January 15, 2021
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Top Story
The Bureau of Land Management's final oil and natural gas lease auction under the Trump administration took place on Thursday, generating about $4.1 million in proceeds from the sale of 37 parcels covering roughly 2,771 hectares of federal land in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Most of the land made available was in New Mexico's Eddy and Lea counties.
Full Story: Carlsbad Current-Argus (N.M.) (tiered subscription model) (1/15) 
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Geophysical Technology News
Halliburton says it's using an electric grid-powered hydraulic fracturing system at several Permian Basin sites for Cimarex Energy. The system, which began operating in November and is an industry first, has low emissions, saves money and is reliable, Halliburton says.
Full Story: Rigzone (1/14) 
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Mars image released in honor of Curiosity milestone
Curiosity (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
NASA has released a panorama of the Gale Crater and Mount Sharp compiled from 122 images taken by the Curiosity rover in November. The rover is spending its 3,000th solar day on the red planet.
Full Story: CBS News (1/14) 
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Industry Update
As many as 60 new deepwater wells could be drilled in the US Gulf of Mexico this year, up from 52 in 2020, signaling a rebound in upstream activity in the region following last year's slowdown, analysts say. "Companies drilling development wells, conducting workovers and other interventions to stimulate production will help [offset production impacts], but may not be enough to drive growth" in 2021, said Wood Mackenzie's Justin Rostant.
Full Story: S&P Global Platts (free registration) (1/13) 
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Earthstone Energy, a Woodlands, Texas-based oil and natural gas producer focused on the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, has finalized an acquisition of rival Independent Resources Management for $182 million. "The added scale of this acquisition enhances our ability to deliver top tier operational and financial results with a heavy focus on generating low-cost, high margin production," said Earthstone CEO Robert Anderson.
Full Story: Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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Appalachian natural gas production has averaged 33.8 billion cubic feet per day so far in January, just 460 million cubic feet per day short of a single-day record set in mid-December, as strong cash and forward gas prices encourage producers to pump more, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Prices have gotten a boost lately from robust demand in the US Northeast and shrinking regional inventories.
Full Story: S&P Global Platts (free registration) (1/12) 
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has put a stop to nickel mining on Tumbagan Island in the Tawi-Tawi province because the ore deposits there are nearly depleted, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said. Authorities will increase rehabilitation efforts on the island by planting more trees, Nograles said.
Full Story: Reuters (1/12) 
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Institutes and Academia
Blocks of the Earth's crust known as cratons formed the base of continents as a result of melting and stretching up to 3 billion years ago during the Archean era, according to a study. Researchers, who used numerical models to simulate conditions on Earth at that time, say the lithospheric mantle strengthened as parts of it melted and moved up in a continuous process.
Full Story: Eos (1/12) 
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SEG News
Free article models fiber-optic strain responses to fracking
In a recently published Geophysics open-access article, Zhishuai Zhang et al. describe how they modeled cross-well strain/strain rate responses of fiber-optic sensing, including distributed strain sensing and low-frequency distributed acoustic sensing, to hydraulic stimulation. The authors note that their results can help improve acquisition design and lay the groundwork for quantitative interpretation and inversion. Read for free.
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Seismic amplitude interpretation submissions due Feb. 1
The editors of Interpretation invite papers on the topic of seismic amplitude interpretation for conventional and unconventional resources for publication in the November 2021 issue. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1. The aim of the special section is to present and discuss advances in seismic amplitude interpretation analysis for subsurface conventional and unconventional resource exploration and exploitation. Learn more and submit.
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SEG SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Wednesday.
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