Short Course #6: A User’s Guide to Exploration and Production Biostratigraphy

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Sunday, September 20, 2015
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Houston Hilton Americas – Room 335 C
Maximum 50 Participants
Cost: $150 per person (includes refreshments, lunch, and all course materials)

Instructor: Art Waterman and Ryan Weber (Paleo-Data)

Art Waterman

Art Waterman

This 6-hour short course will introduce the concepts of micropaleontology, biostratigraphy, biofacies analysis, and chronostratigraphy to those who may need to work with biostratgraphic data, but may not have the background to competently work with it and utilize it to its full potential. This course is designed for the industry professional to gain a full appreciation of how these topics contribute to, and are integrated together, in petroleum exploration. The basic concepts will be developed together with the essential vocabulary necessary to understand and communicate with specialists in those fields. Practical application of this knowledge will be developed through the use of examples, case histories and hands-on exercises. The overall intent is to develop the geoscientist’s capability to competently and confidently employ paleo information in exploration and production.

Topics to be covered: 

Ryan Weber

Ryan Weber

  • A brief introduction to the basic fundamentals of micropaleontology: Biostratigraphy and paleoecology
  • Sampling and examination
    • Methods, accuracy, resolution
  • Types of microfossil groups useful in exploration micropaleontology and when to employ them
  • Biofacies concepts and paleoecologic zonations
  • Application of biostratigraphy to sequence stratigraphy
  • Elements of geochronology and chronostratigraphy
    • Application of absolute time scale to age-depth diagrams, graphic correlation, and geohistory analysis
  • Understanding microfossil samples
    • Sample resolution, sources of contamination, detecting uphole caving and reworked microfossils
  • Integrating biostratigraphy and facies analysis with other stratigraphic data
  • Paleontologic expressions of source rock, seal, and reservoir
  • Communication in micropaleontology: Basics of taxonomy and classification
  • The business of micropaleontology in petroleum exploration: Getting the most from your paleontologic reports


Arthur S. Waterman
Art is President and principal owner of Paleo-Data, Inc. Over its history his company, with a staff of thirteen biostratigraphers, has examined samples from over 14,000 wells, over 70 million meters of drilled borehole in the Gulf Basin, yielding the largest biostratigraphic database in the region. Art has served as a nannofossil and foraminfera specialist for the company since 1978 and has presented proprietary workshops and short courses on biostratigraphic applications in exploration and development for industry over the past 20 years, including courses offered through Nautilus and Geofenestra, LLC. Art has mentored graduate student research at the University of Colorado Boulder and is a principal contributor to the Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis Project at the University of Texas.

Art received his B.S. degree from St. Lawrence University and an M.A. in geology from Indiana University, Bloomington, with a thesis on Ordovician conodont biostratigraphy before signing on as a development geologist and micropaleontologist for Texaco in New Orleans.   He joined Paleo-Data, Inc. in 1978, becoming Vice President in 1987 and President and CEO in 2002.   Art is a past President and Trustee of the Gulf Coast Section –SEPM and has served two terms as a trustee of the Paleontological Research Institution and Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York. Art has authored and co-authored numerous papers on the depositional history of the Gulf of Mexico Basin and has developed a comprehensive biostratigraphic chart for the Gulf region, widely utilized as the standard biostratigraphic reference for the Gulf Basin.

Ryan D. Weber
Ryan Weber is currently Manager of Biostratigraphy for Paleo-Data, Inc. He received his BS and Education certificate at Minnesota State – Mankato, and received his MS at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, working with Dr. David Watkins in nannofossil research on Upper Cretaceous Pierre Shale stratigraphy. While in Lincoln, Ryan served for 2 years as the Earth Science Section Chair for the Nebraska Academy of Sciences.

Upon earning his M.S., Ryan started with Paleo-Data, Inc. in New Orleans as Staff Nannofossil Biostratigrapher, gaining experience in industrial biostratigraphy from onshore and deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the Nile Delta, and Northwest Australian shelf. In 2009, Ryan joined BP in Houston to provide biostratigraphic support for the development of producing fields in BP’s Gulf of Mexico portfolio and co-developed a training module for non-biostratigraphic staff.  In 2014, Ryan returned to Paleo-Data in New Orleans as Manager of Biostratigraphy.  His main responsibilities are technical assurance, data quality, customer support, recruitment, and mentoring junior staff.

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