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The ACE 2021 Program Committee is planning for the eventuality of both in-person and online presentations in Denver in May. To help manage the selection and scheduling process, you will be asked to respond to a simple survey question and declare your availability to speak in Denver or online when you upload your abstract(s). AAPG leaders and staff continue to work with the City of Denver to develop appropriate health and safety protocols to ensure and safe and enjoyable convention. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and provide updates when available.

call for abstracts closed

Call for Abstracts is Closed

The technical program committee is currently reviewing and scoring abstracts. Abstracts will be selected under the following themes and subthemes.

Please check back for the complete program as it becomes available.


Theme Descriptions and Subthemes for ACE 2021 Technical Program

Theme 1: Siliciclastic Systems

Theme 1 will showcase siliciclastic sedimentary plays, reservoir architectures, and facies distributions ranging from pore- to basin-scale. Emphasis will be placed on practical applications and novel techniques and workflows for understanding sedimentary systems, and how these add value in exploration and development. This year, Theme 1 will include a memorial session dedicated to Dr. Roger Slatt honoring his many contributions to the geology of siliciclastic systems.


  • Reservoir Characterization of Siliciclastic Systems Honoring Dr. Roger Slatt
  • Source to Sink: Basin Analysis and Tectono-Stratigraphic Interactions
  • Nonmarine Sedimentary Systems
  • Shallow Marine Sedimentary Systems
  • Deepwater Sedimentary Systems
  • Controls on Reservoir Quality and Rock Property Trends
  • Techniques to Determine Age, Provenance, and Paleoclimate
  • New Advances in Mature Siliciclastic Basins and Fields
  • Advances in Siliciclastic Systems Modeling and Prediction
  • Sedimentology and CO2 Sequestration

Theme 2: Carbonates, Evaporites, and Mixed Systems

Carbonate reservoirs hold more than half of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves. Theme 2 will explore all aspects of carbonate reservoirs and applicable analogs from academia and industry, including deposition, diagenesis, reservoir models, and pore networks. A new sub-theme will focus on the latest technology applied to carbonate systems in outcrop, core and the subsurface, including petrographic, geochemical, imaging, drilling, logging, and well completion techniques. Abstracts are requested for the below sub-themes, which will be used for both oral and poster sessions.


  • Characterization of Conventional Carbonate Reservoirs
  • Characterization of Unconventional Carbonate Reservoirs
  • Cretaceous Carbonate Depositional Systems and Reservoirs
  • Mixed Carbonate and Siliciclastic Depositional Systems and Reservoirs
  • Microbial Carbonates: Reservoirs and Analogs
  • Pore Systems in Carbonate Reservoirs from the Nano- to Mega-Scale: Rock Properties and Reservoir Performance
  • Modern Technologies Applied to Carbonate Systems: Geologic & Multi-disciplinary Methods

Theme 3: Geochemistry, Basin Modeling, and Petroleum Systems

Geochemistry and basin modeling provide the means to describe the evolution of the petroleum system in both conventional and unconventional plays. Theme 3 will showcase new methodologies and integrated workflows in geochemistry and basin modeling, applications for reservoir characterization, production optimization, and hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon risk assessment.


  • Application of Geochemistry to Reservoir Characterization, Reserves, and Recovery Factor
  • Integration of Geochemistry with Petrophysics, Geology, and Engineering
  • Practical Applications of Geochemistry for Field Development
  • Integrated Workflows in Basin Modeling
  • New Applications of Inorganic Geochemistry from Exploration to Development
  • Seal Risk, Seal Capacity, and Column Height Prediction
  • Role of Geochemistry in Renewable Energy

Theme 4: Structure, Tectonics, and Geomechanics

Theme 4 spans all aspects of structural geology and geomechanics from exploration to abandonment. Presentations will showcase new approaches and case studies illustrating how the application of structural geology and geomechanics leads to increased reserves, improved production, lower cost, and reduced risk.


  • Petroleum Geomechanics: Exploration and Abandonment
  • Natural and Induced Fractures and Fluid Flow
  • Modelling Deformation: Analogue, Geometric, and Numerical Approaches
  • Petroleum System Tectonics and Structural Styles: Lithosphere to Thin Section
  • Salt-Involved Systems: Deposition to Diapirism to Dissolution
  • Structural Geology and Geomechanics in Unconventional Reservoir Development
  • Alternative Energy Sources, Carbon Capture, and Storage
  • Virtual Field Studies: Videography and Drone
  • Engineering and Structural Geology: Reservoir, Completions, and Production

Theme 5: Unconventional Resources

Unconventional resources remain a primary source of North American petroleum supply and the focus of emerging plays worldwide. Advances in evaluation techniques and case studies will showcase innovative approaches to optimization.

Topics under this theme include unconventional plays across the U.S. and globally, reservoir characterization at multiple scales, advances in petrophysical evaluation and development strategies, and the application of data science in unconventionals.


  • Basin and Play Scale Characterization of Unconventional Reservoirs
  • Advances in Analytical Techniques for Unconventional Resources
  • Pore-Scale Techniques and Case Studies for Characterizing Mudrock Reservoirs
  • Unconventional Plays in the Rockies and Western US
  • Unconventional Plays in the Gulf Coast, Permian Basin, Midcontinent and Appalachians
  • Unconventional Plays in the Permian Basin
  • Global Unconventional Plays
  • Reservoir Characterization and Development Strategies for Unconventional Fields
  • Data Science in Unconventionals

Theme 6: Sustainable Energy Development and Environmental Geoscience

Theme 6 will showcase geoscience research and technology that are critical for current and future energy development which will aid in moving towards a sustainable future. Topics for this theme will address lessons learned and best practices in exploration, development, and enhanced oil recovery including: CCS/CCUS, lifecycle analysis, regulatory compliance, environmental challenges, economics and incentives, and energy technology solutions.


  • Lifecycle Linkages for a Sustainable Future: Sources, Sinks, and Economics
  • Developments and Lessons Learned in Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage
  • Geoscience and Technology to Address Risk, Environmental Impact, and Mitigation
  • Induced Seismicity: Research and Applications to Reservoir Development, EOR, and Carbon Management
  • Water Management: Source, Recycling, Disposal, and Valuation
  • Geoscience and Technology for Development and EOR – The Greening of Brownfields
  • Renewables and the Modern Geoscientist: Case Studies, Skill Sets, and Their Role in Energy
  • Making Sustainability Work: Incentives, Economics, and Policy

Theme 7: Geophysics – What’s New and Innovative?

Theme 7 focuses on integration of geophysical data with geological and engineering data. New, innovative techniques for improving geophysical data will be reviewed. A new session has been added focusing on fiber data and its role in the geophysics to subsurface data integration process.


  • Advances in Geophysics of Unconventionals
  • Geophysics and Remote Sensing Applications in Exploration
  • Seismic Techniques in Geological Characterization
  • Integration of Geologic, Geomechanical and Geophysical Observations and Models
  • Seismic Imaging
  • Laboratory and Numerical Experiments in Geophysics
  • Integration of Geology and Geophysics Into Reservoir Models
  • Fiber Optics Applications for Completions Practices and Fracture Analysis

Theme 8: Deep Integration of Data and Disciplines

Theme 8 focuses on how data and computer science enables, empowers, and enhances geoscience and business workflows. We invite presentations and posters that showcase new data methods (big data, data science, AI, etc.) and advances in technical computing and technical workflows that create value, improve efficiency, and enhance collaboration within the O&G industry. A special poster session will also be included in this year’s theme that will emphasize the use of core data to ground truth data integration. This part of the program will be a core-poster session with cores available for viewing.


  • The Alignment of Computing with the Present and Future Technical Needs of the Industry: Where are the Pain Points?
  • Successes and Challenges of Data Integration for Multi-Disciplinary Workflows
  • Finding Hydrocarbons in Complex and Disparate Legacy Data
  • Advances in Reservoir Modeling
  • Data Management: Preserving Lineage, Quality, and Quantity to Enable Data Science Workflows
  • Machine Learning – Insight and Opportunity in Conventional and Resource Plays
  • Open Source and Open Access – Challenges and Opportunities
  • Visualization and Statistical Analysis – Discovering and Defining New Subsurface Trends
  • Impactful Cross-Functional Collaboration: Combining Earth Sciences and Engineering to Reap Rewards
  • Innovations in Computing in the Industry (HPC, Cloud, ML, Hardware)
  • Innovative Petrophysical Techniques for Exploration and Exploitation
  • Core Poster Special Session: Ground Truth in Data Integration

Theme 9: New Energy Frontiers, Critical Minerals, and Planetary Geology

Theme 9 represents the domain of greatest uncertainty in the energy mix and (perhaps) the coming great waves of opportunity: where to invest long-term, what disruptions may await, what resources and new technologies may be transformational, how may the futures of energy and minerals be intertwined?


  • Coal, Coalbed Methane, Bitumen, and Heavy Oil
  • Gas Hydrates and Hydrocarbons of the Future
  • Geothermal Resource Assessment, Production, and Emerging Technologies
  • Critical Minerals for the New Energy Mix: Exploration, Extraction, and Economics
  • U, Th, He, H, and other Energy Minerals
  • Extraterrestrial Resources: Moon, Mars, and More

Theme 10: Commercial Skills and Regulatory Framework

Theme 10 considers the financial underpinning of our industry and how resource estimation, risking, deal making, efficiency drivers, and investment decisions shape our future.


  • Resource Estimation and Investment Risk in Onshore and Offshore Plays
  • Role of Innovation in Driving Capital Efficiencies
  • Integration of Disciplines Supporting Investment Decisions: Geoscience, Engineering, and Economics
  • US Onshore/Offshore and International Deal Making
  • Economics of Addressing Perspectives and Policy of Climate Change
  • Navigating Regulatory and Legal Challenges
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Theme 11: SEPM Research Symposium

Stratigraphic characterization, interpretation, analyses, and prediction are prone to significant uncertainty due to the complex relationships between sedimentary processes and their stratigraphic products, a lack in the ability to observe these interactions, and the qualitative to semi-quantitative nature of stratigraphic data. Such uncertainties significantly limit advancement of the science of stratigraphy and reduce the resource industry's effectiveness.

We seek submissions that explore uncertainty assessment and reduction in stratigraphic data collection, analyses, and interpretations, as well as predictions of depositional environments and property distributions away from locations where data are available. We look for contributions based on quantitative and statistical analyses, as well as machine-learning techniques, but also for ideas and methods for evaluating qualitative and semi-quantitative datasets, based on testing of multiple hypotheses, Bayesian inference, information theory and entropy, fuzzy logic, and other approaches.


  • Resource Estimation and Investment Risk in Onshore and Offshore Plays

Theme 12: History of Petroleum Geology

Theme 12 will showcase the trials and triumphs of petroleum geologists in the Rockies over the past 150 years of oil and gas exploration and production there. In celebration of the founding of ACE’s host society, the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists 100 years ago, we will look at some of the earliest and the most innovative shale plays, at giant field discoveries, and at the stories of the men and women who made all that happen.


  • History of Petroleum Geology in the Rockies
  • Pioneering Women Historical Highlights

Theme 13: AAPG and SEPM Student Research

Undergraduates, Graduate, and Doctorial students are encouraged to submit their research to the AAPG and SEPM Student Research Poster Sessions.

AAPG’s Student Research Poster session is sponsored by Shell. After the abstracts are reviewed and scored, the top 15 abstracts are selected for this session. The session will be held on Monday, 24 May 2021 and the Best Student Poster awards (ranking from 1st to 4th) will be awarded on Monday night at the Student Reception. The 15 student poster presenters are awarded a $200 travel grant.

AAPG Student Oral Presentations are also sponsored by Shell. The top 15 highest scored student oral presentations within the technical program will be selected and judged for Best Student Oral Award. The presentations are judged (ranking from 1st to 4th) and will be awarded after the convention. The 15 students selected will also receive the $200 travel grant.

SEPM’s Student Research Poster session will also be held on Monday, 24 May 2021. SEPM will also select the top scoring abstracts for their session. The number of abstracts accepted is determined by SEPM’s Executive Director and SEPM Foundation President. SEPM awards the top three presentations for a $500 cash prize based on the judging committee reviews which are awarded at the SEPM President’s Reception on Tuesday evening.

Both AAPG and SEPM will create as many additional student poster sessions from the highest scored abstracts as space allows. The additional student poster sessions will be eligible for the Braunstein Award (Best Poster).

Students are also encouraged to submit to any of the theme and subthemes within the technical program.


  • AAPG Student Research Poster
  • SEPM Student Research Poster

reasons to submit

Top Reasons to Submit

Share your knowledge and expertise

Use ACE as platform to share the latest science, research, and innovations. Geoscientists from around the world are looking to you for answers and solutions to challenges facing exploration and beyond.

Promote the geosciences

Help guide the future of our geosciences community. As a speaker you will be directly advocating for the development of processes, technologies, and methods that continue to advance the science of petroleum geology.

Build your resume

If you are looking for another reason to add to your resume, here’s your chance. Aligning yourself with AAPG’s 100+ years of credible science and history makes a great addition to your resume.

Expand your network

Networking and connecting at ACE is one of the most effective ways to build strategic business relationships and establish new contacts. Take this opportunity to expand your contacts and be seen as a leader in your field.

Get Published

Having your abstract selected means you’ll be included in an internationally established online journal for geoscientists in the AAPG Datapages Search and Discovery

Improve your public speaking

Not everyone enjoys giving presentations. Use this opportunity to surround yourself with peers and other industry experts to practice your public speaking skills.