Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Clastics

Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy and Reservoir Architecture of Paralic Deposits (Utah, USA)

Course Code: N035
Instructors:  Mike BoylesKeith Shanley
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
6 days


This course focuses on predicting reservoir facies in shallow marine and coastal plain strata using a practical sequence stratigraphic approach. Parasequences in both high and low accomadation settings are studied from their updip to downdip limits in order to better understand how to use concepts of sediment supply and accommodation to make stratigraphic predictions. Emphasis is placed on recognition and correlation of key surfaces and prediction of reservoir geometry within that framework. 


Excellent course, I learned loads on this course and feel much more confident in my future ability to use sequence stratigraphy and in evaluating paralic deposits.

Duration and Training Method

A seven-day field class. Tutors employ the technique of guided discovery where delegates work in teams to make observations and interpretations and present their results to the other teams. A summary discussion by the tutors provides a process role model and ensures that everyone understands the key lessons learned. The course is conducted principally in the field (80% of course time), with morning discussions and presentations (15%) on some days, and a core viewing session (5%).

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Assess the sedimentology of key paralic facies in outcrop and on wireline logs.
  2. Evaluate critical surfaces (flooding surfaces and sequence boundary unconformities) in outcrop, core, and well log data.
  3. Formulate more realistic subsurface correlations that result in better reservoir geometry representation.
  4. Propose stratigraphic barriers and baffles that segregate reservoir facies.
  5. Assess parasequence stacking patterns to assist with well correlations and reservoir prediction.
  6. Evaluate up-dip to down-dip stratigraphic variations in wave dominated deltaic deposits.
  7. Assess the likelihood of down-dip reservoirs in untested structures.
  8. Compose interpretations of reservoir systems from subsurface data.

The course addresses production-scale stratigraphic questions:

  • How to identify stratigraphic surfaces that segregate reservoir facies
  • Reservoir correlation
  • When and where to expect flow barriers and baffles

The course addresses exploration-scale stratigraphic questions:

  • How to use parasequence stacking patterns to assist with well correlations
  • Predicting likelihood of down-dip reservoirs in untested structures

The tutors aim to challenge the way people think about paralic stratigraphy and give them deterministic approaches to analyze subsurface well data. Lessons are drawn from world-class outcrops in the Book Cliffs of Utah and Colorado (fluvial to wave dominated deltaic and incised valley fi ll deposits) to demonstrate common exploration and production scale subsurface situations. The class provides stratigraphic insights to well correlation that allow for more accurate predictions of reservoir distribution in both high and low accommodation settings and provide criteria for assigning risk to the interpretations.

This seminar goes beyond simple facies recognition to giving people skills that allow them to use models to make risk-based predictions of reservoir geometries.

Day 0:
Arrive in Grand Junction, CO and attend evening orientation lectures. Night in Grand Junction, CO.

Day 1:
Morning lectures on geology of the Western Interior Seaway and introduction to deltaic depositional systems. Drive to Price, UT with stops along the way to view the geology. Field stop in Price to look at facies associated with wave dominated deltas. Night in Price, UT.

Day 2:
Morning lectures on deltaic depositional systems and introduction to sequence stratigraphy. Field stops demonstrate up-dip to down-dip stratigraphic variations in wave dominated deltaic stratigraphy. Focus on how to correlate parasequences through the identification of fl ooding surfaces. View of the landward pinch-out of a parasequence and discuss the means by which parasequences terminate and the implications for reservoir correlations. Night in Price, UT.

Day 3:
Morning lectures on sequence stratigraphy and identifi cation of sequence boundaries. Demonstrate how to use sequence stratigraphy to understand subsurface correlation through the application of stratigraphic modelling. Classroom exercises emphasize stratigraphic principles and how to use subsurface stacking patterns to predict reservoir distribution and the occurrence of sequence boundaries. Night in Price, UT.

Day 4:
Describe a vertical section and use stacking patterns to make predictions about the down-dip extent of reservoirs. Then use continuous 3D outcrops exposures (6 miles depositional strike by 9 miles depositional dip) to check predictions and to discuss and demonstrate common correlation pitfalls. Night in Green River, UT.

Day 5:
Use outcrop exercises to demonstrate both field and well scale stratigraphic relationships associated with incised valleys and sequence boundaries. Discuss expectations concerning reservoir continuity within incised valley fills compared to marine sandstones. Reinforce learnings by identifying incised valley fills with subsurface correlation exercises. Night in Green River, UT.

Day 6:
Use several outcrop exercises to trace incised valley fills down depositional dip. Discuss importance of incised valleys for reservoir prediction within a field and for the identification of down-dip reservoirs for new exploration plays. Night in Grand Junction, CO.

Day 7:
Morning core workshop viewing examples seen throughout the week in outcrop followed by an afternoon wrap-up session. Night in Grand Junction, CO or return home, depending on flight schedules.

Day 8:
Participants depart Grand Junction, CO anytime.

Members of integrated asset teams charged with the task of working in fluvial and shallow marine reservoir environments. The course is designed for geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers and works especially well for geologist/reservoir engineer teams from the same business unit.

Mike Boyles

• Sequence stratigraphy and clastic depositional systems research utilizing seismic, logs, cores and outcrops.
• Oil and gas exploration projects – Rocky Mountains, Gulf of Mexico, China, Middle East, North Sea, Australia
• Construction of static reservoir models for production reservoir simulation
• Field based training seminars – Fluvial and coastal depositional systems
• Technical specialist and mentor

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Texas - Geology
BSc Colorado School of Mines - Geological Engineering

Courses Taught
N035: Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy & Reservoir Architecture of Paralic Deposits (Utah, USA)
N117: Shoreline & Shelf Reservoir Systems: Outcrop Lessons for Exploration & Production (NW Colorado, USA)


Keith Shanley

Keith has gained more than 20 years successful career experience in the oil and gas industry in exploration, development, and research.  He has worked a variety of sedimentary basins around the world including: Rocky Mountain region, Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, North Slope of Alaska, onshore and offshore Gulf of Mexico, Neuquen Basin of Argentina, offshore Surinam, Venezuela foreland basins, East China Sea, offshore West Africa, western Siberia basin in Russia, and Barmer Basin, India.

Keith has demonstrated expertise in: sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of siliciclastics, reservoir description, petrophysics, analysis of unconventional resource systems, and risk analysis. He has demonstrated ability to develop new concepts in geoscience with examples in fluvial architectural analysis, reservoir description, and unconventional reservoirs. Keith has extensive experience leading multi-disciplinary work teams. He is able to establish realistic, relevant, and significant goals and to focus team efforts on areas of maximum value. He has experience in conventional petroleum and natural gas resource evaluation, exploration, and development as well as ‘unconventional’ resources such as tight-gas, coalbed methane, and oil shales. He has extensive experience in risk analysis, portfolio analysis, and the integration of technical analysis with business analysis.

Keith has an outgoing personality and effective oral and written communication with both professional and nonprofessional staff. He is able to work well with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. He is well organized and decisive. Keith is widely regarded as an excellent teacher.

Keith has an extensive record of publication with a well established record of citation. He is the author / co-author of 20 referred papers, more than 50 abstracts, and 24 internal reports. He is also editor / co-editor of 11 special publications and volumes and 3 guidebooks

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Geology with an academic minor in Geophysics

Courses Taught
N035: Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy & Reservoir Architecture of Paralic Deposits (Utah, USA)

CEU: 4.8 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 48 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.