The ARC Group
14803 FM 2769
Leander, TX 78641

voice: 512-249-5433
fax: 512-249-5392

Continuing Education


A Course Outline Presented by

Noel Tyler, Ph.D. and Roger Tyler, M.Sc.


All reservoirs are heterogeneous and component internal complexities are responsible for intrareservoir stratigraphic entrapment of recoverable hydrocarbons.  It is estimated that between 80 and 100 billion barrels of movable oil will remain at abandonment in heterogeneous reservoirs in the United States. Innovative strategies that were developed from our extensive field reactivation experience, and that have proven successful in exploring and producing this undrained non-residual oil are the subject of this in-house offering. By understanding the geological distribution of moveable oil a better understanding of the geological constraints on enhanced oil, and natural gas recovery, is gained as well.

The course is presented in two or extended five-day workshop formats. Both sessions emphasize the magnitude of the target for strategic re-exploration of reservoirs and by using actual examples demonstrate methodologies for attaining reserve growth. The two day offering allows participants insight into state-of-the-art geological techniques necessary for accurate reservoir description. The two days of multidisciplinary training incorporated into the course are designed for reservoir geologists and engineers concerned with reservoir exploitation and development through primary to tertiary recovery, reservoir simulation, and reservoir acquisitions or sales. The five day workshop includes lectures, case studies, and hands-on exercises stressing the techniques of reservoir characterization.

All offerings review the development geology of reservoirs. Techniques for determining the internal architecture of reservoirs (a function of facies composition) are critically reviewed. Facies are the fundamental building blocks of reservoirs and as such either foster or hinder reservoir drainage, impart heterogeneity to the reservoir, and provide the flow units through which the reservoir drains. In our experience, all reservoirs are inefficiently drained because the complexity of facies architecture is invariably under-appreciated in field development and in the deployment of conventional recovery strategies. Reservoirs in which the greatest reserve growth will be attained are those with a high degree of internal heterogeneity, substantial volumes of untapped or bypassed hydrocarbons, and importantly, those with the most accurate reservoir descriptions.

Modern sedimentological and seismic techniques for realistically describing reservoirs and determining reservoir heterogeneity are emphasized through use of reservoir studies and exercises that relate hydrocarbon productivity to facies distribution. Case studies that compare and contrast reservoir architectures and recovery response of major clastic depositional systems set the stage for developing portfolios of approaches for field reactivation, primarily in fluvial, deltaic, barrier/strandplain, and submarine fan reservoirs. Field case studies are drawn from around the world including Texas, Australia, Venezuela, Trinidad, and China. The principles illustrated are developed for students through the use of focused exercises. Key geologic characteristics are summarized as they affect fluid flow and reservoir types are rated as to their potential for reserve additions through innovative development practices.


  • Texas, US, Australian, Mexico and Venezuelan experience in reserve growth
  • The concepts of sedimentary facies, flow units, and reservoir architecture
  • Reservoir complexity as a function of reservoir architecture
  • Reservoir architecture and strategic infill drilling to improve recovery
  • Advanced seismic techniques for reservoir visualization
  • Techniques for quantification of heterogeneity for simulation
  • Establishing the magnitude of the target for strategic infield re-exploration
  • Reasons for careful re-evaluation of producing properties prior to       abandonment or sale
  • Approaches for developing advanced-recovery-strategy portfolios for field rejuvenation


Dr. Noel Tyler is President of the ARC Group and previous senior research scientist and Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin. He is a reservoir geologist by training with 20 years of experience in reservoir characterization and production rejuvenation studies and their direct application to optimum reservoir development. Noel has published extensively in this area and was the AAPG’S 1999 Dean McGee International Distinguished Lecturer on these subjects.

Mr. Roger Tyler is Partner of the ARC Group and previously a Research Associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin. He has headed highly successful production optimization projects in the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Trinidad, and Venezuela, including a number of giant oilfields. Roger has extensive experience in reservoir characterization, has authored more than 40 publications on depositional systems and reservoir characterization, and received several Best Paper awards for his research on reservoir characterization.

Previous Offerings and Course Fees

This course was presented three times annually for Petroleos de Venezuela (1998 to 2005).  Other course presentations (over 80 in total) have been made for BrasPetro (Colombia), British Petroleum, Chevron, Ecopetrol (Colombia), Instituto Mexicano de Petroleo (IMP), Jason (Argentina), Marathon, Mobil, Oryx, Petrobras (Brazil), Petrotrin (Trinidad), Pemex, Placid, Santos (Australia), Sohio, Southern Oil Exploration Company (South Africa), Texaco, Texaco (Colombia), Trinmar (Trinidad), the United States’ Department of Energy, for the AAPG (in Austin, Vienna, and Vera Cruz, Mexico), for AIPM in Vera Cruz and Leon, Xth Congresso Geologico in Peru, and for many local societies in Texas, Mexico, and Trinidad.

This course can be modified to address company-specific needs. All fees are to be paid in U.S. dollars.  Registration includes a master copy of a 400-page set of course notes organized for subsequent use as a reference volume that includes all illustrative material used in the course and more than 275 references related to development geology, reservoir facies, and depositional systems.  For more information please call the instructors at (512) 249-5433 or via email

II. Coalbed Methane Short Course:

Geologic and Hydrologic Controls Critical to Coalbed Methane Production and Resource Assessment: The United States Experience

presented by
Dr. Noel Tyler and Mr. Roger Tyler
The ARC Group
Austin, Texas

Course Description

This course focuses on a geologic/hydrologic-centered approach to coalbed methane exploration and development integrated into a basin-scale producibility model. Course materials will be based on the results of 10 years of research in the San Juan, Sand Wash, Greater Green River, and Piceance Basins in the western United States, and the North Slope of Alaska which includes basins with limited data. Course notes include many figures and an extensive list of coalbed gas references.

The course will begin with a series of presentations emphasizing key geologic and hydrologic controls on coal-gas production. These include basin tectonic and structural setting, natural fracture patterns, coal depositional environments, coal rank, sorption characteristics, gas content, gas composition, hydrodynamics, and permeability.

Once key controls have been described, the course instructors will show how a synergistic interplay among controls determines high productivity of coalbed gas. Out of a comparison of the prolific San Juan Basin and marginally producing Piceance and Sand Wash Basins, a basin-scale coalbed methane producibility model has been developed. This model can be used for evaluating coal-gas potential in frontier basins or finding high-productivity fairways in basins that have established production. Our Coalbed gas exploration model predicts high gas production where ground water actively flows through coals of high rank and high gas content orthogonally toward flow barriers, along which conventional trapping of gas occurs.

To give participants hands-on experience, the course includes exercises to illustrate the decision making process as basin evaluation proceeds from regional screening, through targeting areas for detailed study, through final selection of well sites. Concepts presented in lectures would be applied by participants in world-wide basins using data sets supplied by the course instructors. Participants would prepare net-coal maps, map fracture patterns, estimate coal rank, and evaluate ground-water flow patterns to select a basin for further study. Participants would integrate available geologic and hydrologic data to identify exploration fairways.

Course Format and Who Should Attend
Elements of the course can be offered in 3-day through 5-day-long formats. The course is directly applicable to geologists, hydrologists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers, who want the fundamentals and latest technologies in coalbed methane exploration and resource development.

Selected Topics

Basinal Controls on Coalbed Methane Production

  • Prediction of natural fracture patterns in foreland basins
  • Depositional system controls on coalbed extent, geometry, and trend
  • Coalbed correlation using density and gamma-ray profiles
  • Generation of hydrocarbons during coalification
  • Estimation of coal rank from proximate analyses
  • Identification of presence of secondary biogenic or migrated gases, or both
  • Elements of hydrodynamics: hydraulic head, pressure regime, and hydrochemistry
  • Use of hydrodynamics in reservoir characterization
  • Hydrogeologic controls on production
  • Evolution of the coal-gas producibility model
  • Testing the producibility model
  • Identification of enhanced coalbed permeability
  • Calculation of coal and coal-gas resources
  • Defining coalbed methane exploration fairways in basins with large databases to basins with limited data

Coalbed Methane Producibility Model

  • Basinal comparative studies: Analogs for the world
  • Coalbed methane producibility model elements and testing

Evaluation Exercise

  • Basin comparative screening, the Rocky Mountain Foreland experience
  • Selection and Evaluation of a frontier basin for coalbed methane exploration and development
  • Evaluation of a frontier basin for future coalbed methane exploration and development
  • Frontier basin coalbed methane exploration fairway identification

Previous Offerings and Course Fees
This course has been presented several times annually over the last decade. The course has been sponsored by clients including the United Nations Department for Development Support and Management Services, Xian China; The Ministry of Coal Industry, Peoples Republic of China, Xi’an China; the Gas Research Institute, Chicago, USA; The Energy Minerals Division of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Houston Texas; The Continuing Educational Department, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosca, Alabama; and the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas USA.  Industry participants have been both national and international and have included AMOCO, Chevron, Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC - China), ENRON, Ecopetrol (Colombia), Indian Oil and Gas Industry, Marathon, Mobil, Oryx, Phillips, PEMEX (Mexico), Petrobras (Brazil), Southern Oil Exploration Company (South Africa), Texaco, the United States’ Department of Energy and many additional independent operators in USA.

This course can be modified to address company-specific needs. All fees are to be paid in U.S. dollars.  Registration includes a master copy of a 400-page set of course notes organized for subsequent use as a reference volume that includes all illustrative material used in the course and more than 100 pages of references related to coalbed gas exploration and development.