Short Courses


Students attending Short Courses can receive a 50% tuition reimbursement from the Montana Geological Society by filling out a form available from the course instructor.

Petrophysical Evaluation of Unconventional Resources

Date: Saturday, June 24, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Location: Double Tree – 2nd floor – Skybridge One

Instructor: Jack Breig

Fee: $275; includes lunch, break refreshments and workbook 

Course description: The course will cover the petrophysical approaches to the evaluation of Shale Oil, Tight Gas Sands, and Shale Gas Techniques using both open and cased hole logs. Attendees will learn basic interpretation procedures to determine porosity, hydrocarbon saturation, TOC, volumes of in-place hydrocarbons, recoverable hydrocarbon estimates, and net pay criteria. Worked examples from a number of North American reservoirs will be part of a comprehensive workshop manual to be provided to all attendees.


Jack Breig is a Petrophysical Consultant with Precision Petrophysics in Denver. He was formerly the Chief Petrophysicist with Whiting Petroleum and a Senior Petrophysicist with Newfield Exploration. His experiences with unconventional resources include foundational studies on the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma, and development of advanced evaluation programs for the Bakken, Three Forks, Niobrara, Eagle Ford, and Marcellus formations. Jack is a member of SPWLA, AAPG, SPE, and the current VP-Technology for the Denver Well Logging Society.

Geology: How it can Influence Hydraulic Fracturing

Date: Sunday, June 25,  8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Location: Double Tree – 2nd floor – Skybridge One

Instructor: Monte Besler, FRACN8R Consulting, LLC

Fee: $80; includes break refreshments and workbook

Course Description Hydraulic fracturing has become a very important factor in the successful completion of oil and gas wells, as we continue to go after increasingly higher hanging fruit in the reservoir tree. Reservoir characterization, using geological input, is an essential cog in the process of determining the type of completion equipment and hydraulic fracturing process needed to optimize results. In this course we will link some of commonly gathered geological parameters to the fracturing techniques, fluids, chemicals, etc.


Monte Besler has 37 years of experience in the industry, mostly in Williston Basin, Powder River Basin, NW Colorado, and Montana. He has worked for Halliburton and Amerada Hess, and is currently a consultant based in Williston, ND. Mr. Besler has developed new solutions to old problems throughout the Northern Rockies, and is a widely recognized expert in hydraulic fracturing and acidizing. He has authored or coauthored ten technical articles, and has made numerous presentation at industry conferences. Mr. Besler graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology with a BS degree in Geological Engineering.

Petroleum Geostatistics

Date: Sunday, June 25, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Location: Double Tree – 2nd floor – Skybridge Two

Instructor: Todd Hoffman

Fee: $250; includes lunch, break refreshments and workbook

Course Description.

Reservoir models are an important part of optimizing the development of our fields; thus, the models need to be built as accurately as possible and geostatistics is a set of tools that allow us to construct more realistic models. This course will teach you how to use those geostatistical tools to create high quality petroleum reservoir models.

The course begins by exploring ways to model geologic continuity – e.g. what is a variogram and what is a training image, and how do they work? Fundamental techniques to calculate petrophysical properties such as kriging and sequential simulation are then covered in great detail. Next, we will examine more recent techniques such as object based methods and multipoint geostatistics, which are good for modeling facies and rock types. We will discuss how to integrate data from many different sources and at many different scales. Finally, we will look at ways to quantify uncertainty in our models, as geostatistics also provides methods to make that job easier.

We will use hands-on examples to create a deeper understanding of the methods as well as use software to perform field scale applications. By the end of the course, you will know when and how to use particular techniques and the general concepts and equations behind them.


Todd Hoffman is an Associate Professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Montana Tech. He teaches classes on Reservoir Simulation, EOR and Unconventional Reservoirs. Prior to that, he was a reservoir engineering consultant to the oil and gas industry specializing in flow modeling and fractured reservoirs. He was also a petroleum engineering professor at Colorado School of Mines, where he taught courses on Geostatistics, Fluid Properties and Reservoir Engineering. He has over 15 years of combined experience in academia and industry. Todd has worked on reservoir models for more than 30 fields on six continents, and has published over 40 technical papers. His research involves improved recovery for conventional and unconventional oil reservoirs, fracture reservoir modeling and ensuring data consistency while history matching. Todd received his B.S. in petroleum engineering from Montana Tech and his M.S. and his Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.

An Introduction to Core Analytical Techniques

Date: Wednesday – June 28 – 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

Location: Double Tree – 2nd floor – Skybridge One

Instructors: Michael Hofmann and Richard Patience

Fee: $215; includes lunch, break refreshments and workbook

Cores offer a unique opportunity to obtain vertically continuous rock samples from the subsurface and enhance our ability to predict reservoir architecture and performance, and maximize hydrocarbon recovery. Properly analyzed cores provide direct evidence of basic geologic, petrophysical and geochemical properties essential to correctly calibrate other petrophysical and geophysical tools. This six hour seminar is designed for any E&P professional wanting to learn about different core analysis techniques applicable to conventional and unconventional plays. This course will provide participants with both an overview of various uses of core and a better understanding of the value and limitations of special and routine core analytical techniques, including core photography, lithologic core description, petrography, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, computed tomography scanning, TOC, pyrolysis (Rock Eval), vitrinite reflectance, and oil analysis, among others. This collaborative seminar will also include discussion about sample selection, core and sample handling, and core and sample storage. In addition to learning about the role of these techniques in reservoir characterization, the participants will have the opportunity to spend some time describing core and discuss their decision-making process on sample selection with their peers. The core description will be aided by the use of portable and non-destructive analytical techniques critical to help with selecting the most meaningful sample intervals.



Biography – Michael H. Hofmann:

Michael is a native of Germany and has lived and worked in Montana and Texas for the last 15 years. He is the co-founder and CEO of AIM GeoAnalytics, providing standard and integrated geologic core analyses. He has worked for ConocoPhillips’ Subsurface Technology Sedimentary Systems and Shale Stratigraphy Research Groups in Houston, TX. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Montana.

Biography – Richard Patience:

Richard is from London, England and has lived in Houston, Texas for the last 15 years. He worked as a petroleum geochemist for BP, Statoil, Unocal, and Chevron during a 30 year career, on projects that ranged from frontier exploration to production problems. He has been chairman of the European Association of Organic Geochemists, and now works for Applied Petroleum Technology, a Norwegian services company that specializes in geochemistry and biostratigraphy.