N432 Clastic Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development (Southern Pyrenees, Spain)

Course Facts

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


This field course integrates clastic sedimentology predictive models with reservoir characterisation for appraisal and field development, using case studies from the Cenozoic of the southern Pyrenees, Spain. Variations in depositional architecture are considered in terms of linked depositional systems including fluvial, coastal, shallow marine, slope and deepwater facies. The impacts of differing architectures on field development are considered, together with practical guidance on the choices available for building static and dynamic models.

This course facilitates integration between geoscientists, petrophysicists and engineers working in multi-disciplinary asset teams.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day field course in the southern Pyrenean foreland basins. The course is a mixture of field presentations, fieldwork including sedimentological exercises, modelling exercises/discussions and short classroom sessions.

Participants will learn to:
  1. Evaluate the sedimentology and basin fill architecture of a linked continental, shallow marine and deepwater depositional system.
  2. Predict significant changes in sedimentology and stratigraphic architecture, both  laterally and up or down dip in clastic reservoir systems.
  3. Integrate the interactions of the controls on sandstone body architecture.
  4. Assess the impact of depositional architectures, flow zones; and sedimentary heterogeneity on; potential recovery in different hydrocarbon fluid and development scenarios.
  5. Plan how both static and dynamic data can be incorporated to characterise depositional architecture.
  6. Evaluate and rate different modelling options for different architectures, fluids and development scenarios.
  7. Manage the issues of up-scaling in heterogenous clastic systems and select appropriate techniques to use in different scenarios.
Variations in stratigraphic architecture occur over short distances in clastic successions, both laterally and up or down dip, and strongly impact the production performance of a hydrocarbon reservoir. An understanding of the issues involved in developing different architectures in clastic systems and the decisions required to model these heterogenous reservoirs are critical to predicting the long-term production behaviour.

The southern Pyrenean foreland basins in northern Spain formed as a series of flexural basins south of the Pyrenean orogenic belt. The Pyrenees developed in the Cenozoic as a result of crustal shortening between the Eurasian plate to the north and the Iberian sub­plate to the south. Three linked foreland basins developed in the Eocene and within these are preserved the elements of a through-going depositional system from fluvial facies in the east to deep-water deposits in the west. The basins are separated by lateral thrust ramps across which slope deposits developed. These coeval Eocene strata provide an outstanding opportunity to examine variations down-system in clastic depositional facies.

In the Miocene renewed thrusting uplifted the Eocene units and a new foredeep developed further to the south. This later foreland basin is the Ebro Basin within which there are exceptionally-well exposed deposits of large distributive fluvial systems of early Miocene age. These provide examples of different architectures of fluvial channel and overbank facies and changes in reservoir characteristics can be examined within channel belts, in stacked channel successions and as down-system variations over tens of kilometres.

Exercises carried out at outcrops and in classroom sessions illustrate the influence of sedimentological architecture on modelling options for different development scenarios.  Predictive facies models will be discussed and their application to understanding the controls on the architectures developed and preserved in the rock record, from both an exploration and development perspective. Understanding the controls on fluid flow behaviour within the reservoir is key to determining how to model it for different development scenarios. The course will explore how to use static and dynamic data to differentiate between sedimentary architectures in the subsurface and examine production challenges posed by different sedimentary stacking and sedimentary depositional structures. Questions of scale, from core to log to outcrop to simulation model and then how to upscale in complex heterogenous environments will be discussed in the field and classroom.


Day 0

  • Arrival and travel to hotel in Tremp

Day 1

Fieldwork in Tremp area

  • Basin introduction
  • Tidally-influenced reservoir sandstone bodies in the Ager Basin
  • Sandy braided fluvial facies in a confined valley setting, Tremp Basin
  • Proximal pebbly braided river facies at the margin of the Ebro Basin
  • A series of stops in shallow marine and coastal facies

Overnight at hotel in Graus

Day 2

Fieldwork in the Ainsa area

  • Reservoir sedimentology of offshore and barrier bar complexes
  • Large-scale architecture of submarine fan channel complexes
  • Turbidite reservoir facies in a proximal, channelised setting
  • Core store visit of turbidite reservoir facies

Overnight at hotel in Ainsa

Day 3

Fieldwork in the Jaca area

  • Prograding shoreline and deltaic facies in mixed carbonate/clastic successions
  • Turbidite successions in submarine fan lobe complexes
  • Basin margin facies in an internally-drained basin setting

Overnight at hotel, Murillo de Gallego

Day 4

Fieldwork in the Ebro Basin, Huesca area

  • Reservoir-scale fluvial channel and overbank successions
  • Heterogeneity of meandering river deposits
  • Basin-margin facies variations and alluvial fan sedimentology

Overnight at hotel, Murillo de Gallego

Day 5

Fieldwork in Ebro Basin and return to Barcelona

  • Basin-margin fluvial facies and downstream facies transitions
  • Scale of reservoir heterogeneity in fluvial successions
  • Channel and overbank fluvial reservoir architecture and connectivity

Return to Barcelona

Who should attend

The course is aimed at geoscientists, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers who wish to better understand clastic depositonal systems and the practical application of that knowledge in the generation of effective static and dynamic models. Multi-disciplinary asset teams would benefit from attendance as a group. Managers and team leaders of such technical teams are also welcome.  

Prerequisites and linking courses

For those requiring an introduction to clastic sedimentology and reservoir geology there is: N155 (Introduction to Clastic Depositional Systems: A Petroleum Perspective). N033 (Characterisation, Modelling, Simulation and Development Planning in Deepwater Clastic Reservoirs (Tabernas, Spain)) is a good follow on course for those workng deepwater systems.

There are also several classes that would be a good introduction to geocellular modelling, in addition to reservoir development, including N008 (An Introduction to Reservoir Appraisal and Development) and N012 (Reservoir Modelling Field Class (Utah, USA)).

N412 (A Critical Guide to Reservoir Appraisal and Devlopment) is a complementary classroom course.

The physical demands for this class are LOW according to the Nautilus Training Alliance field course grading system. Fieldwork is carried out in the relatively gentle topography of the southern Pyrenees, at altitudes of 500-1200 m (1640-3940 ft). Access to the outcrops is easy, with many localities being roadside stops. Some short walks of up to 0.5 km take in riverside paths and scrub land. Transport will be by coach on paved roads.

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Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Stephanie Kape

Gary Nichols

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