N305 Core Facies Analysis for Resource Plays

Event Facts

6 - 10 Dec. 2021
Event Code:
5 days
Gus Gustason
Booking Status:
Good Availability
USD $5,160 (Exclusive of tax)

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
4.0 Continuing Education Units
40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


Business Impact: Participants attending this workshop will learn and practice core description techniques and work flows useful for reservoir characterization and exploration projects in conventional and unconventional resource plays.

This course teaches the fundamentals of core description and core facies analysis of siliciclastic and mixed carbonate-siliciclastic depositional systems. The course takes place in a core research library and a core storage facility in the Denver area.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day workshop comprising approximately 25% classroom lectures and 75% hands-on core description exercises.

Participants will learn to:

  1. Properly lay out, orient, and mark core for description and sampling.
  2. Identify and interpret the important physical and biological parameters of core, including sedimentary structures, biogenic structures, significant surfaces, and diagenetic textures, from a wide variety of clastic depositional environments and reservoir types (conventional and unconventional).
  3. Examine and describe basic structural features in cores, including faults and fractures, and relate them to mechanical stratigraphy, in situ stresses, and borehole stability issues.
  4. Integrate routine core analysis and/or unconventional shale and tight rock analysis with core descriptions to better understand the controls on porosity and permeability.
  5. Compare and calibrate core descriptions and wire line log data, including image logs.
  6. Discretize core descriptions for core-to-log facies analysis and reservoir modeling input.
  7. Select appropriate outcrop analogs.
  8. Integrate all the above data into a comprehensive, sequence stratigraphic study.

A core facies analysis is the foundation for understanding subsurface sedimentary geology. Core-based sequence stratigraphic studies have consistently yielded new interpretations of exploration plays and mature oil and gas fields which, in turn, have led to new field discoveries and/or discoveries of stratigraphic compartments within existing fields.

The course uses core examples from both conventional and unconventional reservoirs, including non-marine, coastal plain, shoreline, shelf, and offshore marine environments. Specific examples include:

  1. Non-marine deposits of the Jurassic Salt Wash Formation from the San Juan Basin.
  2. Nearshore and coastal plain deposits of the Cretaceous Mesaverde Group from the Uinta, Piceance, and Greater Green River basins.
  3. Nearshore and valley-fill deposits of the Lower Cretaceous Muddy (J) Sandstone from the Powder River and Denver basins.
  4. Shelf sandstone deposits of the Frontier, Shannon, and Sussex sandstones from the Powder River Basin.
  5. Deepwater deposits of the Lewis Shale from the Greater Green River basin Mixed siliciclastic and carbonate pelagic and hemipelagic deposits of the Niobrara Formation from the Denver Basin and the Marcellus Formation from the Appalachian Basin.

Hands-on demonstrations and exercises will introduce participants to core handling, description, and data integration techniques. Lectures are designed to introduce or re-familiarize participants with lithofacies and facies associations including alluvial fan deposits, braided stream deposits, meandering stream deposits, avulsion, alluvial architecture within a sequence stratigraphic framework, deltaic deposits, strand plain and barrier island deposits, valley-fill deposits, shelf deposits, deepwater deposits, hemi-pelagic and pelagic marine deposits. Lectures also describe applications of core-facies analysis to reservoir characterization.

Itinerary: Days 1 through 4 will be held at the US Geological Survey’s Core Research Center in Lakewood (immediately west of Denver). Day 5 will be at the Triple O Slabbing facility in Denver.

Topic 1

  • Introduction to coring, core handling, core description basics

Topic 2

  • Continental and coastal plain deposits

Topic 3

  • Near shore, shelf, and deepwater marine deposits

Topic 4

  • Valley-fill deposits

Topic 5

  • Pelagic and hemi-pelagic marine deposits

Who should attend

This workshop will benefit geoscientists, reservoir engineers, and petrophysicists who want to extract maximum value from cores to improve reservoir characterization and exploration play analysis.

Prerequisites and linking courses

This course assumes that participants have a basic knowledge of clastic and carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, such as presented in N020 (Carbonate Depositional Systems: Reservoir Sedimentology and Diagenesis) and N155 (Introduction to Clastic Depositional Systems: a Petroleum Perspective).

Gus Gustason

Edmund R. “Gus” Gustason is a senior staff geologist and geoscience advisor with Enerplus Resources (USA) Corporation in Denver, Colorado. Gus worked as a geologist for Research Planning Institute (RPI) International during the 80s while he continued his research on the Dakota; eventually receiving his PhD from CU Boulder in 1989. He then worked for BP Alaska (1989-1996), Schlumberger Reservoir Technologies (1996-2001), EnCana (2001-2005), El Paso Exploration and Production (2005-2010) and, now Enerplus Resources (2010 to present). 

Gus is particularly interested in core- and outcrop-based facies analyses and sequence stratigraphic evaluations of oil- and gas-producing formations.  He has more than 20 years of experience with exploration, appraisal and development of conventional reservoirs in the US Rockies, Alaska, and South America and more than 10 years of experience evaluating and developing unconventional shale gas, tight oil and tight gas plays, including the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Appalachian Basin, Niobrara and Mowry formations in several Rocky Mountain basins, the Mesaverde Formation in the Uinta Basin, Iles and Williams Fork formations in the Piceance Basin, J Sandstone (Muddy) and Codell Sandstone in the Denver Basin, Almond Formation in the Greater Green River Basin, and Wall Creek/Turner sandstones in the Powder River Basin. He also teaches a graduate-level course on core facies analysis at CU Boulder.

Gus and his wife, Leslie, live in Boulder, Colorado and spend much of their free time skiing, biking, hiking, backpacking, climbing mountains, and walking around the Colorado Plateau and the Rocky Mountains with eyes wide open.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Colorado
MSc Northern Arizona University
BSc Humboldt State University

Courses Taught
N305: Core Facies Analysis for Conventional and Resource Plays
N367: Hydrocarbon Plays in a Nearshore-to-Offshore Foreland Basin Transect (Utah and Colorado, USA)

Alternative Dates for this Course

Related Subjects

Overall great course. I enjoyed working with so much core.