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Geology-Based Topical Contouring Workshops

Robert 'Bob' Shoup

INSTRUCTOR: Robert ‘Bob’ Shoup
DISCIPLINE: Geoscience
COURSE LENGTH: 3-5 Days (Classroom) / 12 Half-Day Sessions (Live Online)
CEUS: 2.4 – 4.0
AVAILABILITY: Public (5 Classroom Days or 12 Half-Day Sessions), In-House (Customizable Duration), & Live Online (12 Half-Day Sessions)


Check back in periodically for updated Public and Live Online course dates! To schedule an In-House course, contact SCA’s Training Department at

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, reservoir engineers and managers who are exploring for and developing oil and gas fields in conventional and unconventional petroleum systems.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is a unique training program in which clients can design a customized three- to five-day training course comprised of critical skill modules (see workshops detailed below) coupled with hands-on exercises. There are two common management complaints: 1} My staff does not understand the geology of their prospects, and 2) My staff does not understand their maps. These workshops are designed to address and remedy both of those complaints.

Interpreters must know what they are contouring to generate a valid map. Simply relying on a computer contouring algorithm without having a fundamental understanding of what that map should look like all but guarantees bad maps and dry holes.

In each workshop, participants will learn the fundamental aspects of the geology of the setting covered in that workshop. This combined hand-contouring exercises will help interpreters better understand not just their maps, but the geology of their prospects as well.


  • Introduction: Basic Contouring
  • Workshop 1: Fault Mapping (This workshop is a prerequisite for Workshops 2-6)
  • Workshop 2: Rift Basin Structures
  • Workshop 3: Growth Fault Structures
  • Workshop 4: Salt Structures
  • Workshop 5: Compressional Structures
  • Workshop 6: Strike Slip Structures
  • Workshop 7: Clastic Reservoirs
  • Workshop 8: Carbonate Reservoirs
  • Workshop 9: Formation Attributes
  • Workshop 10: Isochore Maps and Resource Evaluation
  • Workshop 11: Cross Section Workshop (Vertical Maps)

FORMAT: Each workshop is a mix of lecture and paper-pencil exercises. The class can be attended in-person or in a live online format.


  • Understand how to evaluate and validate contour maps generated in the workstation.
  • Understand the methods and techniques needed to generate valid structure maps.
  • Improved understanding of the geology of their plays and prospects.



Workshop Introduction: Basic Contouring

  • Contouring Exercises
    1. Contour a Net Pay Map
    2. Evaluate the quality of 7 structure maps contoured from a data set
  • Contouring Fundamentals Lecture
    1. Contouring rules and guidelines
    2. Hand contouring methods
    3. Computer contouring methods
    4. Computer contouring pitfalls
  • Contouring Fundamentals Exercise
    1. Contour Rock Mountain Topography – Three different basin maps with varying amounts of control points
    2. Discussion – (1) Impact of data distribution on map results, and (2) How knowing what you are contouring impacts map results
  • Contouring Exercise Review and Day 2 Pre-Class Exercise Setup
    1. How the computers contoured the data
    2. Remap the net pay data with the correct depositional data

Workshop 1: Fault Mapping

  • Overview of Faults and Fault Surfaces
  • Extensional Faults
  • Growth Fault Contouring Exercise
  • Intersecting Fault Patterns
  • Contouring Exercise, Intersecting Growth Faults
  • Contouring Exercise, Intersecting Planar Faults
  • Compressional Faults
  • Ramp and Flat Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 2: Rift Basins

  • Rift Basins Overview
  • Rift Basin Exploration
  • Mapping the Base of the Synrift
  • Base Synrift Contouring Exercise
  • Mapping the Top of the Synrift
  • Top Synrift Contouring Exercise
  • Inversion Structures
  • Isopach and Isochore Mapping
  • Isochore Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 3: Growth Faults

  • Growth Faults Overview
  • Gravity Slide Detachments
  • Fault Surfaces, Growth and Non-Growth
  • Fault Closures
  • Fault Closure Exercise
  • Seal Evaluation
  • Rollover Structures
  • Rollover Structures Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 4: Salt Structures

  • Salt Tectonics Overview
  • Salt Structures
  • Salt Pillow Contouring Exercise
  • Salt Dome Contouring Exercise
  • Salt-Related Sedimentary Structures
  • Contouring Exercise – Mini-Basins
  • Salt-Related Traps
  • Drape Structure Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 5: Compressional Structures

  • Compressional Tectonics Overview
  • Reverse Fault Contouring Exercise
  • Fault Bend Folds
  • Fault Bend Fold Contouring Exercise
  • Fault Propagation Folds
  • Fault Propagation Fold Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 6: Strike Slip Systems

  • Strike Slip Systems Overview
  • En Echelon Folds
  • En Echelon Fold Contouring Exercise
  • Long Beach Field Contouring Exercise
  • Strike Slip Faults
  • Rosecranz Field Contouring Exericse
  • Flower Structures
  • Flower Structure Contouring Exericse
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 7: Clastic Reservoirs

  • Overview
  • Delivery Systems (Meandering, Braided, Anastomosing Rivers)
  • Braided River Contouring Exercise
  • Meandering River Contouring Exercise
  • Dispersal Systems (Alluvial Fan, Deltas, Submarine Fans)
  • Alluvial Fan Contouring Exercise
  • Delta Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 8: Carbonate Reservoirs

  • Carbonate Overview
  • Lacustrine Carbonates
  • Carbonate Ramps
  • Barrier Island Contouring Exercise
  • Carbonate Platforms
  • Carbonate Platform Contouring Exercise
  • Pinnacle Reef Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 9: Formation Attributes

  • Introduction to Geologic Attribute Contouring
  • Overview of Formation Attributes and the Petroleum System
  • Source Rock Discussion and Contouring Exercise
  • Formation Temperature Discussion and Contouring Exercise
  • Non-Hydrocarbon Gas Discussion and Contouring Exercise
  • Formation Pressure Discussion and Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 10: Isopach and Isochore Maps

  • Isopach Versus Isochore
  • Isopach Mapping
  • Isopach Contouring Exercise
  • Isochore Mapping
  • Net Reservoir Isochore Mapping Exercise
  • Net Pay Determination and Contouring Exercise
  • Summary and Q&A

Workshop 11: Cross Sections (Vertical Maps)

  • Introduction to Geologic Cross Sections
  • Cross Section Pitfalls
  • Cross Section Construction Exercise
  • Structural Cross Section Exercise
  • Stratigraphic Cross Section Exercise
  • Cross Sections in Fold Belts
  • Summary and Q&A