The AAPG Super Basin Initiative creates an action plan to help geoscientists revisit the world’s most productive petroleum basins by providing resources through conferences, online presentations, and publications like this special issue of the AAPG Bulletin. Understanding super basins better enables us to apply technologies that can reveal each unique super basin’s full resource development potential. By studying the world’s most significant petroleum super basins, we document concepts to find and produce hydrocarbons more economically in all basins.
Between 2000 and 2015, game-changing technologies reinvigorated many of the world’s greatest onshore and offshore basins. Workflows that caused production peaks to reach new heights included horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in unconventional onshore reservoirs and enhanced seismic imaging in conventional offshore reservoirs. Improved understanding of source rocks, petroleum systems, oil habitats, stratigraphy, rock properties, and clinoform architecture enhances the exploration and development toolkit. Reduced costs, improved processes, and multidisciplinary teams created a new golden age in many super basins.
Super basin thinking forms a new paradigm useful in directing actions. Super basins foster technology advancement because they possess key geologic factors and a basin-level economy of scale that fuels innovation. New concepts and techniques and methodologies developed in super basins benefit the entire ecosystem of hydrocarbon recovery. As geoscientists, global thinking improves our ability to provide abundant and affordable energy choices and, when done correctly, can also benefit economies and our environment. Super basins, geoscientists, and AAPG play vital roles in this noble effort.