The challenge of multi-disciplinary and often multi-cultural teams in today’s oil companies is finding common educational experiences. Over the past several years ExxonMobil, along with several NOCs in the Middle East, have jointly developed a practical, field-based educational program. Field work provides a means of providing education in various aspects of reservoir description for people with disciplines as diverse as petrophysics, reservoir quality, stratigraphy, geologic modeling and reservoir simulation. Unlike a classroom setting where information flows from teacher to student, this experience provides: information exchange between specialists and generalists; an opportunity for individuals/ teams to teach themselves and each other through hands-on experience; and a platform for open discussion of technical issues and problem solving. Educational experiences range from measuring outcrop sections of subsurface analogs to mapping modern carbonate-siliciclastic-evaporite systems. In the example presented, Qatar’s geographic setting provides a unique opportunity to study modern sabkha depositional systems. Aside form formal instruction, multi-disciplinary teams were assigned to map three areas (approximately 3 to 5 square km), representing upper-, middle- and lower-sabkha environments; all interpretations were integrated at the conclusion of the field work. Participants developed skills which include: (1) understanding of grain, textural, and lateral facies and diagenetic relationships; (2) identification of the physical controls on exploration, development and production-scale depositional trends; (3) discussion of scaling issues related to reservoir-property distribution in three-dimensional geologic models and reservoir simulation. In conclusion, the field-based integrated education structure allowed for scientists from diverse cultural backgrounds to build and expand their skill-sets as well as develop important cultural awareness and an appreciation for diversity.


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