The Daniel J. Tearpock Geoscience Certification Program aka “Geoscience Boot Camp”

How do you jump-start an entry-level employee into a contributing geoscientist who will help find and develop new resources and reserves of oil and gas?

SCA’s Daniel J. Tearpock Geoscience Certification Program (aka “Geoscience Boot Camp”) is a great place to start.

Click Here to View Upcoming Session Dates and Register Now!

This intensive 12-week training program includes six weeks of classroom courses taught by SCA’s top instructors, followed by a six-week interpretation and mapping project.  Participants learn fundamental interpretation, engineering, and mapping skills, and then put those skills to the test using seismic data, well logs, and production information from an actual development prospect. During the project phase, SCA engages a team of senior-level geoscientists to serve as mentors to the participants and help guide their interpretation and decision-making process. The program, as featured in the February 2009 issue of the AAPG Explorer, is designed to quickly raise the competency level and knowledge of the participants in a short period of time.

Our world class roster of instructors and mentors includes: Robert Maute, Ph.D., Joseph Brewton, Roger Slatt, Ph.D., James J. Willis, Ph.D., Alan Cherry, Donald Lanman, Gary Chapman, Julia Wellner, Ph.D., Robert C. Shoup, Lansing Taylor, Ph.D.

Since its debut in 2008, SCA’s Geoscience Boot Camp has trained scores of participants from around the world. Many of our participants are employees of national oil companies that are seconded to major US-based oil and gas companies. Major oil companies have found our program valuable in meeting training obligations for foreign nationals.

Due to popular demand, we have started offering the program twice a year, and can also accommodate additional sessions upon special request with a minimum commitment of ten attendees.

Who Should Attend?

This program is recommended for new university graduates with up to three years of experience and entry-level employees from different disciplines such as mining, environmental geology, earthquake seismology, etc. It is also highly recommended for employees of national oil companies that are seconded to major US-based oil and gas companies.

Tuition Cost:

The 2015 tuition per participant is US$43,500.  A deposit of US$5,000 is due upon registration.  The remainder of the tuition is due 30 days prior to the start of the program.

What Does Tuition Include?

Program tuition includes course materials, breakfast, lunch, and field trips to locations such as Galveston and the Texas Hill Country. The field trips provide exposure to modern depositional systems along with structural geology and sequence stratigraphy in outcrops.

Tuition fees for the Geoscience Boot Camp do not include lodging, evening meals, transportation to and from Houston and local transportation for the participant.   Shipment of training materials back to the participant’s home country is the responsibility of the participant. Class size is limited so register early!

Contact Mary Atchison, Vice President of Training Operations, for more information on upcoming sessions or scheduling an in-house session.

Where Are Classes Held?

Classes are held at SCA’s Training Facility in Houston’s Energy Corridor, or can be scheduled on-site in your facility.

Will SCA Assist with Accommodations?

The costs of lodging, evening meals, and transportation (with the exception of field trips) are the responsibility of the participant’s sponsoring company. However, SCA’s program coordinator will assist in obtaining budget-friendly housing near the training center, and will provide local guidance on close-by restaurants, shopping, and other services.

Extra-curricular opportunities abound: Houston is a vibrant, international city. In the 2013 sessions, participants visited NASA, attended outdoor music festivals, and took advantage of the city’s many entertainment and cultural offerings.

Is This Course Certified by an Outside Agency?

SCA is authorized by IACET to offer 23.2 CEUs for this program.

Course Schedule

# Days


Basics of the Petroleum Industry/Structural Styles in Petroleum Exploration and Production/Structural and Sequence Stratigraphy Field Course

7 days


Practical Seismic Exploration and Development

5 days


Practical Interpretation of Open Hole Logs

5 days


Clastic Reservoirs: Interpretation and Prediction

5 days


Applied Subsurface Geological Mapping

5 days


Seismic Interpretation Workshop/Basic Petroleum Engineering for Non-Engineers/Modern Depositional Systems Field Course

6 days

Project Schedule


Phase I: Initial Exploration – Delineate Prospects – Drill Exploration Well

5 days


Phase II: Assess Discovery – Refine Interpretation

5 days


Phase III-A: Field Development – Drill Development Well

5 days


Phase III-A: Field Development Continued

6 days


Phase III-B: Explore for Additional Prospects

5 days


Phase IV: Field Performance Analysis – Results of Other Exploration Prospects

3 days


Phase V: Present Report and Project Results

1.5 days


Graduation Celebration

0.5 days



Starting in Week 7 of the program, the participants will begin to conduct a detailed interpretation and mapping project.  The project is a subset of exploration acreage with nearby producing fields in an extensional tectonic setting.  Data available includes: 2-D seismic, well logs, and engineering data.

The Six (6) Week Project is divided into Five (5) phases. It is designed to provide hands-on training that results in the participants developing a solid foundation in geological and geophysical interpretation and mapping, as well as an understanding of the application of reservoir engineering, log analysis, risk analysis, and probabilistic and deterministic resources estimation.

The project is conducted in a lease block that exists in an extensional tectonic basin with an abundance of normal growth and non-growth faults providing opportunities for potential prospects. The complex geology in the project area will challenge the participants in their interpretation of both the geological and geophysical data. This type of complex geology is encountered in many areas around the world. The six (6) weeks of training courses taught prior to the project are designed and selected to prepare the participants to meet the geological, geophysical and engineering challenges of this project, as well as lay a foundation of knowledge for a successful career.


Participants start the project by getting an overview of the regional geology of the project area including the structural style, depositional environments, and sequence stratigraphy, as well as information on producing fields in and around the project area.  The participants are divided into teams of 2-3 geoscientists per team. Each team will compete against the other teams to generate the best interpretation and maps over the project area resulting in the discovery and development of hydrocarbons.
Note: Each participant will perform all tasks required during this project and actively participate in discussions and decision making by his/her team. One objective of the project is to provide each participant a team environment for discussions and professional interaction with other members.

A company called SPX owns the acreage in and around the project area. The company has set an exploration and development budget for this area. The teams, working within budget, will have access to the previous wells drilled in the area and information on nearby producing fields which can be used as analogs in their exploration activities.

Each team will initially discuss and select, for purchase, a limited amount of 2-D seismic data. Using the seismic data and the available wells, the teams will begin their interpretation work. Each participant will correlate well logs, interpret seismic sections, and build one or more cross sections. Using the regional information regarding the likely pay sections and correlating the log data to the seismic data, the participants will begin the initial integrated interpretation of key faults and multiple potential objective horizons (at least three). They will carry out AVO and/or seismic attribute analysis for DHI.

Based on their work, the participants should identify the best prospect in their project area. The participants will generate prospect maps, and estimate the size and potential resources of the prospect. Working with a reservoir engineering specialist and using the available analog data, each team will make an initial estimate of Original In-Place and recoverable resources. Each team member will also conduct probabilistic and risk analyses to define the range of possible resources for the prospect. After completing the analyses, each team will recommend and defend a drilling location for the first exploration well. With the assistance of a drilling engineer, they will develop an AFE to estimate the cost of the well. The well will be approved and drilled.

If a team makes a discovery they will move on to Phase II. If any team drills a dry hole, that team will go back to their interpretation and including the newly drilled well data, reexamine, discuss and if necessary modify their work before selecting a second drilling location.

Based on the discovery, each team member will discuss and decide what additional seismic data are required to fully assess and develop the new discovery. Using the new seismic data, the information from the discovery well and the available analog data, the participants will assess the discovery (Does it meet pre-drill expectations? Depth, areal extent, estimated water contact, and estimated in-place hydrocarbons.)

Each participant will refine their interpretation of the discovery in order to propose a field development plan. The development plan will require more detailed interpretation and mapping.

Using all the refined interpretations and maps generated in PHASE II, completing engineering and economic analyses, each team will generate a field development plan. Each team will recommend an optimum number of wells to develop the field that will provide to their company an expected rate of return on its investment. A preliminary discounted cash flow analysis may be generated to justify the field plan and estimated expenditure.

Based on the results of the wells drilled, each participant will conduct a detailed evaluation and revise the maps for the new field. This will include log analysis to determine net sand and net pay in each well, the mapping of the top and base of porosity, net sand maps, and net pay maps.

Using the maps, the engineering data gathered from the wells drilled and analog field data, the participants will carry out a final volumetric (deterministic) estimate of the Original In-Place and recoverable hydrocarbons based on parameters such as porosity, permeability, gas-oil ratio, water saturation, estimated producing rates and recovery factor. The reservoir engineering specialist assigned to this field will help the participants run a final discounted cash flow analysis based on the teams work products.

Each team, after acquiring the new seismic data, will also begin to re-apply all the technology used in PHASE I in an attempt to locate additional prospects within the project area. This includes the interpretation and mapping of additional faults and multiple horizons (at least three). Using sound technical work (industry recommended practices), the participants should be able to identify one or more additional prospects within the study area. Each participant will estimate the areal extent, potential pay thickness and conduct a probabilistic estimate of Original In-Place hydrocarbons for the new prospects. Each team will recommend an exploration well to test the prospects generated.

The teams will jump (fast forward) 5 or so years into the future. With the assistance of a reservoir engineering specialist, each participant will evaluate the field performance of their first discovery against the volumetric estimates of recoverable hydrocarbons based on the detailed analysis and mapping conducted in PHASE III-A.

In addition, the project team advisors will discuss with the teams the results of the drilling of the other prospects identified during PHASE III-B.

Each participant and team will develop a report on their project, and make a final presentation to a management team.


After each participant and team has presented their results, the SCA project advisors and mentors will summarize and compare the results of each team.

This project area has already been interpreted, mapped and evaluated by an experienced team of geologists, geophysicists, and engineers. The project was conducted using both hand methods and workstation technology using 3-D seismic data, nearly 100 wells and the production history for all the producing reservoirs. The SCA advisors will review and show the results of the project based on all the additional data that the team did not have available and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a workstation to interpret the seismic data and using a computer to generate the fault and horizon maps.

The participants will get an appreciation of the difference between interpretation and mapping by hand versus using a workstation. Specifically, they will learn important techniques for manually interpreting well logs and seismic data as well as generating fault and horizon maps. They will also learn equally important methods of integrating horizons with faults, by hand and on the workstation, to accurately position fault polygons, and how to honor fault components like vertical separation to generate structure maps in faulted areas. These methods are vitally important and critical in many respects including the location of exploration or development wells and the accurate estimation of reserves or resources. No one wants to drill a dry hole or have a reserves write-down!!!

Most computer programs do not honor important fault components such as vertical separation (missing or repeated section) when contouring across faults. These detailed techniques often have to be done through hand editing or special computer programs. The participants will learn these important techniques and their application in daily exploration and development activities.


This twelve week program offers an applied learning experience that could easily take up to 2 or 3 years to accomplish in a working oil company environment. Such a program conducted in an oil company office could easily cost several hundred thousand dollars per participant. During the Geoscience Boot Camp, participants have the advantage of on-site mentors and advisors to guide them step by step through the exploration, development and production phases of the project. This is a learning experience without parallel in the upstream oil and gas industry.

Note: This twelve (12) week program is not intended to provide the training and experience required in all aspects of upstream exploration, development and production necessary for all geoscientists to learn. The program is designed to jump-start a new hire or someone entering the oil and gas industry from another discipline such as mining or environmental geology. The program is intended to advance the ability of the participant to become a contributing geoscientist to help find new resources of oil and gas.