PETROENG 2005 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy for Petroleum Engineers

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019

The course covers applications of sedimentology and stratigraphy to petroleum exploration and development. It includes an introduction to sedimentary rocks, reservoir quality, details of depositional environments (processes, structures and deposits), sequence stratigraphic methods of correlation, seismic stratigraphy and basic 3D reservoir modelling techniques. The class will undertake two Saturday field trips in lieu of two weeks of lectures and practical classes. This course is an essential introduction to sedimentology and stratigraphy for those wishing to become petroleum engineers.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PETROENG 2005
    Course Sedimentology and Stratigraphy for Petroleum Engineers
    Coordinating Unit Australian School of Petroleum
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 5 hours per week and 2 Saturday field trips
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge PETROENG 1005
    Course Description The course covers applications of sedimentology and stratigraphy to petroleum exploration and development. It includes an introduction to sedimentary rocks, reservoir quality, details of depositional environments (processes, structures and deposits), sequence stratigraphic methods of correlation, seismic stratigraphy and basic 3D reservoir modelling techniques. The class will undertake two Saturday field trips in lieu of two weeks of lectures and practical classes. This course is an essential introduction to sedimentology and stratigraphy for those wishing to become petroleum engineers.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Ulrike Schacht

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Lecture and Discussion Classes:

    Thursday 14.10-16.00 Engineering Nth N132 Teaching Room

    Friday 10.10-11.00 Napier 208 Lecture Theatre

    Practical Classes:

    PR01: Wednesday 12.10-14.00 Engineering and Mathematics EM 213 Teaching Room

    PR02: Friday 12.10-14.00 Engineering and Mathematics EM 213 Teaching Room

    Week 5 practical classes:

    PR01: Wednesday 12.10-14.00 Ingkarni Wardli 236 CAT Suite

    PR02: Friday 12.10-14.00 Ingkarni Wardli 236 CAT Suite

    Week 7 practical classes:

    WR01: Wednesday 12.10-14.00 Santos 106 Laboratory

    WR02: Friday 12.10-14.00 Santos 106 Laboratory

    Week 8 practical classes:

    PR01: Wednesday 12.10-14.00 Ingkarni Wardli 236 CAT Suite

    PR02: Friday 12.10-14.00 Ingkarni Wardli 236 CAT Suite

    Week 9 practical classes:

    WR01: Wednesday 12.10-14.00 Santos 106 Laboratory

    WR02: Friday 12.10-14.00 Santos 106 Laboratory

    Saturday 14th September and Saturday 12th October. Meet at 9.00 am on campus (Gate 9 Victoria Drive). We’ll aim to be back for 4pm. More details to be provided after start of semster.

    Some classes will be cancelled in order to make up for the Saturday fieldtrips. However, these dates might change during the first few of weeks of Semester; if this happens, Dr Schacht will notify you via MyUni.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Explain the key aspects of sedimentology that are fundamental to understanding petroleum systems on a range of scales, from grains to depositional environments.
    2 Apply this understanding to the description of sedimentary rocks in order to deduce depositional processes and environments.
    3 Apply this understanding to the analysis of subsurface data through practical exercises and fieldwork.
    4 Evaluate the importance of sedimentology and stratigraphy for 3D reservoir modelling and the exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources.
    5 Evaluate content from densely written academic articles and put together a well structured written report

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.3   1.4   1.5   2.1   2.2   2.3   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2, 3, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Pencils, coloured pencils and an eraser to be brought to all lectures and practical classes. PDFs of lecture material and additional reading.

    Recommended Resources

    Recommended primary reference book:
    Nichols, G. (2009). Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (2nd Edition). Wiley-Blackwell, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK. 419p.

    Other useful references:
    Ajdukiewicz, J.M. and Lander, R. (2010). Sandstone Reservoir Quality Prediction: The State of Art. AAPG Bulletin, 94(8), 1083-1091.

    Boggs, S., Jr. (2006). Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4th Edition). Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 662p.

    Emery, D. and Myers, K.J. (Eds.), (1996). Sequence Stratigraphy. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Hamlin, H.S., Dutton, S.P., Seggie, R.J. and Tyler, N. (1996). Depositional Controls on Reservoir Properties in a Braid-Delta Sandstone, Tirrawarra Oil Field South Australia. AAPG BUlletin, 80(2), 139-156.

    Miall, A.D. (2000). Principles of Sedimentary Basin Analysis, Springer, New York (3rd edition).

    Posamentier, H.W. and Allen, G.P. (1999). Siliciclastic Sequence Stratigraphy - Concepts and Applications. SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology, 7, 216 p.

    Walker, R. G. and James, N. P. (Eds.), (1992). Facies Models: response to sea-level change. Geological Association of Canada, Geotext 1, 409 p.

    Both the Nichols (2009) and Boggs (2006) text books are excellent, and easy to read. The main reason the Nichols (2009) book is recommended as the primary reference is that it is less than half the price of Boggs (2006). If you are using these in the library, they are both excellent.

    Online Learning

    Lectures, practicals and other material will be available on MyUni (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Lectures are supported by problem-solving practical classes and field trips, developing material covered in lectures. Exam-style questions on the topic just taught will be provided at the end of each weeks lecture class, for group discussion at the start of the next weeks lecture class.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    During the designated lecture time, there will be some group discussions and brief practical exercises (e.g. using blogs on MyUni and GoogleEarth, preparing digital presentations). It is strongly recommended that the lecture material is revised during the week following the lecture. This is encouraged by the provision of revision questions each week, and dedicated in-class time for discussion and questions. Practical classes will involve exercises that involve application of knowledge taught in the lectures. Many of these exercises will require time outside of class time to finish. 

    Two full-day fieldtrips will take place in lieu of some classes. Revision, planning and writing of a short assignment will require work to be done outside of class time.

    Learning Activities Summary

    The structure of this course changes each year, in response to student feedback. Changes to the structure of content covered in the different timetable slots may be made as the course progresses. Any changes will be discussed in class and significant alterations will be posted on MyUni. AALD = Accelerated Academic Language Development workshops.

    Please collect printed Course Profile Books in your first lecture class.

    Specific Course Requirements

    This course includes two field trips, on Saturday 8th September and on Saturday 6th October. We will leave from the University early on these days, and return in the late afternoon. Geoscience is best learnt in the field, and this field trip will make a big difference to your depth of understanding of material taught in lectures and practical classes. All students must complete and sign the ‘Field Trips & Excursions Acknowledgement Form’ which addresses OHS&W issues before they are allowed to take part in any field trip or excursion. Students under 18 years must have the form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Several of the practical & field excercises run during this course are designed in order to facilitate small group discovery.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    mid-semester test 5 Individual Summative Week 7 1. 2. 3.
    written assignment 15 Individual Summative Week 9 1. 3. 5.
    assignments 50 Individual/Group Formative Weeks 2-12 1. 2. 3. 4.
    Final exam 30 Individual Summative Exam period 1. 2. 3. 4.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    Assessment Related Requirements


    Assessment Detail
    The material submitted during semester will include:

    -      a written assignment (worth 15% of the final mark), and
    -      a number of practical exercises, an assessed presentation, and a sequence stratigraphy report (together = 50% of the final mark). These may not all be assessed; you will not be told which. Feedback will be provided on all work submitted.

    There will be an in-class test which will contribute 5% of your final mark for the course. This in-class test was added for the first time in 2012, at the request of previous students, and has had positive feedback since then. I hope that the inclusion of this test will enhance your learning during the first part of the course, and that results will provide you with useful feedback on your understanding of course content. The in-class test questions will be formatted in a similar way to the final exam, to help familiarise you with this (along with the exam-style questions each week).

     The written assignment will be a short report with the title ‘Sedimentologic Controls on Reservoir Quality’. This will draw on material taught during the first six weeks of the course. The AALD workshops are included in order to directly help you with the academic reading and writing skills you’ll need to develop for this, and for the remainder of your degree and future career. A detailed assessment rubric for the written assignment will be provided via MyUni.

    The final exam writing time will be 120 minutes. It will be a closed book exam. You will need to bring a pen and pencil, plus a set of coloured pencils. Questions will be in a similar format to the revision questions, mid-semester in-class test, and practical exercises provided throughout the course.


    Week 2 Prac Interpreting the petrography of sandstones Drop box in ASP, Week 3
    4pm, Wednesday 10th August
    Week 5 Group Presentations via email, Week 5,
    4pm, Friday 26th August
    In-Class Test In class, Week 6
    1-2 pm, Thursday 1st September
    Week 6 Prac Identification of depositional environments from graphic sedimentary logs Drop box in ASP, Week 7
    4pm, Wednesday 7th September
    Week 9 Prac Sequence stratigraphy - Flume Tanks Drop box in ASP, Week 10
    4pm, Wednesday 12th September
    Week 10 Saturday workshop
    Sequence Stratigraphic Interpretations
    Submit before leaving the workshop
    Saturday 15th October
    Week 12 Prac Multi-scenario depositional models Submit before leaving the prac class
    (26th October)

    AALD WORKSHOPS - Accelerating Academic Language Development

    Learning Objective: By the end of these workshops, you will have learnt a method of using your readings to accelerate your academic writing development.

    You will be given the opportunity to submit two tasks related to the written assignment. These will not be assessed; their purpose is to assist you develop the skills involved in this assignment, to encourage you to work on this assignment as the course progresses, and so that I can provide you with feedback as you work on this.

    Week 2      AALD Workshop 1
    - How to deconstruct densely written formal academic language

    Exercise submission of feedback (not assessed):
    Start your own dictionary of scholary language

    via MyUni
    4pm, Thursday 18th August
    Week 3   AALD workshop 2
    - deconstructing an article
    - deconstructing the title of your written
    Exercise submission of feedback (not assessed):
    draft outline for your written report assignment

    via MyUni
    4pm, Thursday 18th August
    Week 6 AALD workshop 3
    - the structure of an Introduction section
    - paragraph structure
    Exercise submission for feedback (not assessed):
    Write a paragraph of your report (it can be any paragraph)

    via MyUni
    4pm, Wednesday, 14th September
    Week 7 AALD workshop 4
    - a great tool for academic writing: re-usable language

    Q&A session
    Written assignment
    'Sedimentologic Controls on Reservoir Quality'

    Electronic Submission, MyUni (week 9)
    4pm, Tuesday 4th October

    Submission of Work for Assessment
    Assessed work should be submitted as instructed; either in hardcopy or via MyUni. All work submitted for assessment is required to have a completed copy of the ASP assessment coversheet. This should be signed (either physically or electronically) to indicate you have read the University policy statement on plagiarism, collusion and related forms of cheating.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Co-ordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time.

    Penalty for Late Submission of Assessment Tasks
    Assessment tasks must be submitted by the stated deadlines. There will be a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks. The submitted work will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and 10% of the obtained mark will be deducted for each working day (or part of a day) that an assessment task is late, up to a maximum penalty of 50% of the mark attained. An examiner may elect not to accept any assessment task that a student wants to submit after that task has been marked and feedback provided to the rest of the class.

    Provision of Feedback to Students
    - Feedback will be provided in each lecture through the use of anonymous student response ‘clicker’ devices.

    - Exam-style questions (unmarked; for revision purposes only) will be provided each week, and subsequently discussed in class; these will enable students to evaluate their comprehension of
    material taught and ability to answer exam-style questions.

    - Students will be taken through stages of work necessary for the largest written assignment (worth 15%) in class, and encouraged to submit aspects of this (i) a paragraph, and (ii) a draft structure, on which feedback will be provided prior to submission of the final assignment. Both academic course content and writing skills development will be focused on in four AALD workshops.

    - I will provide feedback on practical-class exercises, group presentations and the in-class test within two weeks of their submission. The written assessment is likely to take longer to mark, but this will be done as speedily as is possible.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

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    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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