N310 Carbonate Reservoir Modelling and Field Development Planning (Provence, France)

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
Physical Demand:
4.0 Continuing Education Units
40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


Using analogue outcrops in the Luberon and Cassis area of Southern France, this course develops workflows for static and dynamic modelling in carbonate reservoirs, covering in particular the issues of conceptual reservoir characterisation, the handling of scale and the representation of fracture detail in cellular models. The analogue section chosen is a direct analogue for Shuaiba/Kharaib Middle East reservoirs, including high and low energy areas of rudist platforms, inner and outer shelves and chalks. The modelling principles are transferable to other carbonate environments.  

Duration and Training Method

A five day field-based course based in Gordes and Cassis, Provence, Southern France. The event will be conducted wholly in the field. Course delivery will be shared between a geoscientist and a reservoir engineer to ensure balanced, integrated delivery to a cross-discipline group. Outcrop-based reservoir models and forward-modelled seismic will be used to support discussion. The focus will be on experiential learning with mixed-discipline group-based tasks. Short talks will be given at the outcrop and simple calculations demonstrated using rules-of-thumb to assist analysis.This course will also make use of Digital Outcrop Imagery (DOI).

Participants will learn to:

  1. Characterise a carbonate reservoir in terms of essential reservoir elements and describe the architectural arrangement of those elements.
  2. Evaluate reservoir property distributions for those elements in a form suitable for input to static/dynamic reservoir modelling.
  3. Judge the scale at which a static/dynamic modelling exercise should be conducted, including any need for multi-scale modelling.
  4. Prepare rules of thumb for effective property modelling in carbonates at a range of scales.
  5. Assess fracture systems in carbonates and explain the options for modelling them (explicit DFN vs. implicit effective properties).
  6. Apply the concept of representative elementary volumes (REV) to fractured and unfractured carbonates.
  7. Analyse the seismic expression of large scale outcrops based on underlying cellular model description.
  8. Evaluate the issues governing well placement in carbonates under a range of conditions.
  9. Propose an optimal development plan for a carbonate reservoir under a range of contrasting fluid fills.

Carbonate reservoirs are often poorly modelled, and the distinction between workflows for carbonates and clastics is often missed. The lack of clear k/phi relationships in carbonates distinguishes them from their clastic counterparts, and fractures in particular can be difficult to model without convoluted workflows.  The course tackles these issues and gives practical advice on how to model these reservoirs.

Reservoir modelling schemes are applied to contrasting analogue outcrops in the Luberon area.  These cover environments ranging from inner to outer platforms through shelf to proximal basin, including a spectactular karstified fracture system. The outcrops selected are age-equivalent analogues for Middle Eastern Shuaiba/Kharaib carbonates on the opposing side of Tethys, and specialist interpretative input to the course is provided by Jean Pierre Masse from the University of Marseilles, an authority in his field.

Static and dynamic expertise will be provided by AGR TRACS geoscientist and reservoir engineering tutors who are active in reservoir modelling, simulation and development planning.

Topics covered include:

  • Carbonate reservoir characterisation
  • Fracture characterisation
  • Model scale and upscaling
  • Representative elementary volumes in carbonates
  • Seismic forward modelling in carbonates
  • Well placement
  • Simulation and forecasting in carbonates


The chosen analogue areas for model design exercises are the Orgon area (shelf and proximal basin chalks) and platform carbonates of the Rustrel and La Nesque areas. The large outcrops at la Nesque lend themselves well to the seismic forward modelling task. Karsts and faults/fractures are superbly represented in the Fontaine du Vaucluse area.


Day 0: Arrival
Arrival in Marseilles, transfer to Gordes.

Day 1: Orgon

The class begins with a short introductory lecture and course safety brief.

  • Orientation and Context
    - Regional tectonics, Tethys
    - Stratigraphy v-a-v Qatar
  • Lateral Homogeneity
    - Critical order of magnitude k
    - Kv/Kh
    - Three forces
    -  Dispersive nature of the subsurface

Day 2: Rustrel

  • Lateral Heterogeneity
    - Small-scale k heterogeneity
    - Handling scale
    - Thief zones
    - Forecasting water breakthrough

Day 3: La Nesque

  • Large Scale Architecture
    - Gross architecture
    - Imagine on seismic
    - Coning behaviour
    - Large scale vs. small scale models

Transfer to Cassis.

Day 4: Cassis

  • Fractures and Karst
    - Damage zone architecture
    - Matrix vs. fracture flow
    - Modelling fractures
    - Completion options

Day 5: Cassis (2)

  • Carbonate Model Design
    - Sector model design
    - Scenarios

Day 6: Departure
Group departs from Marseilles.

Who should attend

Ideally integrated petroleum engineering teams working on development planning in carbonates. The course is aimed at a cross-discipline audience including reservoir engineers, geoscientists, petrophysicists and others involved in well placement in carbonate fields.

Prerequisites and linking courses

Knowledge of reservoir modelling and simulation will be assumed at least at awareness level. New modellers working on carbonate fields will not be out of their depth, neither will experienced modellers.

This is an applied version of N386 (Reservoir Model Design, Pembrokeshire, UK), relevant to the specific issues which emerge in carbonate reservoirs.

Also of interest to participants attending this course may be N236 (Addressing Carbonate Reservoir Description Challenges), N923 (Fractured Reservoir Characterisation and Modelling), N059 (Applied Carbonate Geology: Carbonate Facies and Reservoirs, Mallorca and Menorca, Spain), N073 (Workshop in Geological Seismic Interpretation: Carbonate Systems), N091 (Carbonate Reservoir Architecture and Applied Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphy (West Texas and SE New Mexico, USA), N143 (Advanced Concepts in Carbonate Exploration and Reservoir Characterisation (Northern Spain) and N186 (Complex Carbonate Reservoirs: Influence of Facies and Tectonic Processes on Porosity Development (Southern Italy). Those wanting to focus on detailed carbonate reservoir description could consider N336 (Carbonate Reservoir Description based on Core and Well Data, Nottinghamshire, UK).

The Physical demands for this class are LOW according to the Nautilus field course grading system. This class requires a basic level of fitness. Field locations are all easily accessible requiring only a short walk from the vehicles. The longest walk is approximately 0.5 km along a road section. There will be one boat trip (weather dependent) to view key cliff exposures that can only be seen from offshore (1 hour duration).

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Mark Bentley

Richard Oxlade

I really enjoyed this course and I'll recommend it to my colleagues for the following reasons: right balance between outcrop observations and "modelling" exercises; great manual/material; new (and clearer) approach to modelling philosophy; great...