Oil & Gas Training
and Competency Development
Competency Management system SLB NEXT

Applied Structural Geology in Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis

This practical oriented course is intended for geologists, geophysicists, reservoir engineers and petrophysicists working in exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Having followed the course, the participants will be able to do geomechanically correct structural interpretations, understand natural fracture networks, including the formation of conduits (open fractures) and seals (sealing fractures and faults) in different tectonic regimes. The participants will be introduced to the main elements of petroleum systems and geo-mechanics, which will serve as a basis for an integrated geological approach. Examples can never give a complete picture, whereas a generic geo-mechanical approach is universally applicable. However, case histories still provide good illustration material that helps in understanding the mechanics and will also be used extensively.

Participants are encouraged to bring actual cases of their current work to the workshop for general discussion and integrated ‘hands-on’ problem solving during the workshop.

Especially seismic examples are welcome ‘fresh’ additions to the workshop material and help to focus the direction of the workshop on current on-going projects and ongoing problems of the participants.

A portable sandbox will be used for demonstration analogue modeling of the main tectonic regimes.

The course schedule is tentative and flexible, as interaction and discussion is given a high priority in this workshop.

Day 1
  • Introduction: to petroleum systems
  • The role of structures in petroleum systems

In order to create a ‘common ground’ in the group, the first day will contain fundamental aspects of structural geology and geo-mechanics and the application of this subject to general geological phenomena as encountered in the oil and gas business.

Day 2
  • Extensional tectonics: rifts, delta’s, domes and associated sedimentation patterns.
  • Theory, examples, analogue models, structural geometries and fault properties that are characteristic for extensional tectonic regimes will be treated during the morning session of day-2. Structural reservoir types and fault sealing mechanisms will be part of the material.
  • Strike-slip tectonics

Theory, case history, analogue models, seismic interpretation. Structural geometries and fault properties that are characteristic for strike-slip tectonic regimes will be treated during the afternoon of day-2. Structural reservoir types, in-situ stress analysis and fault sealing mechanisms (also in sand-sand juxtapositions) will be part of the material. The 3D nature of this tectonic setting including pitfalls and traps in structural interpretation will receive special attention

Day 3
  • Compressional tectonics: fold-and-thrust belts
  • Compressional tectonics: fault reactivation – multi-phase tectonics
  • Theory, case histories, analogue models, seismic interpretation exercise.
  • Pore pressure prediction and overpressure generation mechanisms

Structural geometries and fault properties that are characteristic for compressional tectonic regimes will be treated during the morning of day-3. Structural reservoir types and fault sealing mechanisms will be part of the material. During the afternoon session the mechanics of fault reactivation (inversion tectonics) will be discussed.

Day 4
  • Diapirs and associated structures
  • Fault sealing and top seal integrity

Aspects of salt-tectonics will be discussed during the morning of day-4. Examples from the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, interpretation exercise. The afternoon session will be used to discuss fault sealing mechanisms and approaches to evaluate top seal integrity in exploration and in production scenarios.

Day 5
  • Fracture systems: fracture mechanics, reservoir examples and outcrop examples
  • Analysis of fault and fracture systems, including fractal properties of fault and fractures and prediction of sub-seismic faults.
  • Theory, case histories, analogue models.

The morning session will be used to discuss fracture mechanics, fracture types, natural fracture systems and their influence on reservoir characteristics and production strategies

Learning activity mix

Geoscientists working in Exploration or Production and reservoir engineers with a good geoscience understanding or an interest in learning how things work.

Analogue model experiments will be used to demonstrate structural geometries associated with the three main tectonic regimes. The experimental fault models will be used to deduce rock mechanical properties of the sand and geomechanical properties of the faults.

Real case data will be used in an exercise to construct a Mohr diagram from which rock mechanical properties will be deduced.

Fault sealing will be treated in the context of local geology, regional tectonics and local geological history. Case history examples will be used to illustrate the theoretical aspects with real case results.

Fault sealing by clay smear will be explained and illustrated with a case history.

Inversion tectonics is being described frequently, but few quantitative geomechanical explanations have been published. In this course a quantitative geomechanical analysis of preferential inversion will be presented and discussed.

Fault sealing on the basis of cataclasis will be presented as a quantitative geomechanical method. This is the most advanced and most reliable fault seal prediction method that is currently available.

Exercises will be based on real cases.

For this course the participants are expected to have a working knowledge in the field of exploration and production geology. Basic structural geology knowledge is an advantage. Basic structural interpretation skills and techniques will be discussed for each tectonic regime.

Currently there are no scheduled classes for this course.

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