The Daniel J. Tearpock Geoscience Certification Program aka “Geoscience Boot Camp”

Discipline: Intro & Multi-Disciplinary
Course Length (days): 60
CEUs: 23.2
Public/ In-house/ Both: Public & In-House
Who Should Attend:
This program is recommended for early career technical professionals and new hires from different engineering and geoscience disciplines such as mining, environmental geology, earthquake seismology, production engineers, drilling engineers, reservoir engineers, etc. In addition, the program is applicable for engineers and geoscience personnel from all National Oil companies who require a cost-effective, rapid means of learning and applying the fundamentals of geology, geophysics and engineering in order to become a contributing member of an exploration or development team.
The program is also applicable for multinational companies who have Production Sharing Contracts in which there are requirements or contractual training/technology transfer obligations for local, in-country personnel.
The Geoscience Certification Program is designed for geoscientists and engineers who have at least a Bachelor’s degree from a university in geology, geophysics, engineering or some other related science field. They should have a fundamental background in some aspect of the Geosciences or Petroleum Engineering.
Course Description:

Also known as the Boot Camp, this intensive 12-week training program includes six weeks of classroom courses taught by SCA’s top instructors, followed by a six-week interpretation and mapping project. Participants learn fundamental interpretation, engineering, and mapping skills, and then put those skills to the test using seismic data, well logs, and production information from an actual development prospect. During the project phase, SCA engages a team of senior-level geoscientists to serve as mentors to the participants and help guide their interpretation and decision-making process. The program is designed to raise the competency level and knowledge of the participants in a short period of time.

Composed of a logical sequence of geoscience and engineering courses, the program provides an opportunity for each participant to learn the fundamental skills in finding and developing oil and gas resources. In addition, the participants get to immediately apply the learned skills in a real project situation. In order to enhance their understanding of geologic mapping fundamentals, participants work with paper logs and seismic sections to generate maps and volumetric calculations. They will also learn the fundamentals of material balance reserves calculations, and basic economic evaluations.

Upon completion of the Geoscience Certification Program, the participants will deliver an interpretation / engineering / mapping project of a producing field which includes exploration, exploitation, and development of upside potential. The participants will demonstrate their skills and gain practical experience by defending their results in a technical presentation to a team of seasoned professionals. We also welcome and encourage management from the participating companies to attend these final presentations.

The main objective is to advance the skill level of the participants that will make them a contributing member of your company’s exploration or development program in a minimum period of time. The combination of in-class training, mentoring, and hands-on application through a real-world project provides the participants with well-rounded knowledge of geoscience and engineering best practices.

Course Content


  • Basics of the Petroleum Industry
  • Structural Styles in Petroleum Exploration and Production
  • Structural and Sequence Stratigraphy Field Course
  • Practical Seismic Exploration and Development
  • Practical Interpretation of Open Hole Logs
  • Sequence Stratigraphy Applied to O&G Exploration
  • Applied Subsurface Geological Mapping
  • Mapping Seismic Data Workshop
  • Basic Petroleum Engineering for Non-Engineers
  • Modern Coastal Systems of Texas Field Course


  • Phase I: Initial Exploration – Delineate Prospects – Drill Exploration Wells
  • Phase II: Assess Discovery – Refine Interpretation
  • Phase III-A: Field Development – Drill Development Wells
  • Phase III-A: Field Development Continued
  • Phase III-B: Explore for Additional Prospects
  • Phase IV: Field Performance Analysis – Results of Other Exploration Prospects
  • Phase V: Present Report and Project Results

Starting in Week 7 of the program, the participants will conduct a detailed interpretation and mapping project. The project involves exploration acreage with nearby producing fields in an extensional tectonic setting. Data available includes: 2-D seismic, well logs, and engineering data.

Our challenging five phase project is designed to provide hands-on training so that participants develop a solid foundation in geological and geophysical interpretation and mapping. Additionally, they will acquire an understanding of reservoir engineering, log analysis, risk analysis, and probabilistic and deterministic resources estimation.

The project is conducted in a lease block in an extensional tectonic basin with normal growth and non-growth faults providing opportunities for potential prospects. The complex geology in the project area will challenge the participants in their interpretation of the geological, geophysical and engineering data. The six weeks of training courses taught prior to the project will prepare the participants to meet the geological, geophysical and engineering challenges of this project, as well as lay a foundation of skills for a successful career.

Participants start the project with an overview of the regional geology of the project area including the structural style, depositional environments, and sequence stratigraphy, as well as information on producing fields in the project area. The participants will be divided into multi-discipline teams. Each team will compete to generate the best interpretation and maps over the project area resulting in the discovery and development of hydrocarbons.

Note: Each participant will perform all tasks required during this project and actively participate in discussions and decision making by his/her team. One objective of the project is to simulate a team environment for discussions and professional interaction with other members.

A fictitious company called SPX owns the acreage in the project area and has set an exploration and development budget. The teams will have access to the information on the previous wells drilled and on nearby producing fields which can be used as analogs in their exploration activities.

Each team will initially receive one seismic line, several well logs, a type log and tops from a number of nearby wells. The assignment is to define a lead in the license area of sufficient size to meet corporate objectives. Each team will present their lead results, potential size of lead, and their request for additional seismic and well log data to continue exploration.

Upon approval, each team will obtain a limited amount of 2-D seismic and well log data. Using the new data, each participant will correlate well logs, interpret seismic sections, and build one or more cross sections. Using the regional information regarding the likely pay sections and correlating the log data to the seismic data, the participants will begin the initial integrated interpretation of key faults and multiple potential objective horizons in time. They will carry out AVO and/or seismic attribute analysis for DHI when applicable.

Based on their work, the participants should identify the best prospect in their project area. Depth maps will be made for key faults and the primary target horizons. The participants will generate prospect maps and estimate potential resources of the prospect. Working with a mentor and using the available field analog data, each team will make an initial estimate of Original Hydrocarbons In-Place and recoverable resources. Each team member will also conduct risk analysis to define the range of possible resources for the prospect. After completing the analysis, each team will recommend and defend a drilling location for the first exploration well. With the assistance of a mentor, they will develop an AFE to estimate the cost of the well. If approved by the management team, the well will be drilled.

If a team makes a discovery of recoverable hydrocarbons, they will move on to Phase II. If any team drills a dry hole, that team will go back to their interpretation and including the newly drilled well data, re-examine, discuss and modify their work before selecting a second drilling location.

Based on the discovery, teams will request and will be provided additional seismic data required to fully assess and develop the new discovery. Using the new seismic data, the information from the discovery well and available analog data from nearby fields, the participants will assess the discovery with respect to pre-drill expectations (depth, areal extent, estimated water contact, and estimated in-place hydrocarbons).

Each participant will refine their interpretation of the discovery to propose a field development plan. The development plan will require more detailed interpretation and mapping including all key faults, horizons and reservoir maps.

Each team will generate a field development plan using all the refined interpretations and maps generated in PHASE II, completing engineering and economic analyses. Teams will recommend an optimum number of wells to develop the field that will provide their company an expected rate of return on its investment. A preliminary discounted cash flow analysis will be generated to justify the field plan and estimated expenditure. If their plan is approved by management, the development wells will be drilled.

Based on the results of the wells drilled, each participant will conduct a detailed evaluation and revise the maps for the new field. This will include log analysis integrating available core data to determine net sand and net pay in each well. Each participant will map the top and base of porosity, net sand and net pay maps.

Using the final maps, the engineering data gathered from the wells drilled and analog field data, the participants will carry out a volumetric (deterministic) estimate of the Original In-Place and recoverable hydrocarbons based on parameters such as porosity, permeability, gas-oil ratio, water saturation, estimated producing rates and recovery factor. The participants will complete material balance reserves calculations and an economic analysis based on the teams’ work products.

After Phase III-A, the participants identify and define the need for a directionally drilled well to test for deeper resource potential. A well is drilled on the lease to test several deeper horizons. The participants learn to correlate a directionally drilled well, conduct the correction factors for bed dip and wellbore angle for fault data, as well as net sand and net pay. Participants update two deeper horizon maps based on the deviated well. In addition, they evaluate the results of this phase to expand their interpretation of the eastern portion of the license area.

Each team, after acquiring the additional seismic data, will now begin to re-apply all the techniques used in PHASE I in an attempt to locate additional prospects within the project area. This includes the interpretation and mapping of additional faults and multiple horizons. Using sound technical work and industry recommended practices, the participants will identify additional prospects within the study area. Each participant will estimate the areal extent, potential pay thickness and conduct an estimate of Original In-Place hydrocarbons for the new prospects. Each team will recommend an exploration well to test the prospects generated.

The teams will compare actual field performance at 5 years in the future, and end of field life, with their volumetric and material balance estimates of recoverable hydrocarbons based on the detailed analysis and mapping conducted in PHASE III-A.

In addition, the project team mentors will discuss with the teams the results of the drilling of the other prospects identified during PHASE III-B.

Each participant and team will develop a presentation on their project to be delivered to management.

After each participant and team has presented their results, the SCA project mentors will summarize and compare the results of each team.

This project area has already been interpreted, mapped and evaluated by an experienced team of geologists, geophysicists, and engineers. The project was conducted using both hand methods and workstation technology using 3-D seismic, data from nearly 100 wells, and the production history for all the producing reservoirs. The SCA mentors will review and show the results of the project based on all the additional data that the team did not have available. They will discuss the advantages and pitfalls of using a workstation to interpret the seismic data and to generate the fault and horizon maps.

The participants will get an appreciation of the difference between interpretation and mapping by hand versus using a workstation. Specifically, they will learn important techniques for manually interpreting well logs and seismic data, as well as generating fault and horizon maps. They will also learn methods of integrating horizons with faults to accurately position fault polygons, and how to honor fault components like vertical separation to generate structure maps in faulted areas. These methods are critical in many respects including the location of exploration or development wells and the accurate estimation of reserves or resources. No one wants to drill a dry hole or have a reserves write-down!

Most computer programs do not honor fault components such as vertical separation (missing or repeated section) when contouring across faults. These detailed techniques often have to be done through hand editing or special computer programs. The participants will learn these techniques and their application in daily exploration and development activities.

This twelve-week program including six weeks of key training courses followed by a six week interpretation project could easily take up to 2 or 3 years to accomplish in a working oil company environment. During the first six weeks of courses, the participants are learning from some of the world’s leading experts in their fields. During the six week interpretation project, SCA’s senior mentors with expertise in seismic interpretation, log correlation, structural geology, reservoir engineering, subsurface mapping and other specialty areas will be working with the participants providing important guidance throughout the entire project.

In just six short weeks the participants will go through an exploration program, see their exploration wells drilled, develop a discovery, compare their initial discovery estimates to actual production results after a number of years of production and conduct further step out exploration within the same area. Overall, they are conducting a project that in the real world could take as long as 10 years to see from beginning to end.

On the job, it would take several years for the participants to work through the various phases of such a project. The participants have the advantage of on-site mentors to guide them through the exploration, development and production phases of the project.

Note: This twelve week program is not intended to provide the training and experience required in all aspects of upstream exploration, development and production necessary for all geoscientists or engineers to learn. The program is designed to jump-start a new hire or someone entering the oil and gas industry from another discipline. The program is further intended to advance the ability of the participant into becoming a contributing geoscientist or engineer to find new resources of oil and gas.