Why are field trips critical to subsurface training?

Dr Stuart Archer explains how field-based training provides unique learning opportunities for the training and development of subsurface professionals.

1 minute

1st March 2021

Field trips are a vital part of subsurface professional development

In the last few years, technology such as high resolution 3D seismic imagery and down-hole data from wells and boreholes provides a level of detail that was unimaginable a few decades ago.

This data can provide opportunities for sophisticated interpretations of the subsurface geology.  But there are also limitations. For example, 3D seismic resolution is limited to tens of metres vertically and horizontally and borehole data provides detail at the sub-metre scale, but only in close proximity to the borehole, making it essentially 1D.  The limitations of seismic and borehole data become apparent when attempting to create a model, conceptual or numerical, of a body of rock that may be an oil or gas prospect or field.  The only way to conceptualise possible reservoir characteristics across large volumes of rock is to use analogues from outcrops of comparable depositional and/or structural settings.

Geoscientists who see geological features in the field come away with a better understanding of the processes that produced them and are thus better equipped to interpret subsurface data.

Direct links can be made between what can be seen on a seismic scale, and the scale of an outcrop.  Seeing outcrops on a field course that focus on the characteristics of a particular depositional system provides a reality-check on reservoir models.

Ensuring that professional development budgets are delivering a return on investment is increasingly important. While it is recognised that technical skills and capability development are still valued in the industry, the importance of field-based training compared with less costly training methods has come under increased scrutiny.

At RPS we believe that the training lessons learned in the field are invaluable and that field trips are still on the critical path to subsurface success!


"The best geologist is the one who has seen the most rocks"

Herbert Harold Read, 1940


Listen to Dr Stuart Archer speak about field courses

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