Oil and Gas
Oil and Gas | Unconventional Resources
This course uses the Monterey Formation as a natural laboratory to understand the origin, distribution and physical properties of biogenic, organic-rich mudrocks as well as the relationship between mechanical stratigraphy and fracture distribution in layered rocks. Participants will learn to distinguish types of siliceous, calcareous/dolomitic, phosphatic and organic-rich rocks and understand relationships between composition, diagenesis, bedding and fracture architecture to enhance prediction of reservoir properties.
Duration and Training Method
This is a field course, supported by classroom sessions in a 60:40 ratio. Classroom sessions will comprise presentations, case studies, exercises, and reviews of the fieldwork.
Participants will learn to:
- Judge factors that contribute to a successful unconventional resource play in thin-bedded, brittle, fine-grained rocks.
- Distinguish cherts, porcelanites, siliceous shales, diatomites, dolomites, calcareous and phosphatic mudrocks.
- Evaluate depositional setting and facies relationships of hemipelagic/pelagic sediments and their paleoceanographic controls.
- Characterize key sedimentary structures of mudrocks from different depositional environments.
- Formulate interpretations of biogenic mudrocks and predict changes in physical properties that occur with diagenesis.
- Identify components of an active petroleum system, including source rocks, migration pathways, carrier beds and reservoir rocks.
- Synthesize stratal stacking, sediment composition and diagenetic stage to predict mechanical stratigraphy and potential fracture networks.
- Recognize the component elements of mechanical stratigraphy and evaluate their impact on fracture development.
- Conduct surveys of fault and fracture networks in order to evaluate fracture scaling and fracture connectivity, and to design potential landing zones and trends for horizontal laterals in fractured reservoirs.
- Design conceptual models of a fractured reservoir that incorporate aspects of lithology, mechanical stratigraphy, fracture attributes and structural position.
The course uses spectacular, classic outcrops of different facies of the Miocene Monterey Formation exposed along the coast in southern and central California to train participants in the sedimentology, depositional systems, and climatic and oceanographic control of facies in clastic-poor, biogenic fine-grained deposits. The great heterogeneity of the Monterey Formation permits investigation of siliceous, calcareous, phosphatic and carbonaceous mudrocks. Proximity to the San Andreas fault system has generated tectonic structures with pervasive brittle deformation in the form of faults and fractures.
Participants will learn to characterize lithology, stratal architecture, depositional setting, diagenetic state, mechanical stratigraphy and fracture networks. Field investigation and exercises will be complemented by classroom lectures, sample examination and core description.
These concepts will be applied to the evaluation of naturally and artificially fractured reservoirs and hydrocarbon production.
Itinerary (subject to change)
Arrive at Santa Barbara Airport. Introductory lecture in evening. Overnight in Santa Barbara.
Half day field excursion to examine the Monterey in both relatively undeformed (Santa Barbara Point) and highly deformed states (Carpenteria State Beach), the petroleum system and hydrocarbon migration and seeps along a fault zone and adjacent fractured “damage zone”. Half day classroom lecture/workshop. Overnight in Santa Barbara.
Half day field trip to examine multiple lithofacies of organic-rich shale and other biogenic sedimentary rocks at Haskell’s Beach and Gaviota State Beach and cross-cutting, oil-charged slope gully sandstone/conglomerate deposit. Regional structure and fracture sets discussed. Half day classroom lecture/workshop. Overnight in Pismo Beach.
Full field day examining interbedded organic-rich carbonaceous mudstone and fractured chert reservoir rocks and unconformity-related sandstone reservoir at Shell Beach. Examine cyclic alternation of thin-bedded siliceous shale and porcelanite facies at Montana de Oro State Park. Investigate primary stratigraphic control of fracture networks and mechanical stratigraphy. Overnight in Pismo Beach.
Examine diatomaceous and diagenetic-silica-stage siliceous rocks at Sweeney Road. Examine detachment folding and faulting at multiple scales in context of regional structure. Half day classroom lecture/workshop. Overnight in Santa Barbara.
Lecture/exercises followed by field study of mechanical stratigraphy and fracture networks at Arroyo Burro Beach. Investigate different modes of brittle failure in adjacent beds of mudstone and porcelanite, and their relationship to fold development. Examine evidence for episodic water and oil expulsion from deep basin along fault zones and fracture networks. Overnight in Santa Barbara.
Depart Santa Barbara Airport.
Who Should Attend and Prerequisites
The course is aimed at exploration, development and production geoscientists whose focus is on unconventional resources. However, engineers and asset managers who are engaged in production from shale, chert or other unconventional resources and/or conventional fractured reservoirs should also benefit from this course.
Richard (Rick) Behl’s expertise is in the stratigraphy, sedimentology and sedimentary petrology of hemipelagic and pelagic sediments, and their relationship to climatic, oceanographic, and tectonic change.
Behl’s research focuses on the Quaternary Santa Barbara Basin and the petroliferous Miocene Monterey Formation that is composed of a complex suite of biogenic and diagenetic rocks. Rick has participated in numerous international marine geologic expeditions and led dozens of field trips and short-courses for professional organizations, international conferences, and industry. He has written 60 peer-reviewed, scientific articles and one controversial book. Behl and his students have made more than 170 conference presentations at regional to international conferences.
Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of UC Santa Cruz - Geology
BSc University of California
AAPG Distinguished Lecturer
AAPG-Pacific Section - Distinguished Educator
GSA - Fellow (2012)
Society for Sedimentary Geology-Pacific Section (Lifetime Honorary Membership
N364: Fracture Architecture, Sedimentology and Diagenesis of Organic-rich Mudstones of Ancient Upwelling Zones with Application to Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (California, USA).)
Michael Gross is a structural geologist with twenty-five years of professional experience in academia and industry. Most recently he spent five years (2011-2016) as a senior geologist in the Integrated Geoscience research group at Shell Technology Center in Houston, Texas. His research focuses on the characterization and impact of natural and induced fractures in both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs. He develops techniques and workflows to integrate core, borehole imagery, seismic attributes, petrophysics and geomechanics into reservoir models that account for fault and fracture networks.
Prior to joining Shell, Michael served eighteen years on the faculty of the Department of Earth Sciences at Florida International University in Miami, Florida (USA). In addition to teaching and advising graduate students, Michael directed the research program in quantitative, field-based structural geology with an emphasis on fracture development in sedimentary rocks and brittle deformation within the context of mechanical stratigraphy and regional structure / tectonics. He has conducted field studies in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and has published over 35 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.
Michael currently is a consultant to the oil and gas industry and frequently leads field trips and core workshops on fracturing and faulting in the Monterey Formation of California.
Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Penn State University - Geosciences
MSc Penn State University - Petroleum Engineering
BA Columbia College - Geological Sciences and Anthropology
N364: Fracture Architecture, Sedimentology and Diagenesis of Organic-rich Mudstones of Ancient Upwelling Zones with Application to Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (California, USA).