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Deepwater Depositional Systems: Processes and Products

AAPG Virtual Masterclass

Occurred Tuesday, 16 March 2021, 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  |  Virtual Short Course via Zoom (Bogota, Colombia time)

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Who Should Attend

This masterclass is designed for employees of all ages exploring for oil and gas resources in deepwater depositional systems, both onshore and offshore. The content and interactive format will benefit professionals engaged in technical to management positions.


Modern outcrops and subsurface data sets provide a mapping opportunity to characterize deep water depositional systems from shelf edge to basin plain. This includes observations of the grain- to basin-scale framework and key stratigraphic surfaces that subdivide the basin-fill.

Analysis from recent mapping campaigns (2009-2020) from more than 20 stratigraphic intervals in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific yields the following insights:

  1. The range and variability in deep-water siliciclastic conventional petroleum reservoirs includes deposits resulting from transport and deposition via fluid turbulence, matrix strength and a combination of those two mechanisms.
  2. Sediment distribution patterns in the deep sea are controlled by several key factors including various aspects of grain size and sediment volume, gradient, accommodation and overall basin type.
  3. Sub-bed-scale, semi-quantitative analysis of sedimentary fabric ratios commonly gleaned from core and image logs reveals critical information on bulk rock volume, net: gross and porosity to help determine stock tank original oil in place (STOOIP).
  4. Sedimentary provenance and source-to-sink routing systems are intimately linked to overall reservoir presence and reservoir quality in fine-grained turbidite reservoirs.
  5. Downslope sediment gravity flow behavior can be used to calibrate and understand the predictive attributes in deep-water reservoir type from canyon head to basin plain.

The Deepwater Depositional Systems masterclass includes an overview of the mapping campaigns and new observations on sediment gravity flows, their processes of transport and sedimentation, and their bearing on oil and gas exploration and development in deepwater depositional systems.

Content incorporates observations from passive margins including faulted slopes and ponded mini-basins, and active margins including foreland, forearc, back-arc, strike-slip, intracratonic and hybrid basins.

Course Content

The Deepwater Depositional Systems masterclass includes a field-based analysis of the range and variation in deep-water siliciclastic conventional petroleum reservoirs.

The course explores new themes in petroleum reservoir research and applications, current solutions for classic reservoir challenges and the relevance of technical challenges to exploration, appraisal and development drilling programs.

The material questions the turbidite reservoir paradigm established since the 1960s and provides a route to modern solutions.

Key questions to be addressed
  1. What is the range and variability in the types of deep-water clastic conventional petroleum reservoirs?
  2. What are the key factors determining sediment distribution patterns in the deep sea?
  3. How can first principles of deep-water sedimentology and stratigraphy be used to a company’s advantage when determining depositional environment, and, in turn, bulk rock volume, net to gross and porosity as part of the original oil in place equation?
  4. What is the role played by sedimentary routing systems in determining the overall quality of deep-water turbidite reservoirs?
  5. How can we as an industry simultaneously and at various scales observe sediment gravity flows and their deposits to inform business decisions?
Participant Outcomes

Upon completion of the masterclass, participants will have an improved ability to characterize and interpret deepwater stratigraphy and reservoirs.

The course provides an added benefit for corporate teams, as content will help them to mature exploration concepts in areas of interest and as well as aid in the development decisions of existing fields.

Insights gained during the session will enable subsurface teams to characterize and rank the value of their projects in other regions and on a global scale.

Course modules
  1. Introduction to deepwater depositional systems
  2. Sediment transport and depositional processes
  3. Deepwater facies models
  4. Deepwater depositional environments and sub-environments
Jon R. Rotzien
Emily Smith Llinás AAPG Latin America & Caribbean Region Manager
Diana Ruiz Vásquez AAPG Latin America & Caribbean Region Events Coordinator
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