Archive of Texas PTTC Workshops

Well Cuttings Workshop

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Houston Research Center
The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology
11611 West Little York Road, Houston, Texas 77041-4715

Course Description
This one-day workshop looked at well cuttings from the standpoint of sample description and reservoir facies analysis. The theory was presented, then followed by a hands-on exercise, looking first at artificial well cuttings to gain confidence in the ability to recognize composition, texture, porosity, and hydrocarbon shows in very small samples. Several examples of poured-out well cuttings were "walked through," discussing pitfalls, problems, and ways to get the job done more effectively. The class ended with an exercise on which the participants described well cuttings.

Program Outline
I. Lecture on the art/science of examining well cuttings
II. Intro to The Soft Rock Cafe...basic petrographic reference material on CD-ROMs
III. Workshop exercises
a) Looking at artificial cuttings--"as good as it ever gets!"
b) "Walking through poured cuttings" for a few wells
c) A hands-on exercise in logging typical, average well cuttings...yours or ours?

Clif Jordan and James Lee Wilson
Clif Jordan holds a PhD degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas, specializing in the petrology of sedimentary rocks. He has worked the last thirty years in the petroleum industry for Shell, Conoco, and Mobil in assignments involving international exploration, production, research, and technical training. He has published extensively in the field of carbonate geology, especially with regard to sample examination techniques, reservoir facies relationships, and modern carbonate sediments.

In the last few years, he formed Integrated Data Services, Inc., a U.S.–based consulting company, working as with James Lee Wilson who was his professor at Rice. They work on consulting and training projects for major oil companies and for host-government companies around the world. Professor Wilson's career cannot be summarized here for brevity's sake...with numerous industry and academic honors, and now recognized as a renowned consultant. Please see our website at for further information.

Typical Audience
Exploration and production geologists, who rely on cuttings to tell them about depositional facies, diagenetic overprints, and reservoir porosity; mudloggers, who generally log the physical properties of cuttings, will appreciate the benefits of adding geologic descriptions and interpretations.

For more information about this and other PTTC workshops, please contact Sigrid Clift at
512-471-0320 or e-mail