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One-Day - Upstream (Exploration and Production)  

Course Information


 Upcoming Courses 

Houston Galleria Location

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Regular Price: $799

Early Bird Price (60 days early): $639


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This one-day course covers the key functional areas involved in the “upstream” (exploration and production) sector of the oil and gas industry and includes a brief discussion of the roles served by the midstream and downstream functions. The course also provides context by discussing the background and structure of the industry and weaves in current topics such as unconventional drilling (shale, etc.) and current market dynamics. The course is brisk-paced and information-packed and uses a variety of media to enhance learning including photos, graphics, animations, video, physical samples and question-and-answer sessions using electronic response cards.


Major Topics:

  • Industry Background and Structure
  • Geology and Exploration
  • Mineral Rights and Leasing
  • Drilling and Completion
  • Development and Production Operations

Key Learning Objectives:


After attending the course, attendees should be able to:

  • Explain the key functional and commercial activities in the upstream sector and recognize how they relate to their own company and their own role
  • Cooperate more effectively with people in other functional areas by better understanding their roles and the terminology used
  • Improve workflow quality by better understanding the sources of information and the purpose and uses of their work output
  • Recognize the key drivers of revenues and costs, giving them tools to identify how they can make a difference through their own actions
  • Understand how industry trends and challenges require adjustment to changing needs

Course Format:


This is an instructor-led course presented live to groups. Questions and discussion are welcome at any time. Participants will enjoy using our electronic response card system that allows them to test their knowledge with quiz questions at the end of each topic. Each person is provided a response card and group responses are displayed real-time (no individual is singled out). These quiz sessions reinforce course content and encourage participation. Attendees will receive course binders with color copies of the slides presented.


Who Should Attend

Every newcomer to the industry should take this course. However, anyone working in or with the oil and gas industry would benefit because the course provides a broader and more-comprehensive overview of the industry than can usually be obtained from on-the-job learning or even most petroleum-related coursework.


This is a popular course with our oil and gas company clients and we regularly do in-house presentations at various company locations. They favor this course because the information is helpful to a wide variety of employees and the 1-day format is time-and-cost efficient. Despite the word “Introduction” in the course title, attendees tend to have a diverse range of job functions, prior work experience and educational backgrounds. Some of the strongest feedback comes from experienced employees that are thankful that we filled in their knowledge gaps.


We also present to industry contractors and suppliers because they want to better understand their clients’ businesses and needs. They also want to be able to communicate more effectively with customers in situations ranging from product discussions to relationship-building chats.


A long list of professionals would also benefit from the course including investors, bankers, auditors, tax professionals, attorneys, insurance representatives, regulators and more. They could help themselves and their clients by broadening their working knowledge.


Now, more than ever, is the time to take this course! The industry faces some difficult challenges and those working in the industry need to better understand the complexities of their environment – both in the broader market and within their workplace.

Course Content

Hydrocarbons and their uses - Oil and gas are made of a diverse mix of hydrocarbon molecules and a basic understanding up front is useful throughout the course. Learn about hydrocarbon characteristics and understand terms such as wet/rich gas, condensate, NGL, residue gas, CNG, LNG, crude gravity, sour gas/crude and units of oil and gas measurement. Learn how crude gravity impacts refined product yields, and therefore, crude prices. See physical samples of crude oil types and get a whiff of some crude if you dare. Learn how gas plants and refineries separate hydrocarbon types, and which types have the highest value.


Sectors of the Oil and Gas Industry - Learn about the “upstream,“ “midstream,” and “downstream” sectors and key activities within each sector. Learn about “unconventional” oil and gas types such as shale and tight rock, coalbed methane and oil sands. Learn the difference between an integrated company and an independent company. Learn about companies that support the industry such as contractors and suppliers, gas processors and transporters.


Historical Background - Learn briefly how the industry began and evolved, and how the early beginnings still have an impact on the industry today.


Major Oil and Gas Producers - See a ranking of the largest oil and gas companies in the industry today, their home countries, and which are integrated vs. independent. Also learn about government-owned national oil companies and how they have strongly impacted the industry by restricting access to investment opportunities.


Reserves and Production - See which countries and geographic areas have the most oil and gas, which are producing the most, and observe the large disparity. Observe the historical rig count and see that activity levels are much higher in industry-friendly areas. Observe the past peaks and valleys in drilling activity and the 20-year doldrums that created a talent gap. Learn about OPEC and its impact on the marketplace. Learn how the expansion of the LNG industry has opened up gas production opportunities around the globe.


US Activities - Learn about the shale-gas revolution, how it started, how it increased gas production and lowered gas prices, how activity shifted to tight oil drilling, and how oil production rose accordingly. Discuss how that and other new sources of production have contributed to the current price environment.

Organic Source - Dispel the myth that oil and gas comes from dead dinosaurs and learn how aquatic microorganisms have dropped large amounts of organic debris to the ocean floor in various area over geologic time. Learn how some of that debris was covered and preserved in the past by fine sediments and became integrated into fine-grained sedimentary rock such as shale.


Sediments and Sedimentary Rock - Learn about sources of sediments, how sediments can layer into thick accumulations, and how buried layers form rock. Learn about the key types of sedimentary rock important to oil and gas and their varying characteristic and roles in a petroleum system. Examine rock samples and see them magnified live on the screen at 220x.


Geologic Time and Plate Tectonics - Learn how the earth’s surface/crust changes through a process called plate tectonics. Learn how plate tectonics changes sedimentation patterns and distorts pre-existing layers. Observe how geoscientists think the earth’s surface has changed over time, explaining the diverse locations and altered characteristics of oil and gas basins.


Oil and Gas Formation, Migration and Traps - Learn how oil and gas can form within organic-rich sedimentary rock, such as shale, and how some of it can escape the rock and migrate underground. Learn about types of underground features that can trap migrating hydrocarbons in sizeable accumulations. Learn about rock porosity and permeability that make migration and trapping possible, and see in-class demonstrations of porosity and permeability. Learn how “conventional” traps/accumulations in good-quality rock differ from “unconventional” accumulations in poor-quality rock, such as the source shale.


Exploration Methods and Tools - Watch a visually-rich video that we produced explaining what geologists and geophysicists do and the methods and tools they use, depending on how much is already known about a prospective area. Hear about well logs and cores, well log correlation, outcrop analysis, satellite photos, gravity and magnetic surveys and seismic surveys.


Seismic - Learn how seismic is acquired and used to search for conventional traps or acquire information about unconventional layers. Learn the difference between 2-D and 3-D seismic. Learn how seismic is captured offshore.


Maps and Modeling - See types of maps that geoscientists use to review prospective areas. Learn briefly about computer models that may be built from seismic data, well log data and other information to analyze structures for both exploration and/or development.


Economic Factors - Learn how exploration is a business and the goal is not just to find oil and gas, but to make money at it. Learn about the revenue, cost and commercial factors that must be considered in a decision to drill a well, as well as the overriding risks and opportunities that will influence the decision.
Minerals Ownership - Learn that almost all mineral rights around the world are owned by governments, regardless of who owns the surface of the land. Learn that the US is unique in that the majority of onshore rights are privately owned. Learn how mineral rights can be separated from surface rights in the US and that much of that has been done over the generations. Learn how mineral rights apply to oil and gas through the “rule of capture” and the potentially odd and/or undesirable consequences.


State Regulation - Learn how states have imposed regulations to manage the consequences of rule of capture and to protect the environment, limit waste and ensure fairness. Learn some of the types of regulations including well spacing, well density, proration, permitting and monitoring. See an example of how density and spacing apply and how horizontal drilling has required changes. See a list of state regulatory agencies and hear about the myriad of other state and federal regulations that make regulatory compliance a big job.


Leasing - Learn about the most-common method used in the US for oil and gas companies to obtain rights to explore for oil and gas. Learn about the key elements of a lease including the lease term, bonus, royalty, delay rentals and the rights and obligations of the parties. Learn about pooling/unitization. Learn how unconventional plays have increased leasing costs and created more surface-use concerns and agreements.


Joint Ownership - Learn how mineral rights ownership is often divided among several parties and the challenges of acquiring all of the rights. Learn how oil and gas companies often end up owning interests in the same work area and must elect one party to operate under a joint operating agreement.


Land Functions - See a video explaining positions and functions in an oil company land department including landmen, lease/title analysts and division order analysts.


Leasing of US Federal Mineral Rights - Learn briefly about mineral rights owned by the US government and the agencies that management them. Learn how the Bureau of Land Management conducts onshore leasing and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management conducts offshore leasing, See which offshore areas are open to leasing.


International Mineral Rights - Hear brief mention of different forms of mineral rights agreements used internationally.
Well Purpose and Design - Learn about the different purposes of exploration, appraisal and development wells, how wells are planned, and vertical, directional and horizontal designs.


Site Preparation - Learn briefly about preparing a well site including the access road and pad, cellar, conductor hole, mouse hole, and potentially a mud pit.


Rig mobilization and Rig-up - See brief video segments on trucking in rig components and assembling them in rapid order.


Drilling and Completion - Our company produced the most-comprehensive drilling video available anywhere, covering the drilling and completion of a horizontal well by a modern, advanced-capability rig. The video provides a rig-floor view of activities and has animations of activities downhole. See segments covering: the planned well path, starting/spudding the well; the rig structure and components; the rig crew and company man; rig functions including hoisting, rotating and circulating; tripping pipe in and out; casing and cementing; drilling mud/fluids; the curve section and directional drilling; the lateral section and horizontal drilling; and well stimulation and completion using hydraulic fracturing.


Offshore Drilling - Learn about the different types of rigs used in offshore drilling and some of the key differences from land drilling. See an animation we produced showing how a subsea well is drilled from a floating rig.
Well Evaluation - Learn how drilled wells are evaluated to determine whether the results justify the potentially-substantial additional costs required to “complete” the well and establish production. Learn briefly how evaluation data can be obtained from well logs, well cores and drillstem tests. Those tests also help determine how best to complete the well and design the production facilities.


Project Economics - Learn briefly how geologists and engineers evaluate a reservoir, analyze development options and project revenues and costs to determine the most-profitable development plan.


Well Completion - See brief animations of well completion including the production casing, perforating, fracturing, tubing and packer, and Christmas tree.


Reservoir Behavior - Learn how oil and gas behaves in a reservoir and see animations of the natural forces within a reservoir that drive oil and gas toward wells.


Artificial Lift - Learn that artificial lift may be needed to get fluid to the surface if the reservoir does not have enough energy to push fluids all the way up the wellbores. See animations of how pumpjacks and other artificial-lift methods work.


Surface Processing - Learn about surface facilities needed to separate and treat production, which may be a mixture of oil, gas and water. See animations showing a production site layout and the internal function of flowlines, manifold/headers, separator, heater/treater, tanks and water disposal facilities.


Gas Processing - See an animation of a gas processing plant that we produced to provide an easy-to-follow explanation of a complicated process.


Engineers - See a video that we produced showing the various types of engineering roles involved oil and gas including reservoir engineers, drilling engineers, completion engineers, facility engineers and operations engineers.


Depletion Stages - Learn briefly about “secondary” and “tertiary/EOR” methods that may be used to artificially-stimulate a reservoir to produce more oil after the “primary” stage if natural reservoir energy becomes depleted. See animations that we produced showing a secondary-recovery waterflood and a tertiary/EOR-recovery CO₂ flood.


Unconventional Production - Learn how production from tight rock such as shale differs substantially from conventional-reservoir production in terms of the types of wells, drilling patterns, completion methods, production profiles and recovery percentages.


Offshore Operations - Learn about the platforms-types used to drill, process and store offshore production, including fixed platforms, compliant towers, tension-leg platforms, Spar platforms, FPUs, FSOs and FPSOs. It’s not difficult to understand. Learn about subsea production including subsea trees and umbilicals.


Reserves - Learn briefly about how oil and gas reserves are reported by all public companies, what “proved” reserves means, and some of the key rules for determining proved reserves.



Topics and Schedule for Courses Offered at Our Facility


  Start Finish Hours:Mins


8:00 AM

8:15 AM


Industry Background and Structure

8:15 AM

9:45 AM



9:45 AM

9:55 AM


Geology and Exploration

9:55 AM

11:30 AM



11:30 AM

12:15 PM


Mineral Rights and Leasing

12:15 PM

1:25 PM


Drilling and Completion

1:25 PM

3:10 PM



3:10 PM

3:20 PM


Development and Production Operations

3:20 PM

4:30 PM



"I am so impressed by the amount of information I learned about the oil and gas industry in just one day! I am leaving with more than just an overview. The variety of PowerPoint, videos, pictures & activities kept my interest and enhanced the learning environment. The instructor kept a good pace, was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer questions well." – HSE Employee
"Great course and instructor. The material is good for people new to the industry as well as someone with several years of experience. Great drilling video and visual aids for geology." – Geologist
"This course is a perfect opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of all of the oil and gas industry essentials, providing you with a strong base to build on. Impressive course – great instructor, well organized and interesting. A highly useful day"– Landman
"Very well organized. Presented in such way that anyone could understand the material. The pictures, diagrams and videos were awesome and helped cement what was discussed in class.”– Accountant

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