Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Clastics

Exploration and Development in Fluvio-Lacustrine Systems

Course Code: N387
Instructors:  Philip Hirst
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
3 days
5 sessions


Business impact: This course considers fluvial, alluvial fan, and lacustrine depositional systems as exploration targets and in terms of field development. The controls on these systems will be assessed at a variety of scales to aid the understanding of the distribution of source rocks and reservoir units in continental basins.

Topics covered include stratigraphic analysis and correlation, tectonic, climatic and base level controls on facies distributions, system-scale variations in sandstone body architecture, and dimensions and connectivity of reservoir units. Exercises based on subsurface data form a key element of this workshop. 

Duration and Training Method

This is a classroom or virtual classroom workshop comprising seminars, case study presentations, workshops discussions, and exercises of varying duration.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Understand the characteristics of alluvial fan, fluvial and lacustrine systems in sedimentary basins.
  2. Evaluate and integrate the controls on lacustrine and fluvial depositional systems.
  3. Develop tools for the prediction of field-scale distribution of reservoir units.
  4. Analyse the variation in stratigraphic architecture of fluvial successions in terms of connectivity within a reservoir.
  5. Evaluate the different scales of heterogeneity in fluvial successions and their effects on reservoir quality.
  6. Use appropriate correlation techniques in fluvio-lacustrine systems.
  7. Assess tectonic controls on basin margin alluvial fan characteristics.
  8. Integrate different data types in the analysis of continental depositional systems.

1. Continental Rift Basins
1.1 Controls on Sediment Accumulation in Rifts
1.2 Sediment Supply

2. Fluvial Systems
2.1 Fluvial and Alluvial Systems
2.2 River Forms
2.3 Channel-fi lling Processes
2.4 Trends in Fluvial Systems
2.5 Floodplain Deposition
2.6 Patterns in Fluvial Deposits
2.7 Soils and Palaeosols
2.8 Fluvial Systems Summary
2.9 Fluvial Form in Modern Continental Sedimentary Basins: Distributive Fluvial Systems
2.10 Ancient Fluvial Distributary Systems
2.11 Fluvial Distributary Systems and Lakes
2.12 Conditions for the Formation of a DFS: Tectonic and Climatic Settings
2.13 The Stratigraphic Architecture of Fluvial Distributary System Deposits

3. Alluvial Fans
3.1 Morphology of Alluvial Fans
3.2 Processes of Deposition on Alluvial Fans
3.3 Fluvial Deposits Forming Alluvial Fans
3.4 Modifi cation of Alluvial Fan Deposits
3.5 Controls on Alluvial Fan Deposition

4. Lacustrine Systems
4.1 Lake Formation
4.2 Lake Hydrology
4.3 Lake Margin Deposits
4.4 Deep Lake Facies
4.5 Saline and Ephemeral Lakes
4.6 Controls on Lake Facies

5. Case Studies
5.1 The Ebro Basin, Southern Pyrenean Foreland Basin,C enozoic, Northern Spain
5.2 Lacustrine Case Study: The Orcadian Basin -Old Red Sandstone
5.3 The Clair Field, Devonian West of Shetland

6. Reservoir Modelling in Continental Systems
6.1 Introduction to Geocellular Models
6.2 What Aspects Need to be Considered when Modelling Continental Systems?
6.3 How Good is my Static Model?


The course is aimed at relatively experienced exploration and development geoscientists, petrophysicists, and reservoir engineers.

Philip Hirst

Phil left BP after 32 years working as a sedimentologist, latterly as the global discipline lead for sedimentology, stratigraphy, and reservoir quality. He is now an independent consultant focusing on clastic reservoir challenges and geoscience training. He is also involved in delivering lectures and supporting fieldwork for the Royal Holloway Petroleum Geoscience MSc.

Phil completed a PhD on the structural controls and alluvial architecture of Tertiary sediments in the Ebro Basin, Spain. Following this, he began work as a continental sedimentologist. As a sedimentologist in BP, Phil worked across the BP international portfolio from Argentina to Alaska and Australia to Sakhalin and many points between. He has contributed to the reservoir descriptions in access, exploration, and development ventures with frontier field work being an important component; this has included field work in Turkey, Yemen, Sakhalin, Algeria, Jordan/Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

Phil has evaluated many of the more complex depositional and diagenetic issues in BP, such as opaline deposits, tuffaceous sandstones, and the role of chlorite in sandstones. However, it is the glacial reservoirs of North Africa and the Middle East that have been a particular favourite area of study. He co-edited the Geological Society, London 2016 Special Volume No 436 "The Value of Outcrop Studies in Reducing Subsurface Uncertainty".

Affiliations and Accreditation
Visiting Lecturer, Royal Holloway UoL
PhD University of Cambridge
BA Oxford University
Geological Society, London
International Association of Sedimentologists
SEPM, the Society for Sedimentary Geology

Courses Taught
N530: Shore to Shelf Depositional Systems (Virtual Outcrops)
N533: Deepwater Depositional Systems (Virtual Outcrops)
N534: Delta Plain to Base of Slope Reservoir Systems: Outcrop, Seismic, and Production Analogues in a Sequence Stratigraphic
N544: Source to Sink: Provenance, Sediment Routing and Reservoir Characterisation (Southern Pyrenees, Spain)
N387: Exploration and Development in Fluvio-Lacustrine Systems

CEU: 2.4 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 24 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
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.