Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Unconventional Resources

Geological Characterization and Engineering of Unconventional Oil and Gas Shales: Classroom and Field Seminar

Course Code: N279
Instructors:  Yucel AkkutluRoger Slatt
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
6 days
0 days


This two-part course is designed to integrate the latest information on the geological characterization and engineering characteristics of resource shales. Part I will present an overview of some common unconventional resource shales and develop an integrated workflow for the geological characterization of shales. Part II will present engineering aspects of the drilling, completion, production and reservoir management of shales, including recent advances and economic analysis. 


The instructors are obviously experts in their fields. It is great to learn from those at the cutting edge of research.

Duration and Training Method

This is a five-day course consisting of lectures and exercises. This course will use a ‘paperless’ format, whereby participants will be provided with a digital manual containing the entire set of lecture figures and exercises.

Participants must bring a laptop computer with the ability to read PDFs from a USB port to the course.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Design a workflow for the integrated characterization of resource shales.
  2. Develop a sequence stratigraphic framework for regional to local correlation and mapping of best potentially-productive intervals within a shale sequence.
  3. Evaluate the stratigraphic distribution of micro- and macro-fractures within brittle-ductile couplets at the laminae- to- sequence scale for predicting best potential horizontal drilling targets.
  4. Evaluate shale analytical data with increased confidence and knowledge of constraints on data acquisition.
  5. Assess rock types and build a sequence stratigraphic framework using well-log and/or seismic data.
  6. Assess the variables that affect drilling and hydraulic fracturing for improved drilling and production management.
  7. Evaluate current drilling and completion practices for shale wells.
  8. Estimate porosity and permeability using core plugs and crushed shale samples.
  9. Model shale gas transport coefficient for reservoir simulation studies.
  10. Perform pressure transient analysis using Diagnostic Fracture Injection Testing (DFIT).
  11. Perform material balance calculations for shale.
  12. Identified transient flow regimes during shale gas production from horizontal wells.
  13. Estimate total fracture surface area of a well contributing to the production.
  14. Identify fracture interference using production data.
  15. Evaluate production decline trends of various Woodford gas wells.
  16. Perform shale oil and gas in-place calculations.
  17. Analyze case studies of history-matching production data for wells from Marcellus, Eagle Ford, and Bakken.
  18. Become aware of the environmental considerations related to water utilization and groundwater protection.

This is a two-part course.
Part I (days 1 to 3)  addresses geoscience issues:

  •  an overview of some common unconventional resource shales;
  • depositional processes and how they relate to poro-permeability (including fracture properties) and lithology, fabric, mineralogy and organic geochemistry (including biomarkers);
  • commonality of a sequence stratigraphic framework for resource shales and how to develop that framework; seismic response;
  • geomechanical properties of shales, with emphasis on ductile-brittle couplets at the sequence- to-bed scales.

An integrated gas shale characterization workflow is provided. Limited exercises will be presented, with emphasis on selecting optimal target strata for drilling.

Part II (days 4 and 5)  is designed to complement the integrated characterization workflow. It includes:

  • drilling, completion, and stimulation technologies;
  • sampling and laboratory measurements for shale;
  • reservoir engineering;
  • environmental considerations in developing unconventional resources; and
  • future directions in unconventional resource engineering.

The course also addresses recent advances in economic analysis of shales.  Lecture and exercise material is supplemented with integrated case history information on the Woodford and Barnett Shale, from which both instructors have considerable experience.

This course is designed mainly for geoscientists unfamiliar with, or unable to keep up with, the continuing flow of new information on unconventional resource shales as exploration and development targets, but reservoir engineers and petrophysicists will also benefit from improved understanding of shale reservoirs.

Yucel Akkutlu

Dr. Yucel Akkutlu is Rob L. Adams ’40 Professor in Petroleum Engineering and William Keeler faculty fellow at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. He previously worked as a faculty for the University of Oklahoma, USA, and University of Alberta, Canada. He is a chemical engineer and received Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in petroleum reservoir engineering, petrophysics, and physical sciences.

His research focuses on characterization and exploitation of unconventional oil and gas resources, enhanced oil recovery, and oilfield chemistry. He has written more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, six book chapters, and has four patents. He is the author of “Nano-confined Petroleum Recovery from Source Rocks,” which will be published in 2020. He has received over $3 million in external research funding during the last 10 years from sources such as the US Department of Energy (DOE), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the unconventional oil and gas industry.

He is a distinguished member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He was the executive editor of the SPE Journal 2013-2016. He was 2014-15 SPE distinguished lecturer. He received 2020 SPE International Lester C. Uren award, 2017 TAMU-Association of Former Students teaching award, 2016 TAMU-Association of Former Students distinguished achievement award, and 2015 AIME Rossiter W. Raymond memorial award. Akkutlu served in various SPE, EAGE, and NSERC committees.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Southern California - Petroleum Engineering
MSc University of Southern California - Petroleum Engineering
BSc Hacettepe University - Chemical Engineering

Courses Taught
N274: Unconventional Resource Engineering for Geoscientists
N279: Geological Characterization and Engineering of Unconventional Oil and Gas Shales: Classroom and Field Seminar (Oklahoma, USA)
N484: Resource Management for Unconventional Oil and Gas Plays
N956: Enhanced Oil Recovery using CO2: Techniques, Practices and Simulation
N973: Reservoir Engineering for Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil Reservoirs
N989: Rate and Pressure Transient Analysis for Unconventional Reservoirs
RM01: Fundamentals of Unconventional Reservoir Engineering for Earth Scientists

Roger Slatt

Roger M. Slatt is the Gungoll Family Chair Professor in Petroleum Geology and Geophysics at University of Oklahoma and Director of the Institute of Reservoir Characterization in the Sarkeys Energy Center at OU. He was Director of the School of Geology and Geophysics and Eberly Family Chair Professor at University of Oklahoma from 2000-2006, and the Gungoll Chair Professor of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics in 2006-07.   He formerly was Head of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at Colorado School of Mines (1992-2000) and Director of the Rocky Mountain Region Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (1995-2000). 

He has published more than 100 articles and abstracts and is author/co-author/editor of 6 books on petroleum geology, reservoir geology, sequence stratigraphy, clastic depositional systems and/or geology of shale. He has been an AAPG and SPE Distinguished Lecturer, and in addition to OU, presents courses internationally for industry organizations. 

He is the recipient of the AAPG Distinguished Service Award, the Esso Australia Distinguished Lecturer in Petroleum Geology, AAPG Honorary Membership, AAPG Grover Murray Distinguished Educator Award, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Special Commendation Award, and most recently the 2012 Jules Braunstein Memorial Award for co-authoring a poster with colleague Younane Abousleiman on ‘Merging sequence stratigraphy and geomechanics for unconventional gas shales”. He has graduated more than 50 M.S. and Ph.D. students while at OU.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Alaska
MS University of Alaska
BA California State University San Jose
AA San Francisco City College

Courses Taught
N279:Geological and Engineering Characterization of Unconventional Oil and Gas Shales: Classroom and Field Seminar (Oklahoma, USA)
N292:Deepwater Depositional System Stratigraphy for Exploration and Development (Arkansas, USA)


CEU: 4.8 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 48 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.