2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:55 AM


OTTO, Claus, Shell International E&P, Kesslerpark 1, The Hague, 2288GS, Netherlands, claus.otto@shell.com

In 1980 József Tóth published his General Hydraulic Theory of Petroleum Migration (AAPG Studies in Geology, no.10). However, this was only the third part of the title; the first part of this title says “Cross-formational gravity-flow of groundwater; the second part says “A mechanism of the transport and accumulation of petroleum”. The title says it all. The multi-disciplinary science and practice of applying hydrogeological principles and techniques to petroleum exploration and basin analysis - Petroleum Hydrogeology was born. Strictly speaking, the 1980 paper brought together a number of previously recognised interrelationship between petroleum and hydrogeology in the study of hydrocarbon deposits. However, Tóth's fundamental theory of gravity-induced, regional cross-formational groundwater flow provided the mechanism and established the intrinsic relationship between petroleum deposits and associated indicators as a result of topography-induced groundwater flow systems. Tóth argued that formation water flow is the transport link between source kitchen and trap. He defined hydrogeological indicators of petroleum deposits, which are measurable and mappable physcial, chemical, thermal and biological parameters.

Over the last 27 years since his publication József Tóth continued research in petroleum hydrogeology with a team of students, researchers, and collaborators from academia and industry. Numerous theoretical, modelling and applied studies have validated the General Hydraulic Theory and demonstrated the successful application and integration of petroleum hydrogeology in the E&P business. Petroleum Hydrogeology matured from a conceptual, theoretical stage to a developmental and deployment stage.

Today, a group of global experts work in this field, we find job applications for petroleum hydrogeologists, consulting company were founded based on petroleum hydrogeological principles, research institutions and universities continue to conduct training and research, and industry has embraced petroleum hydrogeology in their technology portfolio. Petroleum Hydrogeology is employed not only on basin-scale exploration, it's also it being utilized on reservoir scale, production optimization, fault and top seal assessments, pore pressure prediction, CO2 storage feasibility studies