Sequence Stratigraphy of Unconventional Resource Plays

Course Details

Course Description

This course is designed for geoscientists that work or intend to work on unconventional resource plays. Systematically the course introduces participants to the basic sedimentology of unconventional reservoirs and then covers sequence stratigraphic applications. It is assumed that participants already have a working knowledge of sequence stratigraphy and are familiar with sequence analysis on core and well-logs. We do not recommend this as a first-time introduction to sequence stratigraphy and strongly urge you to enroll in the Applied Sequence Stratigraphy course first.

Due to the homogeneous nature and limited thickness of most unconventional resource plays, seismic has very limited applicability. Therefore this is not a Seismic Stratigraphy course and the bulk of our time will be investigating these reservoirs using well logs (including borehole image logs), core and thin-sections. Each day of the course will be devoted to one play type with case-studies from popular oil and gas fields within North America.

The instructor will provide a small collection of well logs and core photos, but we strongly urge participants to bring paper copies of their own data to work on. These data will not be shared with anyone and the instructor will only review the work done by participants.

The course is divided into 4 days of lecturing and a 1-day core workshop on unconventional resource plays. Usually we use the Bakken and Three Forks Formations to illustrate the practice of sequence analysis, if however all participants happen to work a different play type, we will be glad to arrange the last day’s workshop to better suit your learning objectives.


This is an upper level, work-intensive course that assumes participants have a background in sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy and sedimentology of clastic and carbonate reservoirs. The audience for the course includes geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers who are involved in creation of geomodels and horizontal well planning for geosteering. The goal presents several examples of sequence stratigraphic applications in unconventional reservoirs

Course Outline

Day 1

Review of sequence stratigraphic surfaces and systems tracts in marginal marine siliciclastic successions


Case studies from several tight oil sandstones from different Rocky Mountain Foreland Basins will be used to illustrate the role of sequence stratigraphy in horizontal well planning this includes the Frontier, Teapot, Parkman, Muddy (J-Sandstone), Gallup and Tocito.

Day 2

Review of sequence stratigraphic surfaces and systems tracts in carbonates


Case studies from carbonate mudrock reservoirs of the Permian Basin including the Avalon, Wolfcamp, Bone Springs and Spraberry.

Day 3

Case studies from carbonate mudrock reservoirs of the Williston Basin including the Bakken and Three Forks


Introduction to mudrock sequence stratigraphy

Day 4

Sequence stratigraphy of mixed-carbonate-silciclastic successions


Case studies from salt-encased sandstones of the Paradox Formation

Day 5

Core workshop (Bakken and Three Forks) at the Denver USGS - if this course is run outside the US then the final day focuses on client projects.

Question and answer session.

This course is scheduled from Aug 31st - Sept 4th in Denver, Colorado. The version taught in Denver includes a 1-day core workshop on the sequence stratigraphy of unconventional resource plays.