This field course aims at teaching sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy at an introductory level and illustrate how this can and should be used as a powerful tool both in reservoir description and prediction at various scales. The course will start with the basics and gradually introduce complexity. The days will typically include both introduction/teaching, group work in the field, presentations and summary. The course aims to teach the methodology of sequence stratigraphy through observation-based descriptions of the rocks and covers fluvial and shallow marine depositional realms. The course is not a “show and tell” type of trip; it will require the participation of both instructors and students. As such, students will be required to introduce a historical project of their choice that summarizes the stratigraphic challenges that they faced at the time. On conclusion of the school, it is of paramount importance that the students are able to work on stratigraphic projects with a sufficient degree of independence and confidence.

We will be working in the world class Book Cliffs of Utah and Colorado, which has been extensively used over the years for generic studies and as field analogues for many global petroleum systems. The field course starts in the western part of the Book Cliffs and we will gradually be moving eastwards to end up in the easternmost Book Cliffs. The west to east journey broadly follows the regional depositional dip trend from proximal to distal. Once a understanding of the shallow marine architecture has been established, the school will revert to the most proximal settings to relate fluvial architecture to the established shallow marine architecture. The underlying objective is to understand the varying scales of heterogeneity that sedimentary systems exhibit in order to make informed predictions regarding reservoir properties.

Emphasis will be on 3 key observations that can be made from any geologic data:
 1. Lithofacies & Lithofacies Associations
 2. Vertical Stacking
 3. Stratal Geometries and  Terminations
These observations will be placed in the context of the lateral movement of the shoreline through time (transgression and regression) and shoreline trajectory (shelfal accommodation creation and destruction) but this should always be the last consideration in the process. The sequence stratigraphic framework will be based entirely on the physical relationship of strata, independent of age control and not tied to a position on a sea level curve.
The addition of interpretation should be the very final stage in the process, if required at all (e.g. climate interpretations, subsidence versus eustasy, changes in sediment flux, etc.) but there is seldom any intrinsic value to doing so! Fundamentally, the true value of sequence stratigraphy lies in a robust methodology that permits the prediction of source, seal and reservoir distributions at multiple scales with relevance to all Exploration, Development and Production workflows and for clastic, carbonate and unconventional systems.

Designed for

Geologists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers working on deep water reservoirs from exploration to production.


Vitor Abreu, PhD
Consultant, ACT-Geo

Headshot Vitor Formal

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Limit 25 persons max per workshop. 

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