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Applied Concept Of Structural Geology


The course is designed to provide participants with a working knowledge of structural geology, the geometry of the major structures and the techniques used to evaluate them within the petroleum industry. The aim of the course is to give the participant the necessary skills to undertake a detailed structural evaluation of a geological dataset and to understand its relevance to each part of the exploration and production life cycle. The format is one of short lectures and extensive practical workshop sessions using geological maps, cross sections, seismic time and depth images, satellite Landsat imagery, outcrop photographs, analysis of orientation data and geometrical reconstructions. Wherever possible the course will include field visits to demonstrate relevant structural concepts. The course will cover plate tectonics, folding, faulting, extensional tectonics, compressional tectonics, inversion, wrench (strike-slip) tectonics and salt tectonics. Datasets will be focused on those tectonic regimes in which the world’s oil reserves are concentrated.



1. Introduction to structural geology
An overview of what structural geology is and the application of structural geology to hydrocarbon exploration, production and development.

2. Introduction to Geomechanics
Stress and strain. Regional and local stress fields. Stress measurements. Borehole breakout and hydraulic fracturing. Lithospheric and hydrostatic states of stress. Role of pore fluid pressure. Changes in rock properties with depth. Brittle and ductile deformation in low and high porosity rocks. Homogeneous grained rock deformation.

3. Plate tectonics
Plate tectonic theory and the evidence for plate tectonics. The composition and rheological properties of the Earth’s plates. The different types of plate boundaries. Plate reconstructions throughout the Earth’s history. The driving forces for plate tectonics. Tectonic settings for sediment accumulation and petroleum provinces.

4. Faulting and folding
Fault terminology and definition. The effects of principal stresses on faulting. Fold terminology, classification and definition. The formation of folds. Describing folds and faults. Map interpretation and cross section construction. Gravitational tectonics. The effect of pore fluid pressures on faulting and folding.

5. Compressional tectonics
The development and geometry of thrust faults and their control on fold type. The development of crustal duplexes and imbricate fans. Cross section validation using balancing and restoration techniques. Recognition of folds and reverse faults on seismic cross sections and maps. Cross section construction techniques to interpret sub-surface structure using incomplete data. Mountain belt and foreland basin formation.

6. Extensional tectonics
The development and geometry of normal faults. Geometry of extensional faults in 2 and 3 dimensions. Rift systems. Effects of deposition and subsidence for basin modelling. Recognition of normal faults on seismic cross sections and maps. Analogue modelling of extensional faults. Lithospheric stretching models. Fault seal analysis and the implications for hydrocarbon migration.

7. Wrench (strike-slip) tectonics
Tectonic settings of strike-slip faults. Strike-slip fault geometries: flower structures, pop-up structures, pull-apart basins, releasing and restraining bends. Recognition of strike-slip faults on seismic cross sections and maps. Analogue modelling of strike-slip faults. Fault damage zones. Potential hydrocarbon trapping geometries in strike-slip regions.

8. Salt tectonics
Physical properties of salt and shale. The development and geometries of salt structures. Recognition of salt structures on seismic cross sections and maps. Effect of salt structure development on sedimentary deposition. Models for salt sheet growth. Salt control of extensional and compressional structures during gravity spreading within passive margins. Shale tectonics: mud diapirs and mud volcanoes.

9. Inversion tectonics
Positive and negative inversion. Recognition of inversion structures on seismic cross sections and maps. Geometry of inversion structures in 2 and 3 dimensions. Interpretation of structural data to determine the tectonic history of an area. Analogue modelling of inversion. Potential hydrocarbon trapping geometries caused by inversion structures.

The course is aimed at all geologists, explorationists and seismic interpreters involved in exploration, appraisal and development.




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Lunch + 2 X Coffee Break




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