N007 Seismic and Sequence Stratigraphy for Play Prediction and Basin Analysis

Course Facts

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


This course delivers the fundamental techniques and methods of seismic and sequence stratigraphic analysis to use in reservoir prediction for basin analysis and play mapping. Through highly interactive practical exercises, participants learn how to apply these principles to predict reservoir presence and quality in space and time. The regional scale of investigation employed in this course will equip participants with new perspectives for integration into exploration workflows. Idenitifcation of new plays or play extensions/re-delineation are the key deliverables that will add value to projects.

Duration and Training Method

This is a five-day classroom course in which teaching is conducted in an informal manner with introductory talks followed by practical exercises. Participants working individually and in teams are encouraged to discuss their interpretations and much of the learning comes from debating alternative models. Data sets are derived from exploration case histories coming from a variety of different geological settings world-wide.

Participants will learn how to:

    1. Evaluate regional basin-scale seismic sections, defining significant boundaries, megasequences, key geological intervals and construct plays without the aid of well control.
    2. Assemble chronostratigraphic charts to describe stratigraphic evolution, making use of concepts and techniques which utilise marine/coastal onlap patterns, transgressive and regressive cycles and the recognition/prediction of depositional facies changes.
    3. Characterise the tectonic and stratigraphic signatures of different basin types and communicate their respective potential for generating and trapping hydrocarbons.
    4. Perform predictive sequence stratigraphy: the Exxon model and variants, relative sea-level changes, sequence boundaries maximum flooding surfaces, systems tracts etc. in both clastic and carbonate systems.
    5. Appraise sequences and system tracts on seismic data and well logs for use in predicting reservoir, source and seal variations and identifying stratigraphic trapping potential in different basins.
    6. Appraise tectono-stratigraphic variation in basins containing salt, carbonates and mixed systems, defining typical plays and risks.
    7. Evaluate and communicate to others the errors induced by unjustified section flattening, poorly applied datuming and misinterpretation of isopach maps.
    8. Perform Acreage Assessment: in a "Quick Look setting", defining plays and risks, qualitatively ranking each identified play according to hydrocarbon potential.

    An understanding of sequence stratigraphic concepts is fundamental to synthesising and predicting play configurations and reservoir development. This course will illustrate this through a mixture of predominantly seismic-based exercises and supporting lectures. The emphasis will be on the application of techniques in play and prospect analysis, not on jargon or the support of one sequence stratigraphic model over another.

    This course covers the following: seismic reflections and bedding, reflection terminations, seismic surfaces, seismic facies, chronostratigraphy and chronostratigraphic diagrams, sequence models, the importance of relative sea-level, identification of sequence boundaries, systems tracts, age-dating fault movement, isopachs and subsidence relationships, basin types, megasequences, sequence stacking geometries in differing basin types and characteristic plays, play prediction, “subtle trap” identification, play fairway mapping and play element risking.

    Following this course, attendees will be able to:

    • Understand the principles of Seismic and Sequence Stratigraphy and apply them to the interpretation of seismic data and wire-line logs.
    • Use seismic data and well information to decipher basin evolution.
    • Generate and risk plays using regional data and geological models.
    • Present their ideas to others.

    Day 1:

    • A) Introduction (Talk)
      -Format, content, aims and objectives of course
    • B) Seismic Reflections (Talk)
      -Seismic ‘approximating’ gross bedding therefore timelines
      -Seismic surfaces
      -Reflection terminations and terminology
    • Regional Seismic Line 24 (Exercise)
      -Key surfaces define packages
      -Compare interpretations
      -Make geological interpretation
      -Predict lithologies
      -Plays and Risks
    • C) Chronostratigraphy (Talk)
      -Surfaces facies changes, diachroneity/synchronicity
      -Marine/coastal onlap, coastal onlap and sea-level
      -Quantitative chronostratigraphy
      -Examples and howlers of chronostratigraphic diagrams
    • Chronostrat. Chart Construction (Exercise)
      -Six schematic cartoon exercises to demonstrate concepts and techniques

    Day 2:

    • Chronostrat of Regional Line 24 (Exercise)
      -Construct chart from previously interpreted regional seismic line
      -Age of faulting
    • D) Basin Classification (Talk)
      -Rift, foreland, strike-slip, passive margin etc.
      -Subsidence/sediment supply characteristics
      -Megasequences and megasequence boundaries
    • Regional Seismic Line 50Tn (Exercise)
      -Megasequence boundaries and basin types
      -Interpretation of plays/risks
    • Regional Seismic Line 8 (Exercise)
      -Megasequence boundaries and basin evolution
      -Seismic facies signatures
      -Interpretation of source rock reservoir seals

    Day 3:

    • E) Sequence Stratigraphy (Talk)
      -The Exxon model
      -Relative Sea-level and shelfal accommodation
      -Sequence Boundaries and Flood surfaces
      -Systems Tracts
      -How to recognise sequence boundaries on seismic
    • Sesimic Plate 38 and Regional Line Q (Exercise)
      -Pick key surfaces
      -Use model to identify maximum floods and sequence boundaries
      -Colour up systems tracts
      -Discuss plays and risks
    • Regional Seismic Line 69 (Exercise)
      -Pick key surfaces
      -Identify maximum floods and sequence boundaries
      -Colour up systems tracts
      -Discuss plays and risks
    • F) Sequence Characteristics and Basin Type (Exercise)
      -Compare and contrast previous two lines and basins
      -Play characteristics of foreland basins
      -Play characteristics of uplifted rift margin

    Day 4:

    • When Did the Fault Move? (Exercise)
      -Deduce tectonic history from well logs
      -Which is the “right” answer? Messages, lessons learned
    • G) Sequence Stratigraphy and Well Logs (Talk) 
      -How to recognise sequences and systems tracts on well logs
      -Pitfalls of log interpretation
    • Regional Well Correlation (Exercise)
      -Identify surfaces and systems tracts in Well B
      -Repeat for wells A-D
      -Correlate wells
      -Which is proximal and which is distal?
      -How do the sequences stack? What are the plays?
      -Predict where stratigraphic traps might be?

    Day 5:

    • H) Carbonate Systems (Talk)
      -Barrier reefs, platforms, atolls etc.
      -Belize, Bahamas and Maldives
      -Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphy
      -Sediment partitioning
    • I) Where Is The Basin? (Talk and Exercise)
      -Section Flattening Issues.
      -Inferences from Isopachs.
      -Common Pitfalls
    • J) Tectono-Stratigraphic Case Histories (Exercises)
      -Global Examples of conventional hydrocarbon plays in different geological settings
      -Class interpretations followed by discussions on possible plays and traps
    • K) Course Quiz (Exercise)
    • L) Course Summary (Talk)

    -Participants Feedback and Conclusion (Open Forum)

    Who should attend

    Graduate-level geoscientists who require a working knowledge of stratigraphic principles applied to play fairway analysis, basin analysis and reservoir prediction. Experienced geoscientists who wish to refresh their knowledge of these principles in the application of subsurface analysis and prediction. Managers, team leaders or non-geoscience disciplines involved in Exploration could benefit from exposure to these concepts.

    Prerequisites and linking courses

    There are no prerequisites for this course. However, those wishing to attend are expected to have a basic working knowledge of fundamental geological concepts.

    Those looking to supplement their sequence stratigraphic knowledge gained in this course can attend Skilled Application Level sequence stratigraphic field courses including N011 (High Resolution Sequence Stratigraphy: Reservoir Applications (Utah, USA)) and N514 (Shelf Margin Shallow-Marine Deltaic to Deepwater Turbidites: Sequence Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (Wyoming, USA)).

    Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

    George Bertram

    Related Subjects

    Excellent course and presentation of material. High-value outcomes with direct application to exploration and petroleum geology.