Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Unconventional Resources

Shale Reservoir Workshop: Analyzing Organic-Rich Mudrocks from Basin to Nano- Scale

Course Code: N366
Instructors:  Ursula Hammes
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
5 days


This workshop focuses on rock-based interpretation of mudrocks from basin to nano-scale. Participants will learn how to use core, cuttings, geochemical, and petrophysical data to characterize mudrocks and apply mudrock depositional, sedimentological, sequence stratigraphic, geochemical and petrophysical principles to exploration areas and production assets in shale basins. Subsurface data from a variety of oil and gas shale plays will be examined.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day core workshop in Austin,Texas, comprising classroom sessions, core viewing and core descriptions exercises.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Appraise the variety of shale systems from basin to nano scale.
  2. Characterize mudrock facies and identify facies and sequences in cores and be able to tie those to well-log character.
  3. Assess and interpret geochemical data critical to understanding mudrock systems.
  4. Judge controls on source rock deposition, reservoir heterogeneities, and determine frackable intervals.
  5. Recognize and quantify the rock properties that will have an impact on completion success.

The class will utilize lectures, core examination and exercises, to address the reservoir characterization, sedimentology, facies, sequence stratigraphy, petrophysics, fractures, and geochemistry of shale-gas/oil bearing mudrocks.

Day 1: Course Overview, AM

  • Approaches to understanding the geology of shale-gas/oil plays
    • Overview of organic-rich mudrock systems
      • Carbonate-dominated systems
      • Clastic-dominated systems
      • Mud-dominated systems
    •  Factors determining organic-rich deposits
      • Paleogeography
      • Ocean chemistry
      • Climate
    • Modern examples (Cariaco Basin)

Day 1- Course Overview, PM

  • Techniques for characterization of mudrocks (overview)
      • Sedimentology
      • Sequence Stratigraphy
      • Geochemistry
      • Petrophysics
      • Seismic and Geomechanics
      • Fractures
  • Examples from different North American resource plays
    • Inter- and intrabasinal variations – examples from different shale basins (Haynesville, Barnett, Eagle Ford, Bakken, Wolfcamp)

Day 2: Course Overview, AM 

  • Interpretation of depositional environments in shale basins
    • Facies interpretations
    • Calcareous shales (Haynesville, Eagle Ford examples)
    • Siliceous shales (Barnett, Wolfcamp examples)
    • Clay-rich shales (Tuscaloosa Marine Shale; Tertiary Shale)
  • Mudrock sedimentology
    • Sedimentary structures and depositional processes
    • Exercise
  • Introduction to cores (at BEG core Facility, Austin)
    • Core interpretation guidelines
    • Core viewing: Introduction to cores at the BEG-CRC
    • Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Bossier, Bakken, Barnett, and Wolfcamp

Day 2- Course Overview, PM

  • Stratigraphic framework
    • Regional correlations and variations
    • Sequence stratigraphy (shelf to basin correlations)
    • Hands-on exercise for shelf to basin correlations
  • Core descriptions and examination

Day 3: Course Overview, AM

  • Geochemical Tools and Geochemistry Review 
    • Overview of definitions in source rock evaluation
    • Lithology
      • XRD
      • XRF
    • Organic-matter type and richness
      • Kerogen / TOC
    • Maturity
      • Rock-eval
    • Interpretation of Geochemical results – incorporating data
    • Exercise (Van Krevelen plot, chemostratigraphy)

Day 3- Course Overview, PM

  • Mudrock Diagenesis
    • Type of cements
    • Timing of paragenesis
    • Influence of diagenesis on production
  •  Core exercise: Relating geochemistry to facies and mineralogy

Day 4: Course Overview, AM

  • Reservoir characterization and reservoir quality of mudrocks
    • Porosity
      • Porosity from wire line logs
      • Porosity from core measurements
      • Porosity from SEM pictures
    • Permeability
      • Permeability measurements and pitfalls
    • Wireline log interpretation and petrophysics
  • Methods for calculating TOC from wireline logs
      •  δLogR and Multimin methods
    • Lithology, porosity and permeability modeling from wireline logs
    • Exercise identifying TOC-rich zones on logs

Day 4- Course Overview, PM

  • Seismic tools and Fractures
    • Faults, fractures, TOC, acoustic impedance, Q-factor, attribute maps, pore pressure, effective stress
    • Geocellular modeling
    • Fractures in mudrocks
      • Types of fractures
      • Control of fractures on fracs
    • Microseismic monitoring
  •  Core viewing and descriptions

Day 5: Course Overview, AM

  • Course Summary
    • Integration: evaluating and finding best shale reservoirs using learned skills
    • Course summary and take-home lessons

Day 5: Course Overview, PM

  • Optional Field trip to Eagle Ford and Austin Chalk Outcrops
    •  Walnut Creek, North Austin

Geoscientists, reservoir engineers, and managers who desire to develop a better understanding of the geological, mechanical, and chemical character of mudrock systems and how mudrock attributes vary in the context of shale gas/oil reservoir exploitation.

Ursula Hammes

Dr. Ursula Hammes is currently President of Hammes Energy & Consultants and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Geological Sciences, Texas A&M University, teaching and assessing various shale oil/gas systems. Dr. Hammes has 25+ years of experience in the oil and gas industry and academia in Europe and USA in positions ranging from exploration, development, research and management. She has provided advanced consulting in shale-gas/oil systems and has taught industry short courses and in-house training courses for oil companies.

Dr. Hammes obtained her Diploma at the University of Erlangen, Germany, and her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her graduate studies specialized in carbonate depositional environments, sequence stratigraphy, carbonate diagenesis, and rock-water interactions. Her background is diverse ranging from exploration, exploitation and business development for Anadarko Petroleum, consulting for Marathon Oil, Statoil, and various other independent oil/gas companies, conducting research in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico as Research Scientist and Principal Investigator of $3+ million projects for the State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery project, and leading research and advising students at the University of Potsdam, Germany and Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Hammes served as president of the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM (GCSSEPM), currently assists as associate editor for the AAPG Bulletin, and has been chair of many AAPG conventions and sessions. She serves as shale liquids and gas committee chair for EMD. Her research interests range from mudrock analyses to clastic and carbonate sequence stratigraphy, reservoir characterization, and sedimentology. She has published extensively in recognized sedimentologic and petroleum industry professional journals.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Colorado - Geology
MSc University of Erlangen, Germany - Geology

Courses Taught
N366: Shale Reservoir Workshop: Analysing Organic-Rich Mudrocks from Basin to Nano-Scale

CEU: 4.0 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.