Shale-rich sequences can act as source rocks, seals or unconventional reservoirs. Understanding the geology of shale-rich sequences is critical to the success of traditional and unconventional petroleum plays and has attracted increased interest as a result of the shale gas revolution.
Our understanding of shale-rich systems is still in its infancy. Traditional models suggest most shales were deposited in low-energy, low-oxygen, deep-water settings. However our latest research is challenging this paradigm.
This work also highlights the surprising geological heterogeneity associated with thick, shale-rich sequences, including lateral and vertical variations in lithofacies, diagenetic character and natural fracture systems. Predicting this geological diversity in the subsurface is important to sweet-spot identification and depends critically upon a holistic understanding of the sedimentology, ichnology, geochemistry, petrography, structural geology and burial history of shale sequences.
This workshop adopts a holistic approach and presents an integrated field- and laboratory-based investigation of a well-exposed hydrocarbon source rock and unconventional reservoir analogue; the Early Jurassic (Toarcian) Whitby Mudstone Formation, North Yorkshire.
This trip will provide participants with:
An overview of traditional and newer, paradigm-shifting depositional models for shale systems.
An understanding of how climate, tectonics, and palaeogeography influence the geochemistry, mineralogy and total organic content (TOC) of shale sequences.
An understanding of how depositional, ichnological, diagenetic and structural processes influence the petrography, permeability and petrophysics of shale sequences.
An overview of natural fracture variability within thick shale sequences.
An appreciation of the lithological and mechanical controls on natural fracture development within shale reservoirs (i.e. mechanical stratigraphy).
An introduction to characterisation of natural fractures, quantitative fracture analysis and fracture modelling in heterogeneous shale sequences.