D520 Coastal, Deltaic and Shallow Marine Clastic Reservoir Characterisation (Distance Learning)

Event Facts

  • 9 Nov. 2020
  • 10 Nov. 2020
  • 11 Nov. 2020
  • 12 Nov. 2020
Courses consist of a series of 2-3 hour webinar sessions starting at 14:00 London and 08:00 Houston time. Any variation to this will be communicated in the courses joining instructions
Event Code:
4 sessions
Stuart Archer, Gary Nichols, Ronald Steel
Booking Status:
Good Availability
GBP £3,320 (Exclusive of tax)

Course Facts

Course Code:
2 days
Virtual Classroom
1.6 Continuing Education Units
16 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


Business Impact:  A better understanding of these depositional systems will lead to improved exploration risking of reservoir presence and quality, and add value during reservoir appraisal and development.

Clastic successions in coastal, deltaic and shallow marine settings are controlled by sediment supply characteristics, the interaction of fluvial, wave and tide processes and sequence stratigraphic context. The sandy sediment bodies that can be formed in these settings are very variable in dimensions, internal heterogeneity and connectivity resulting in a complex array of reservoir types and characteristics. A better understanding of these depositional systems can lead to improved exploration risking of reservoir presence and quality, reservoir appraisal and development.

This course uses modern and ancient analogues and a series of case studies of successful paralic fields in these depositional settings to provide a users guide to reservoir characterisation.

Duration and Training Method

A virtual classroom course divided into 4 webinar sessions, comprising lectures, discussion, case studies, and practical exercises to be completed by participants during and between sessions. 

Participants will learn to:
  1. Recognise how sediment supply and accommodation control sequencing at a large scale.
  2. Contrast how fluvial, tidal and wave processes help to determine the characteristic of coastal and deltaic successions.
  3. Interpret paralic and shallow marine successions in terms of the effect of tidal ranges and storm processes.
  4. Appreciate the controlling factors on 3D geometry and internal heterogeneity of reservoir sandstone bodies formed in these settings.
  5. Recognise how a sequence stratigraphy provides a predictive framework for the distribution of facies and stacking patterns.
  6. Understand how key characteristics of these reservoir units can be recognised in core, well-log and seismic profiles.
The principal clastic depositional systems in coastal, deltaic and shallow marine settings will be considered in terms of process controls that determine reservoir setting and characteristics. Evidence from modern depositional settings, surface exposures and subsurface data will be used to develop a framework for interpreting and predicting the sediment body geometries and internal heterogeneities of these depositional units.

Case studies from working petroleum systems from around the world in successions deposited in these settings will be used to illustrate how the data sets may be interpreted and used for predictive reservoir characterisation.

Key topics

  • Sediment supply characteristics: how the nature, volume and rates of supply of clastic material through rivers controls the form and distribution of sediment bodies in coastal and deltaic settings.
  • Sequence stratigraphy: variations in sea level, their magnitude and the effect of different bathymetric configurations impact on sediment body distributions.
  • The controls on and spatial arrangement of tidal currents that determine how sediment is redistributed at coasts, on deltas and most importantly in shallow seas.
  • The role of wave activity in shoreline settings and storm episodes in shallow seas as effects on sandstone characteristics and reservoir quality.
  • Examples of modern depositional environments that provide insights into the processes and products in these depositional settings.
  • Outcrop examples, including the use of 3D outcrop models, to illustrate sediment body geometries and depositional characteristics and provide analogues for subsurface studies.
  • Seismic, core and well-log data from case studies which provide guides to how data can be interpreted in terms of reservoir characterisation. These data will form the basis of a series of exercises that will form part of the course.

Planned Schedule


  • Introduction to paralic reservoirs and key concepts.
  • Ice breaker exercise - Delta types from google earth.
  • The importance of big rivers in the delivery of sediment to clastic shelves.

Day 2

  • Shallow marine fundamentals (1): small scale process and product, including a short exercise on facies.
  • Shallow marine fundamentals (2): large scale sequencing and allogenic controls (e.g. greenhouse vs. icehouse, high vs. low subsidence and high vs. low sediment supply), including a short exercise on sequence stratigraphy.

Day 3 - Current themes & case studies

  • Transgressive shoreline successions (Lower Cretaceous of Southern England).
  • Shallow marine reservoirs in active half grabens (Middle Jurassic of Skye), including two short exercises.
  • A comparison of delta types from the Cretaceous Interior Seaway (Cretaceous of Utah and Wyoming).

Day 4 - Current themes & case studies (continued)

  • Shelf sand ridge reservoirs generated by tides & storm waves and stratigraphic trapping potential (examples from Yellow and Celtic Seaways; recognition and application to stratigraphic record).
  • Tidal shelf sand ridges and stratigraphic trapping potential (Eocene of the Pyrenees), including a short exercise.
  • Implications for Exploration and Production
  • Summary and conclusions

Who should attend

The course is structured to appeal to all geoscientists who wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge of clastic reservoirs formed in coastal, deltaic and shallow marine settings. The course will provide an effective working knowledge of these systems for all geoscientists and provides further insights to those who require a more detailed application to subsurface projects.


Prerequisites and linking courses

There are no prerequisites for this class, although a general understanding of clastic sedimentology is assumed.

Related field courses are N011 (High Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy: Reservoir Applications (Utah, USA)), N096 (Recent Depositional and Stratigraphic Analogues for Fluvial and Shallow Marine Reservoirs (South Carolina, USA), N432 (Clastic Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development (Southern Pyrenees, Spain)),  and N499 (Shallow Marine Reservoir Analogues and their Application to the Jurassic of the North Sea (Isle of Skye and Raasay, UK)).

For those looking to apply and build upon the learnings of this course, the following courses and workshops may be of interest: D385 (Workflows for Seismic Reservoir Characterisation (Distance Learning)), D412 (A Critical Guide to Reservoir Appraisal and Development (Distance Learning)) W011 (North Sea Reservoirs Series - New Perspectives on North Sea Plays), W013 (North Sea Reservoirs Series - Devonian Reservoirs Overview), W017 (North Sea Reservoirs Series - Triassic Reservoirs Overview).

Stuart Archer

Stuart is responsible for the geoscientific content in the RPS Training portfolio. He also has a role in the marketing of RPS training products. He is based at the RPS Energy office in Woking, Surrey.

From 1996 to 2008, Stuart was employed by ConocoPhillips in Aberdeen and Houston. He held positions as an exploration geologist, working on frontier projects in the UK and Irish Atlantic Margin and the Gulf of Mexico, and as an appraisal and development geologist on the Britannia and Jasmine Fields in the Central North Sea. In 2009, Stuart took up the position of Director of exploHUB at the University of Aberdeen, which was a ground breaking training centre for hydrocarbon exploration with a teaching philosophy of learning by doing. Since 2014, Stuart has held various exploration assurance positions with Dana Petroleum, Maersk Oil and Total, most recently in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Stuart’s research interests are in the area of clastic sequence stratigraphy and emphasising its key role in the exploration and development of natural resources. Stuart is a natural integrator and enjoys working in multi-disciplinary teams. He recognises the importance of collaboration to solve complex problems and is passionate about releasing the power of teams.


Affiliations and Accreditation
Honorary Research Associate – University of Glasgow, School of Geographical & Earth Sciences
PhD University of Aberdeen
MSc University of Aberdeen - Petroleum Geology
BSc University of Glasgow - Geology and Geography

Courses Taught
D477: A Systematic Approach to Defining and Evaluating Stratigraphic and Subtle Combination Traps (Distance Learning)
D520: Coastal, Deltaic and Shallow Marine Clastic Reservoir Characterisation (Distance Learning)
N499: Shallow Marine Reservoir Analogues and their Application to the Jurassic of the North Sea (Isle of Skye and Raasay, UK)
N514: Deltaic and Shallow Marine Sequence Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (Wyoming, USA)
W011: North Sea Reservoirs Series - New Perspectives on North Sea Plays (Distance Learning)
W013: North Sea Reservoirs Series - Devonian Reservoirs Overview (Distance Learning)
W017: North Sea Reservoirs Series - Triassic Reservoirs Overview (Distance Learning)
W026: North Sea Reservoirs Series - Central North Sea (CNS) Overview (Distance Learning)

Gary Nichols

Gary is responsible for the strategy and technical operations of the company worldwide and is based at RPS Energy offices in Woking, Surrey.

Before joining RPS Energy to work with the Nautilus Training Alliance, Gary taught at Royal Holloway University of London and the University Centre on Svalbard covering undergraduate and MSc courses in Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy, Petroleum Geology and Sedimentary Basins plus MSc Petroleum Geoscience courses in Clastic sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy and Sedimentary Basin models.

Key Research Topics include clastic sedimentology and sedimentary basin analysis;  climatic and tectonic controls on sedimentation; fluvial sedimentology; basin-scale patterns of sedimentation and the architecture of basin-fill successions; endorheic basins. Field studies have been carried out in flexural basins in Spain, Greece, USA and Spitsbergen, extensional basins in Madagascar, Greece, northern Thailand, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and in arc-related settings in Antarctica, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Detailed sedimentological studies include alluvial fan and fluvial sedimentation in continental basins and the reservoir characteristics of fluvial successions. Gary has published over 100 scientific papers and a widely-used textbook 'Sedimentology and Stratigraphy'. He is currently President of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM).

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Cambridge
BSc London University, Honors
C.Geol - Chartered Geologist

Courses Taught
N108: Exploration and Geological Model Development in Fluvial Reservoirs (Pyrenees, Spain)
N155: Introduction to Clastic Depositional Systems: a Petroleum Perspective
N269: Sequence Stratigraphy and Subsurface Prediction: Methods, Limitations and New Developments (Isle of Wight, UK)
N387: Exploration and Development in Fluvio-Lacustrine Systems
N403: Reservoir Sedimentology of Fluvial - Shallow Marine Facies (Isle of Wight, UK)
N418: Tectonics, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy of Coal-Bearing Basins
N432: Clastic Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development (Southern Pyrenees, Spain)
W017: North Sea Reservoirs Series - Triassic Reservoirs Overview (Distance Learning)


Ronald Steel

Ron is a Professor at UT Austin (Emeritus from Sept. 2020) teaching Clastic Sedimentary Systems, Sequence Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis. Ron is also an Emeritus 6th-Century Professor at Aberdeen University, an Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt University and a new tutor for RPS.

Ron is PhD from the University of Glasgow and has been Professor at the University of Bergen, University of Wyoming and The University of Texas, Austin. He was also Chief Geologist at Norsk Hydro in Bergen and Oslo.

Key research topics have been to gain an understanding of the time scales, sediment delivery by deltas and other mechanisms, sediment budget partitioning and growth styles of shelves and shelf margin sedimentary prisms. Ron has published over 200 scientific papers, edited 11 books and supervised some 200 MS and PhD graduate students in Norway and the USA.

Affiliations and Accreditation
BSc & PhD, University of Glasgow
Emeritus 6th-Century Professor, University of Aberdeen                                                                                                                               Honorary Professor, Heriot-Watt University                                                                                                                                             Emeritus Davis Centennial Chair, Univesity of Texas, Austin

Courses Taught
D520: Coastal, Deltaic and Shallow Marine Clastic Reservoir Characterisation (Distance Learning)

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