and gas industry network, and stay up to date on the latest technological developments. It does this via hosting regular events and with an online social network of nearly 10,000 members.


John Dolson - MD - DSP Geosciences and Associates, LLC

Paradigm shifts gleaned from AAPG’s update GIS Giant Fields database over the last 20 years require some new thinking.

Talk Description.
What are the drivers behind finding ultra-deep oil and high quality reservoirs, hydrocarbons over oceanic crust, and hydrodynamic modifications in over-pressured settings?

I have a lot of materials and will focus on the ‘paradigm shifts’ in the last 20 years and end with a series of questions that need more thought like:

What are the factors a
llowing progressively deeper drilling (up to 10 Km below mudline) and still finding oil, condensate and high quality reservoirs?
How/why are we finding more giants over oceanic or greatly thinned continental crust?
How important is it to study (or even recognize) the impact of upward basin hydrodynamic flow on tilting hydrocarbon/water contacts, or completely flushing prospective traps?

As to what it takes to find a new Super Basin?

I think we have to go back to the basics in a lot of countries with under-explored basins (like Ethiopia’s Ogaden, for example, where we at Delonex had a huge deep play based on geochemical and biostratigraphic work on known gasses and source rocks which demonstrated the know fields were not sourced by anything remotely envisioned by prior workers). The ‘little guys’ are making these breakthroughs in thinking, not the majors. I think this is an enormously difficult thing to do and end up being successful at.

But perhaps Guyana and the Starbeoek trend is an example; certainly sub-salt Santos was, and I tried hard to get BP in there in 2003, but they waited too long and studied it another 3 times before the first big discovery.

So there must be some more out there!
I have 40 years of oil and gas experience, in both conventional and unconventional plays. I enjoy mentoring younger staff and helping companies close technical and organizational gaps. I have a long track record of hydrocarbon discoveries in both conventional and unconventional plays in multiple basins and petroleum systems.

After working for Amoco/BP for 28 years, in 2008 I formed DSP Geosciences and Associates ( I have worked with over 30 companies and am currently in my 11th year consulting with Cairn Energy India, and 6th year providing petroleum systems analysis for Ion Geophysical for their offshore SPAN data sets. I am also a Senior Geological Advisor to Delonex Energy (London), with extensive experience in Africa.

In 2016, I authored a 406-page book Understanding Oil and Ga Shows and Seals in the Search for Hydrocarbons ( The book deals with using well data understand petroleum systems, find by-passed pay and recognize migration pathways and potential traps.

I am a Trustee and 39-year member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a past Vice President (2006/2007) and candidate for President (2010). I am an adjunct professor at the Univ. of Miami. Past Advisory positions include The University of Colorado at Denver, Royal Holloway Univ. (London), Colorado State University, Moscow State University (Russia) and Tyumen University (Russia).

I have been honored with many corporate and public service awards, including Amoco’s 1998 Worldwide Technology Excellence in Exploration, and Distinguished Public Service (RMAG, AAPG).
My specialties in stratigraphy, structural geology, applied petrophysics, core analysis, depositional systems, GIS mapping and risk assessment. Petroleum systems generation, migration and entrapment provide my main approach to play and prospect evaluation, underpinned by calibrating migration models to hydrocarbon shows.

DSP Geosciences and Associates, LLC

David Bamford - Director - Finding Petroleum

Review and Q&A followed by Close no later than 14:15

David Bamford is well known around the oil & gas industry both as an explorer and a geophysicist. He holds a Physics degree from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Birmingham.

Since 2004, he has been a non-executive director at Tullow Oil plc, being recruited for this position especially for his exploration knowledge. He serves on the Nominations and Remuneration Committees, and was chairman of the latter, and Senior Independent Director, for 3 years prior to his retire from the board at the end of April 2014.

He was on the board of Premier Oil from May 2014 to May 2016.

He retired from BP plc in 2003, his last four positions being Chief Geophysicist (1990-1995), Business Unit Leader (General Manager) for first West Africa and then Norway (1995-1999), and finally Head of Exploration until 2003.

He has served on the boards of Paras Ltd, a small exploration and IS/IT consulting company in which he held 22% equity, until its sale to RPS Energy in 2008 and Welltec a/s, a Danish well engineering company, as the nominee of the private equity investor Riverside.

From 2012 to 201 he was on the board of ASX-quoted Australia Oriental Energy as a non-executive director.

He was a founder of Richmond Energy Partners, a small oil & gas research house, and several media companies that focus on the oil & gas sector, and has served as an advisor to Alliance Bernstein, Opus Executive, the Parkmead Group plc, and Kimmeridge Energy LLP. Since retiring from BP, he has undertaken asset and company valuation projects for investment banks, hedge funds and small oil companies.

Finding Petroleum
Finding Petroleum was established to help the oil and gas industry network, and stay up to date on the latest technological developments. It does this via hosting regular events and with an online social network of nearly 10,000 members.

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