Applied Structural Geology in Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis

Course Leader: Dirk Nieuwland PhD.

Overview
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 will be discussed for each tectonic regime.

This practically oriented course is intended for geologists, geophysisists, reservoir engineers and petrophysisists 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 used extensively.

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. 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.

Course Schedule

Day 1:
  • Introduction to petroleum systems
  • The role of structures in petroleum systems        
  • Fundamental aspects of structural geology and geo-mechanics and its application 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. 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.        
  • Pore pressure prediction and overpressure generation mechanisms.
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, including an 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.

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