Current Abstract

October 11th, 2022 Meeting Abstract

Stratigraphic Controls on Groundwater Salinity in the Tulare Formation, Elk Hills Area, Kern County, California

Presented by: Daniel E. Schwartz, PhD



Daniel E. Schwartz, LLC, Driltek Corp., Daniel B. Stephens and Associates, Inc.

Contributions from: Brian Bell, Stefan Finsterle, Don Greenfield, Jeff Sande, and Greg Schnaar

National requirements for CO2 sequestration (Class VI well permit) have been established by the EPA and the Treasury Department provides tax benefits (45Q) for sequestering CO2. Thus, the door has been opened for operators to assess achieving carbon neutral operations. This presentation covers carbon injection (supercritical CO2) for sequestration versus storage. Topics include the physics of CO2 sequestration, CARB performance requirements, USGS site selection criteria, and risk-based site selection with an example from the Kimberlina well (north of Bakersfield). Additionally, concepts of injection, storage, and containment will be discussed along with, monitoring, regulatory authorities, and risk / rating parameters. Examples from oil field sequestration in the west-side fold belt and an east-side aquifer project will be presented. After several assessments, it has become clear that geology, geophysics, petrophysics and reservoir engineering skills and experiences applicable to oil and gas exploration and production are applicable to CO2 storage and sequestration projects. Multi-discipline teams are a necessity. There is significant data available to characterize reservoir properties with much less available to characterize containment layers. A key element for site characterization is measurements of core from confining layers. Understanding of risk elements for injection and containment layers drives work programs. Detailed evaluation of structure, stratigraphy, and reservoir properties is required to meet regulatory requirements. Early and regular engagement with Regulators is a necessity.



Dan began his professional career in 1978 with Shell’s Bellaire Research Center in Houston, after earning his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1974 and his PhD at UT Dallas in 1978. After delivering reservoir studies of the Monterey and Tulare Formations of California, the Pliocene-Pleistocene deep marine reservoirs of the Gulf of Mexico, west African deltas systems, and leading the Production Geology Research Group at BRC, Dan transferred to California in 1985. As Division Geological Engineer with Shell Western, Dan lead a team of geologists working all of Shell’s non-Belridge assets.
Shell leveraged Dan’s geologic expertise throughout their international organization. In 1992, Dan transferred from California to Aberdeen, Scotland as Head of Production Geology and Geophysics for Shell Expro, covering the UK North Sea. In 1996 he returned to Houston as Technology Director at Pecten and Business Development Director at Shell Capital. From 1999 to 2003 Dan led the Basin Evaluation and Stratigraphy Team, and was Exploration Manager for Offshore Morocco. In 2003 he was named Chief Geologist for Shell Oil, overseeing staff development and deployment, software and databases, and technical assurance. In 2005, Dan was named Chief Petroleum Engineer and Regional Exploration Consultant for Shell International. He had responsibility for all technical disciplines, technical assurance, special-services teams, and project resourcing for deepwater, unconventional, and CCUS teams.
In 2009, Dan returned to California, and was reunited with the Monterey, as lead of Aera’s exploration team that developed the land position and identified exploration prospects for the San Joaquin shale unconventional play.
Dan retired from Shell in 2014 and from Aera in 2016 but has not curtailed his activity level. Daniel E. Schwartz, LLC, actively consults for companies and lenders, and has led field and training courses for society and industry clients, and continues to present his work at Sectional and National meetings.
Dan’s involvement with AAPG has been varied and long-lasting. He has contributed to convention, committees, core workshops and short courses. In 2014 he received the A.I. Levorsen award and in 2018 received the Victor Church award. Working with his wife Cynthia Huggins, he contributed to the expansion and success of the IBA, scholarship, Student Chapter, and YP programs in the Pacific Section; was President-Elect, President, and Past-President of the Pacific Section He worked to improve alignment of the Pacific Section with its Affiliated Societies and to improve communications between the Sections and National AAPG. Dan was elected Vice President, Sections for AAPG (2017-2018), was a member of the AAPG Executive Committee, and represented Pacific Section on over a dozen AAPG committees (education, technical, conventions).
Dan’s activities are not limited to AAPG. He established a geological graduate student scholarship fund at University of Texas at Dallas, where he was awarded Alumni of the Year in 2015. He also races vintage sports cars.