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Deepwater Depositional System Stratigraphy for Exploration and Development (Arkansas, USA)

Course Code: N292
Instructors:  Mac McGilveryLesli Wood
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
5 days

Next Event

Location: Arkansas, USA
Date:  4 - 8 Nov. 2024
Start Time: 09:00 CST
Event Code: N292a24F
Fee From: USD $12,350 (exc. Tax)


The Pennsylvanian-age Jackfork Group and the younger overlying Atoka Formation strata of central Arkansas offer a world-class field area to examine the common deepwater architectural elements that constitute many reservoirs worldwide and to compare and contrast deepwater deposits of the structurally passive-to-active basin transition.  Participants will gain an understanding of potential reservoir body geometry and its impact on the degree of stratigraphic compartmentalization and internal reservoir flow units. The link is made between depositional facies elements such as channel, levees, channelized sheets, layered or amalgamated sheets, and lateral and vertical reservoir connectivity.  We will discuss enigmatic deposits as well, such as mass failures, linked debrites, slurry flows and sand dikes, and the range of deepwater depositional processes that control bed-scale lithologies and related reservoir quality.

Business impact: Application of the learnings of this course will empower participants to get a better understanding of gross reservoir sand and net reservoir which can have significant importance on predicted in-place and recoverable reservoir volumes. This course stresses applications to both exploration and development, examining deposits at all scales (seismic to thin section) and presents 3D geological models of these outcrops that show analog flow character during reservoir performance simulation.


The course gave me an opportunity to view in outcrop the different elements of deepwater systems.


Event Code: N292a24F
Duration: 5 days
Instructors: Lesli Wood, Mac McGilvery
Dates: 4 - 8 Nov. 2024
Start Time: 09:00 CST
Location: Arkansas, USA
Fee From
USD $12,350 (exc. Tax)
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Duration and Training Method

This is a field course supported by short classroom sessions in an 80:20 ratio in the Little Rock and Hot Springs areas of Arkansas. The classroom sessions include a core workshop, with practical exercises and discussion conducted at the field localities.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Recognize and evaluate deepwater architectural elements in outcrop, core, logs (including borehole image logs) and seismic, how they form, and their characteristics.
  2. Build a sequence stratigraphic framework for deepwater facies and facies associations  as a predictive tool for exploration and development.
  3. Evaluate outcrop-based geological modeling and assess the procedures, constraints, and limitations on building robust geological models of deepwater depositional systems.
  4. Assess geologic controls on reservoir quality and make predictions in subsurface settings.
  5. Judge the significance of scale in exploration and development of deepwater depositional systems.
  6. Appraise deepwater transport and depositional processes and bed-scale products.

Day 0: Travel to Little Rock, AR.

Evening lectures will present the goals of the course, a background on deepwater deposits and processes, and an overview of the paleo- and modern settings we will see over the next five days coupled with pizza.

Day 1: McCain Mall, Big Rock Quarry, Pinnacle Mountain

Focus is on proximal deepwater systems, specifically the depositional elements and facies of the middle to upper slope. Stops include channel and levee systems of the Upper Jackfork Gp., canyon fills of the Upper Jackfork Gp., and mass transport deposits and healing phase turbidite reservoirs in the Jackfork Gp. slope.

Day 2: DeGray Spillway and Highway 7

Focus is on the depositional process and resulting lithologies and links to reservoir quality of the lower slope basin floor, with an emphasis on the log and seismic expression of these deposits. We will visit the Lower Jackfork contact with the highstand deposits of the underlying  Stanley Shale, and the stacked channel-lobe-mass failure sequences of the Jackfork in the worldclass DeGray Spillway.

Day 3: Hollywood Quarry, Baumgartner Quarry and Dierks Spillway

Focus is on incorporating the observations of the past two days into reservoir models. We will visit more basinward systems of the Jackfork Group in Hollywood Quarry, Baumgartner Quarry and Dierks Spillway and examine the impact of faulting, injectites and sand/shale body architecture on connectivity and fluid flow in these systems.

Day 4: Wilcox Core Workshop and Distal Systems

A morning core workshop will examine multiple cores taken from the Wilcox-age deepwater depositional system. We will compare facies and facies associations seen in the cores with the outcrop we have observed. Students will practice their ability to interpret facies, facies associations and depositional elements.  Morning lectures will set the tectono-stratigraphic framework for tomorrow's Atoka Fm. stops, and discuss the link between sandstone diagenesis and reservoir quality.  An afternoon field stop will visit the most distal facies in the deepwater system.

Day 5: Deepwater Deposits of the Subsiding Atoka Foreland

We will visit the deepwater deposits of the Atoka Fm., which overlies the Jackfork Gp. and was deposited as the area transitioned from a passive to  compressional margin setting. We will contrast traction-dominated marginal marine deposits with gravity-dominated slope/basin deposits and we will compare an outcrop-calibrated log motif to examples from the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea Basin. 

Day 6: Depart Little Rock, AR

Exploration or development geologists, geophysicists, reservoir engineers, reservoir modelers and/or geoscience and engineering managers within companies that are evaluating or exploiting deepwater clastic reservoirs.

Mac McGilvery

Mac thesis research was focused on the lithostratigraphy of the Brentwood Mbr., Bloyd Fm. under the direction of Dr. W. L. Manger. Mac worked for Tenneco Oil co., Mid-Continent Div., Oklahoma City, OK from 1980-1987. While there, he worked exploration projects on combination structure-stratigraphic plays in the Atoka succession in the Arkoma Basin/Ouachita Mtns. Mac was then assigned to Tenneco’s South America Div., Houston TX where he work exploration projects in the Upper Magdalena Valley, Colombia SA from 1987 to 1989. That division was sold to Royal Dutch Shell in 1989.

Mac then moved to Cartagena, Colombia where he continued to work the Upper Magdalena Valley for Shell from 1989 to 1991. After two exciting years in South America, Mac returned to the U.S. and completed his Ph.D., Geology at The University of Texas at Austin in 1996. His dissertation work was focused on the sequence stratigraphy and basin fill history of the Cretaceous, Barrow Gp., Barrow Sub-Basin, North West Shelf Australia under the direction of Dr. W. E. Galloway.

Mac then joined Phillips Petroleum Co., in Bartlesville OK where he worked as their Global Stratigraphic Advisor from 1996 to 2002. Upon the merger of ConocoPhillips, Mac transferred to the Anchorage AK office where he worked as the local Chief Geologist from 2002 to 2006. After four years of working cool North Slope geology, Mac transferred to ConocoPhillips’ Gulf of Mexico Exploration Team in Houston, TX as their Stratigraphic Advisor from 2006 to 2011. Mac finished his career at ConocoPhillips as Geoscience Advisor with emphasis on subsurface reservoir prediction in the Geological Technology Gp. 2012-15.

Mac retired from the Petroleum Industry in the spring of 2015 and currently holds the position of Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas. His current research interests are the application of sedimentology and facies analysis to petroleum reservoir characterization, depositional models for deepwater slope/basin systems based on modern seafloor and shallow seismic geomorphology and seismic and sequence stratigraphy.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Texas at Austin - Geology
MSc University of Arkansas - Geology
BSc University of Arkansas - Geology

Courses Taught
N292: Deepwater Depositional System Stratigraphy for Exploration and Development (Arkansas, USA)

Lesli Wood

My technical expertise is in clastic sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, and seismic geomorphology. I specialize in the study of land margins and the processes, deposits, and fluid systems that characterize them. This interest extends to systems on other planets, as well as on Earth. I have extensive experience in physical modeling of clastic processes and a strong interest in predictive models of complex geomorphic response to extrinsic and intrinsic changes.

In addition, I have research interests in gas hydrates, shale tectonics, and the biotic and fluid systems of deep-ocean mud volcanoes. My industry experience includes integrated study of petroleum systems, exploration prospect development and operations, and regional hydrocarbon prospect evaluation. I am well versed in the integration of biostratigraphic, oxygen isotopic, geochemical, seismic, and well log and production data for subregional and regional sequence stratigraphic and basin analysis.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Colorado State University - Earth Resources
MS University of Arkansas - Geology
BS Arkansas Tech University - Geology

Courses Taught
N043: Gulf of Mexico Petroleum Systems
N072: Workshop in Geological Seismic Interpretation: Deep Marine Systems
N292:  Deepwater Depositional System Stratigraphy for Exploration and Development (Arkansas, USA)

CEU: 4 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
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We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.