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Tue, Jan 11


Fort Worth

FWGS January 2022 Luncheon

John Breyer presents "Describing Depositional Systems for Fun and Profit."

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FWGS January 2022 Luncheon
FWGS January 2022 Luncheon

Time & Location

Jan 11, 2022, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Fort Worth, 777 Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76102, USA


Event Details


Three questions encapsulate the critical unknowns that need to be faced in finding and exploiting petroleum resources. Is there a viable petroleum system in the basin? What is the size of the potential resource? And, can commercial production rates be obtained? Geochemists, using the tools of basin analysis, typically address the first question. Geologists using facies analysis to reconstruct depositional systems provide critical information for answering the second and third questions. An understanding of depositional systems directly impacts our ability to find and economically produce petroleum resources.

What kinds of geologic data need to be collected? What types of analyses need to be performed? Sources of data include the existing literature, both public domain and proprietary, cuttings, core, well logs, and seismic. These data are used to define facies and identify their key attributes.  Calibrating well logs with cuttings or core is a critical step. Correlating well logs and mapping the distribution of key facies across an acreage position or prospective acquisition follows. Thoughtful consideration should be given to who picks what tops, and what maps are made.

A high-level workflow would first entail using the regional geology, paleogeography, and sequence stratigraphy to provide context for interpreting the depositional systems. Next detailed descriptions of cuttings and/or core would be used to calibrate the logs and obtain petrophysical analyses. A type log should be agreed upon and established. Mapping horizons should be selected and correlated. Gross-interval and limited-interval isopach maps should be constructed. Facies associations maps should be made for intervals of interest. And finally, the environment of deposition should be interpreted. Knowledge of depositional systems is necessary for determining the extent and thickness of key facies and thereby the spatial distribution of critical engineering/reservoir parameters. This information, along with other geologic input, is of utmost importance to engineers tasked with estimating reserves, and drilling, completing and operating wells.


John A. Breyer retired from Marathon Oil Company in 2018 after 7 years as a Senior Technical Consultant working in unconventional resources. He has extensive experience in the Barnett, Eagle Ford, and Bakken plays, and also the northern Delaware and central Oklahoma resource basins. John joined Marathon in 2011 after teaching for thirty-three years at Texas Christian University where he won numerous teaching, research and service awards.  On his retirement from TCU, he was named an Emeritus Professor of Geology.

John is an expert in the geology of shale resource systems. He put together the first two AAPG Memoirs on shale gas and shale oil reservoirs, respectively: Memoir 97 Shale Reservoirs—Giant Resources for the 21stCentury, and Memoir 110 The Eagle Ford Shale—A Renaissance in U.S. Oil Production. Memoir 97 received the Robert H. Dott Sr. Memorial award from AAPG as the Association’s best technical publication in 2012.  In September 2021, a special issue of the AAPG Bulletin was devoted to a new play concept developed by John. The issue is entitled Carrier Beds as Reservoirs: Linking Conventional and Unconventional Resources

John received the President’s Award from the Houston Geological Society in 2017 and the GCAGS Outstanding Educator Award in 2005. Most of his former students are in the oil and gas industry. John has authored or co-authored more than seventy articles in international and national scientific journals. Based on his research contributions he was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 1991. His presentations at national meetings have twice been recognized for excellence by his peers.

In October, 2013, John spent two weeks hiking in the Himalayas as a participant in the National Geographic Society trip, Bhutan: The Sacred Valley Trek. In 2014 he spent three weeks in Russia and a week in Japan. In 2015, much to his younger colleagues’ surprise, John survived a hike into the Mt. Everest base camp.  In the past John has been to Scotland, England, France, Argentina and Chile to take in the scenery, and to Abu Dhabi, Poland, Norway and Germany on business. In 2016, John crossed the Andes on the Inca trail into Machu Picchu, hiked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and visited Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Since then, he has hiked along the Great Wall in China and ridden a camel and milked a yak in Mongolia.

Honors and Awards:

President’s Award, Houston Geological Society, 2017

AAPG Robert H. Dott Sr. Memorial Award, 2014

Inclusiveness & Intercultural Services Faculty Appreciation Award, 2009, 2011

Mortar Board "Preferred Professor", 1987, 1992, 1999, 2004, 2011

Cultural, Community and International Services MVP Award, 2011

College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award, 2007, 2010

Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Outstanding Educator Award, 2005

Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU Community, 2004

Faculty Recognition Award Campus Life and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 2003

College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Teaching Award, 2002

Conference USA University Excellence Award, 2002

Minority Affairs Program Faculty Recognition Award, 1999

Honors Program Faculty Recognition Award, 1998

Elizabeth Youngblood Proffer Award, 1994

Elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, 1991

Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, 1990

Honorable Mention, Best Paper Award (Coal Geology Division), GSA, 1990

Best Paper Award (Energy Minerals Division), AAPG, 1984


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