Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Clastics

Prediction of Changes in Reservoir Architecture in Tidal-, Wave- and Fluvial-influenced Marginal Marine Systems: An Outcrop and Core Perspective (Alberta, Canada)

Course Code: N264
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
5 days


The key objectives of this course are to provide participants with the ability to recognise and classify mixed-influence marginal marine systems utilising sedimentological, stratigraphical and ichnological techniques. This will enable them to better manage uncertainties and to improve predictions of lateral facies changes, to correlate more realistically and to recognise potential stratigraphic compartmentalisation issues in these types of systems.  


Overall excellent course - looking forward to applying practical skills learnt in workplace. Far more adept at identifying sedimentary structures & ichnofauna than at the start.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day field, core and classroom course based in Drumheller and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The course is comprised of a mixture of group and individual exercises and discussions at the outcrops, in the core lab and in the classroom. The focus is on observations followed by interpretation and then prediction away from the data. The apportionment of time is 50% field, 25% classroom lectures, 20% core workshop and 5% computer application.

Participants are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop computer or tablet for web-based classroom exercises.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Characterise sedimentary and biogenic structures attributable to different depositional processes operating in the marginal marine zone.
  2. Integrate sedimentological and ichnological information to apply process- and architectural-based classifications to marginal marine systems.
  3. Perform rigorous, auditable analysis and interpretation of mixed-process marginal marine systems.
  4. Predict both spatial and temporal changes in depositional process and architecture in marginal marine systems.
  5. Predict potential stratigraphic compartmentalisation in marginal marine systems.
  6. Manage the uncertainties associated with the prediction of changes in depositional process, three dimensional architecture and potential stratigraphic compartmentalisation in marginal marine systems.

Mixed-process marginal marine systems (those influenced by combinations of waves, tides and fluvial processes) are the norm on the majority of modern-day coastlines (both deltaic and non-deltaic) and are being increasingly recognised in the ancient record. The Horseshoe Canyon Formation in the Drumheller area is characterised by spectacular examples of tidal, wave and fluvial interactions.

Course participants will learn how to consistently classify deposits at a process and architectural level and how to predict potential changes in reservoir architecture and stratigraphic compartmentalisation both spatially and temporally.

A consistent and rigorous framework is developed that can be utilised in exploration-scale predictions or production-scale 3D geocellular modelling. Concepts are discussed and reinforced using (1) outcrop data, (2) subsurface core and wireline datasets from boreholes drilled adjacent to the outcrops in addition to 75 wells with wireline data and 6 hand-held outcrop gamma rays,
(3) 3D reservoir model and synthetic seismic of the area, and (4) worked oil and gas field examples.

Day 1 – Introduction to Field Area and Classification Concepts (Drumheller)
Half-day classroom session followed by a half-day in the field to reinforce process classification concepts.

Day 2 – Process and Architecture Classification Concepts (Drumheller)
Field exercises - consolidation of process and architectural classification concepts.

Day 3 – Architecture Classification Concepts and Temporal and Spatial Prediction (Drumheller)
Field exercises - consolidation of architectural classifications and prediction away from data (temporal and spatial).

Day 4 – Core Workshop (Calgary)
Drive from Drumheller to Calgary ERCB Core Facility. Introduction to key ichnological concepts and start core exercise.

Day 5 – Core Workshop and Wrap-up (Calgary)
Complete core and core to wireline exercises. Wrap-up in classroom with exercises that utilise both outcrop and subsurface data to (1) predict marginal marine process, architecture and compartmentalisation and (2) manage associated uncertainty.

The course is aimed at exploration, development and production geoscientists whose focus is on clastic marginal marine systems. Asset managers responsible for exploitation of hydrocarbons in these types of systems would also benefit from the course. Reservoir engineers seeking exposure to laterally complex stratigraphic systems with the potential to impact fluid flow in reservoirs are also encouraged to attend

Bruce Ainsworth

Bruce holds the South Australian State Government Chair of Petroleum Geology. He joined the Australian School of Petroleum in 2007 following fifteen plus years industry experience with Shell International Exploration and Production Company and two years as a Statoil and BP funded research assistant at the University of Liverpool, UK.

His career has covered all aspects of the upstream petroleum industry from exploration to appraisal, development, production and research. Bruce worked for five years in the Shell Research Laboratories and gained practical experience in exploration and production companies around the globe and has work experience of geological systems from fourteen countries. He has niche expertise sedimentology, seismic and sequence stratigraphy and the application of the inherent uncertainties in these data and interpretations to multiple scenario three-dimensional reservoir modeling.

From 2007 to 2010 he was Discipline Leader for Reservoir and Seals Characterizations group, CO2CRC (CO2 geo-sequestration)

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Liverpool - Sequence stratigraphic-bases analysis of depositional connectivity using 3-D reservoir modelling techniques
MSc McMaster University - Sedimentology and high-resolution sequence stratigraphy of the Bearpaw-Horseshoe Canyon transition
BSc Imperial College - Honors
ASP Reservoir Analogues Research Group, Leader (ARG;http://www.asprg.adelaide.edu.au/ORGwww/arg index.html)
WAVE Consortium, Leader (http://waveknowledgebasenet/)

Courses Taught
N264: Prediction of Changes in Reservoir Architecture in Tidal-, Wave- and Fluvial-influenced Marginal Marine Systems: An Outcrop and Core Perspective (Alberta, Canada 


James MacEachern

His research interests are associated with the integration of ichnology (trace fossil analysis) with sedimentology/facies analysis and genetic stratigraphy (sequence stratigraphy) for the development of refined facies models. The ultimate goal of this research is to place applied ichnology into the hands of sedimentary facies analysts. His research spans a wide range of depositional settings, from arid/semi-arid fluvial systems, strand plain shorefaces, deltaic successions, estuarine incised valley complexes, brackish bay settings, shelf complexes, and submarine fan systems.

To a lesser degree, Dr. MacEachern engages in the paleontologic aspects of ichnology as well. The bulk of Dr. MacEachern’s research concerns subsurface problems employing core analysis, well log correlations and subsurface mapping, all essential elements of petroleum geology. He also conducts and supervises outcrop field studies.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Alberta, Canada
MSc University of Regina, Canada
BSc University of Regina, Canada

Courses Taught
N264: Prediction of Changes in Reservoir Architecture in Tidal-, Wave- and Fluvial-influenced Marginal Marine Systems: An Outcrop and Core Perspective (Alberta, Canada)

CEU: 4 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 40 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.