Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Clastics

Reservoir Sedimentology and Stratigraphy of Coastal and Shelfal Successions: Deltas, Shorelines and Origins of Isolated Sandstones (NW Colorado, USA)

Course Code: N042
Instructors:  Lee KrystinikAndy Pulham
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
5 days


This course investigates outstanding Late Cretaceous outcrops of the Western Interior Seaway, focusing on models for exploration and exploitation within coastal through shelfal depositional settings. The sedimentology of deltaic, shoreline and shelfal siliciclastic depositional settings are studied in combination with the recognition of stratigraphic signatures in marginal marine and shallow marine settings, geometry and architecture of major sandstones, and origin of stratigraphic traps.

Business Impact: Participation in this course will allow attendees to better predict reservoir potential, define development strategies, and create accurate exploration models for coastal and shallow marine depositional systems.


Excellent handling of the course content + organisation.

Duration and Training Method

This is a field course supported by classroom sessions in a 90:10 ratio. Classroom sessions will comprise presentations, case studies, exercises, and reviews of the fieldwork.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Appraise key aspects of clastic coastline and shelfal sedimentology to define reservoir potential, development strategies, and exploration models.
  2. Manage depositional environment analysis to erect local and regional stratigraphic frameworks.
  3. Evaluate the spectrum of stratigraphic surfaces and assess their importance in predicting two- and three-dimensional geometries.
  4. Interpret the geometry and architecture of major coastal plain to shelf sandstones and determine their three-dimensional relationships.
  5. Assess a variety of stratigraphic traps that can occur in coastal and shelfal settings.
  6. Evaluate reservoir heterogeneities across a range of coastal and shelfal sandbodies.
  7. Assess stratal relationships in marginal marine settings to generate exploration opportunities and to understand reservoir performance.

During the Cretaceous, depositional systems along the western margin of the Western Interior foreland basin were affected by the interplay of eustatic sea level fluctuations, variation in sediment supply, and tectonic-induced subsidence. This interaction resulted in deposition of a thick, complex wedge of siliciclastics influenced by significant lateral shifts of coastal and marine systems tracts. Subsequent uplift of the Rocky Mountains and their erosion has provided exceptional exposures to study the stratigraphic relationships of this clastic wedge. Characteristics of the full spectrum of coastal and marine facies will be examined, and their spatial and stratigraphic relationships discussed. The area studied in this field seminar includes laterally extensive, "seismic-scale" exposures of lowstand, transgressive, and highstand deposits.

The seminar will review concepts of process sedimentology. Component facies, and the reservoir characteristics of a spectrum of coastal and shallow water marine depositional systems will be discussed. Sequence stratigraphic settings will be considered as an aid to development of exploration plays.

Depositional systems to be examined include incised valley fills; lowstand deltas; transgressive barrier islands and associated facies; coastal plain fluvial and estuarine facies; highstand shorelines; enigmatic ‘shelf bars’.

Recognition and characteristics of significant stratigraphic surfaces will also be examined and discussed. Consideration of the effect of these features on reservoir potential, development strategies, and exploration models will be explored as well as the recognition, interpretation, and factors controlling coastal and shallow marine depositional systems.

This class has some weather-dependent outcrops, therefore the daily schedule is subject to change.

Day 0 

  • Travel to Craig, CO
  • Evening introductory lecture (Intro to the regional geology of NW Colorado), safety briefing and group dinner


Day 1

  • Sedimentology and stratigraphy of deltas, strandplains, and barred shorelines
  • Field examination of wave-dominated shorelines

Day 2 

  • Sedimentology and stratigraphy of shelf sands
  • Fieldwork: Shelf sands
  • Travel to Rangely, CO

Day 3 

  • Overview of Rangely area geology 
  • Fieldwork: Estuaries and deltas

Day 4

  • Fieldwork: Estuarine sedimentology and stratigraphy

 Day 5 

  • Depart Rangely for Steaboat Springs
  • Fieldwork: unraveling stratigraphic complexity of shoreline and estuarine successions

Day 6 

  • Fly out of Steamboat Springs, CO

Exploration and development geologists and geophysicists concerned with the exploration and exploitation of shallow marine and coastal systems. Reservoir engineers seeking a better understanding of reservoir architecture and the factors that influence them. Asset managers responsible for exploitation and exploration for shallow marine and coastal reservoirs.

Lee Krystinik

Dr. Lee F. Krystinik has specialized in using sedimentology and stratigraphy to find oil and gas in clastic reservoirs since he received his Ph.D. in geology from Princeton University. Krystinik has held positions as Manager of Regional Studies at Reservoirs Inc., Manager of Geology at Union Pacific Resources, and Global Chief Geologist for ConocoPhillips. He Co-founded and successfully sold Fossil Creek Resources, a private-equity-funded startup. Today, he is a founding Partner in Equus Alliance, LLC and Equus Energy Partners, LLC, exploration investment partnerships that aggressively apply technology to mitigate risk in the search for opportunities, predominantly conventional oil targets supported by 3D seismic. Lee's primary areas of interest include syn-tectonic sedimentation and other controls driving basin-fill architecture, integrated play assessment, cost-effective implementation of new concepts and technology, and paleoclimatology. 

Dr. Krystinik has been an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer in North America and Latin America and he is a past President of both SEPM and AAPG

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Princeton University - Geology
Past President of AAPG and SEPM

Courses Taught
N011: High Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy: Reservoir Applications (Utah, USA)
N027: Reservoir Sedimentology & Stratigraphy of Continental Clastic Systems (Wyoming, USA)
N042: Reservoir Sedimentology & Stratigraphy of Coastal and Shelfal Successions: Deltas, Shorelines and Origins of Isolated Sandstones (NW Colorado, USA)
N244: Clastic Reservoir Prediction Using Advanced Sequence Stratigraphic Interpretation (Wyoming, USA)
N407: Predicting Reservoir and Petroleum Systems in Rifts and Extensional Basins (New Mexico & Colorado, USA)
N451: Practical Oil-Finders Guide to Siliciclastic Sequence Stratigraphy (Wyoming)
N463: Geological Drivers for Tight-Oil and Unconventional Plays in the Powder River Basin and Applications to Other Basins (Wyoming, USA)


Andy Pulham

Dr. Andy Pulham has more than 35 years of industrial and academic experience. Since early 2005 Andy has been constructing his own consulting and training company and alliances. He has consulted in South America, USA, Europe and Africa.

After graduating, Andy spent 12 years with BP Exploration as a Petroleum Sedimentologist and for BP worked in NW Europe, North America and South America. Highlights in Andy’s industrial career have been regional studies in the Jurassic of the North Sea and the Cenozoic of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and the appraisal of the Cusiana Field in Colombia. From 1995-2001 Andy was Principal Investigator for Reservoir Geology at the Energy and Minerals Applied Research Center in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado. While in Colorado, Andy conducted research into the production characteristics of marginal marine siliciclastic oil and gas reservoirs and alluvial architecture in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. Subsurface projects were drawn from the Americas, Europe and Papua New Guinea. In 2001 Andy gained an appointment as the Canada Research Chair in Petroleum Geosciences in the Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland and taught undergraduate and graduate petroleum geology and sedimentology and advised graduate students in subsurface reservoir, seismic stratigraphy and outcrop sedimentology projects. Andy left academia in 2003 and joined Nautilus USA as VP of Geoscience and acted as the senior technical liaison and technical manager for the Geoscience Training Alliance in North America.

Andy’s primary interests are clastic sedimentology and stratigraphy. Andy’s portfolio of geoscience training classes now number eleven schools and include deepwater clastics, marginal marine and deltas, play fairway analysis and exploration prospecting and petroleum systems.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University College of Wales, Swansea - Geology
BSc University of Liverpool, England - Physical Geography and Geology
AAPG - Member
SEPM - Member
IAS - Member
RMAG - Member

Courses Taught
N087: Play Fairway Analysis & Exploration Prospecting
N009: Sedimentology, Stratigraphy & Reservoir Geology of Deepwater Clastic Systems (County Clare, Ireland)
N011: High Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy: Reservoir Applications (Utah, USA)
N042: Reservoir Sedimentology & Stratigraphy of Coastal and Shelfal Successions: Deltas, Shorelines and Origins of Isolated Sandstones (NW Colorado, USA)
N115: High Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy: Application to Deltaic Systems and Reservoirs  (County Clare Ireland)
N570: Deepwater Clastic Systems - Processes, Products, Architectural Elements and Strategies for E&P

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.