President’s Column – January 2013

Title: Welcoming a New Year…

Author: Debra Higley

Publication: The Outcrop, January 2013, p. 4

It is a new year, and the first of my columns. Every new RMAG president has a focus, such as his or her research interests and/or the important roles that volunteers play in our organization and lives…

I prefer not to include research because I do that for a living, and this is my opportunity to escape the bonds of scientific writing. My one attempt at humor years ago was in a
Sussex paper that didn’t get past the reviewers…”It was a dark and stormy night on the Cretaceous epicontinental seaway. Attitude on the marine bar was charged and turbulent.” In 1997, I was awarded the coveted RMAG Shaft Award for my cartoons in the
Outcrop. I prefer them to pictures of me (which look like my Mom).

One focus of my columns will be to provide information, granted this is a bit vague, but this is not a scientific paper. Our organization has morphed through time, especially the
last couple of years. We have a new organization with Emily Tompkins, Executive Director; Carrie Veatch, Office and Programs Manager; and Carol Dalton, accountant,
who has been a welcome presence during this transition. RMAG will continue to evolve with changing science and membership as we meet the needs of people both established and new in their careers. RMAG provides continuing education which includes publications, luncheons, short courses, field trips, symposia, and other events, including more career development courses. The career development courses will benefit by  inviting the younger scientists into the RMAG planning processes. We will investigate additional ways in which RMAG can serve you.

On January 24th, Doug Waples will present his short course on petroleum source rock kinetics for RMAG/PTTC. I highly recommend his class. For more than just conventional
resources, it is important to understand the processes and analyses of thermal maturation for unconventional source/reservoir rocks. Current belief is that there is minimal lateral migration within these low-permeability self-sourced reservoirs. Petroleum expulsion from source rocks travels vertically outward to more permeable carrier beds, then migrates to new homes in other strata. Self-sourced unconventional oil reservoirs are within areas that are thermally mature. Vitrinite reflectance measures maximum thermal stress; while it is used as a thermal maturation indicator, it is imperfect. This is an opportunity to learn or expand your knowledge on thermal maturation of source rocks.