N415 Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
2.4 Continuing Education Units
24 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


The course is designed to address the critical subsurface issues that control the business and investment decisions in appraisal or development projects. Participants will cover the background theory behind reservoir characterisation and compartmentalisation from a micro to macro scale and the impact of these on fluid behaviour, recovery and development options. The generation of appropriate static and dynamic models to address technical uncertainties to aid business decisions will be a key part of the course, as will an understanding of the impact of risk.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day classroom-based course with a mixture of lectures, practical exercises and case studies.

Participants will learn to:
  1. Assess the wide range of data which contribute to the understanding and development of hydrocarbon reservoirs, their use and associated uncertainties.
  2. Integrate different scales of data from pore properties to seismic scale into a decision-based workflow and gauge how these may influence development decisions.
  3. Analyse the controls on, and evolution of static/discovered hydrocarbon distribution (reservoir limits, contacts, saturation).
  4. Evaluate the use of both static and dynamic reservoir models as part of the decision making process. Assess the implications of the construction, structure and limitations of reservoir simulators.
  5. Demonstrate the importance of assessing fluid properties and fluid and rock PVT for reservoir description, material balance and flow assurance.
  6. Evaluate how reservoir energy (including aquifers), fluid responses, drive mechanisms and EOR processes can be managed in conjunction with an understanding of reservoir heterogeneity to maximise planned recovery.
  7. Examine the technical aspects of well testing and its use in both appraisal and development decisions as well as the potential to deepen understanding of the reservoir description.
The course is based around 5 key modules:
  1. Business Decisions
  2. Input Data
  3. Reservoir Characterisation: Connectivity  and Productivity
  4. Static and Dynamic Modelling
  5. VOI and wrap up

The course is framed by putting the technical part of an appraisal or development project into a business framework. In this way the participants can understand the key technical issues that will impact investment decisions. A critical review of input data follows. The theory section of the course is carried out through the following days. This takes an integrated view of the micro to macro issues surrounding reservoir characterisation, including aspects of geology, petrophysics, geophysics and reservoir engineering. The final section covers the applied side the subject in static and dynamic modelling and includes a brief discussion on VOI.

All lectures are illustrated with a wide selection of case studies and field examples, and participants will work both individually and in groups on a series of exercises.

The course does not rely on any particular interpretation or modelling software platform or workflow but does discuss the philosophy for their use.

A. Business Framework - this module covers the concepts of projects, decision points or stage gates and value. Where the key decision points occur in development of projects alongside how we can begin to address the value of new data. This section addresses risk – how risks and uncertainties permeate business decisions and how they can be managed.

B. Data- the data that underpin any appraisal or development are discussed in this module. We address the key issues of scale, and understand the difference between measured and interpreted data. Topics covered: positional uncertainty seismic data and mapping (issues associated with well ties and pick uncertainty, velocity and depth conversion, processing and migration, noise and the use of advanced seismic products, AVO etc.), well data – petrophysical logs and their associated uncertainty, depth of investigation and interpretation issues, plus depth referencing, core  data- RCA and SCAL measurements, pitfalls in interpretation and handling and PVT and fluid data measurements.

C. Reservoir Characterisation: Connectivity and Productivity

C.1. Micro scale - we discuss the impact of the pore scale on the reservoir properties.The evolution of different pores and the diagenesis is covered for clastics, shales and carbonates.This section looks at the impact of reservoir properties such as wettability and capillary and saturation effects, FWL and how they relate to different pores and lithologies.

C.2. Meso scale - addresses the role of heterogeneity within the reservoir, how the way in which the reservoir was deposited (carbonate or clastic) can impact the recovery over a production scale.

We also look at the role of fracture networks and dual permeability systems, how to recognise them and understand their potential impact. Topics covered: impact of depositional environment, sedimentary heterogeneity  by depositional environment, deposition vs preservation, connectivity in 3D, the role of bed scale features on recovery – baffles and barriers and layering, correlations and correlation uncertainty, Discrete Fracture Networks (DFN) and dual perm systems, how to recognise a DFN, the role of present day and paleo stress, dual permeability systems in carbonates.

C.3. Macro Scale - examines the big,‘field sized’ container, looks at structural compartmentalisation and the role of contacts, seals and the petroleum system. Topics covered: structural style and faulting, faults and fault rock properties, hydrocarbon contacts and pressure systems, seals – dynamic and basin scale. Compartmentalisation of both depositional architecture and structure are shown, in a variety of tectonic settings (contractional belts, extensional basins, carbonate build ups).

C.4. Productivity - this section addresses the dynamic issues of fluid flow within a reservoir, and how the reservoir characterisation impacts recovery. Topic covered include: Reservoir energy and the role of both gas and aquifers, well testing and its interpretation, Buckley-Leverett and the role of viscous and gravitational forces, recovery mechanisms and their applicability to different scenarios, development planning and well designs.

D. Static and Dynamic Reservoir Modelling

D.1. Framing - this section commences with a discussion on framing the problem – what is the most appropriate modelling strategy to take to address the key static and dynamic uncertainties?

D.2. How simulators work - options for the material balance and dynamic models.

D.3. The modelling workflow - common static and dynamic modelling workflows are reviewed. Gridding and grid design, structure models and connectivity facies and property modelling (including a discussion on algorithm choice), static and dynamic properties, upscaling and iterations, the strategy for history matching and the limits of forward prediction.

D.4. Modelling conclusions and outcomes - how results from static and dynamic models can be used, pitfalls of probabilistic and deterministic workflows, application to development planning.

E. Value of Information

E.1. Value of Information - how VOI frameworks can be used to ensure that only appraisal that genuinely impacts value of the project is undertaken.

E.2. Wrap up - a discussion on the key learning outcomes, how the technical uncertainties sit within a business framework and discuss mitigation development risk.

Who should attend

The course is designed for experienced (5 years minimum) subsurface staff who have been involved in field appraisal and development and team leaders/asset managers involved in the planning and execution of subsurface reservoir modelling projects. It is also aimed at reservoir engineers wishing to gain a greater insight into the geoscience input to reservoir models.

Prerequisites and linking courses

N415 is a Skilled Application Level course; many of the topics are addressed on the Basic Application Level in course N008 (An Introduction to Reservoir Appraisal and Development), which is a useful prerequisite. Ideally participants should have some field appraisal and development experience prior to their participation. N012 (Reservoir Modelling Field Class) examines the construction and uses of stochastic reservoir models and complements course N412 (A Critical Guide to Reservoir Appraisal and Development). N310 (Carbonate Reservoir Modelling and Field Development Planning, Provence, France) and N033 (Characterisation, Modelling, Simulation and Development Planning in Deepwater Clastic Reservoirs - Tabernas, Spain) are also recommended linking courses, which review field-based reservoir development and modelling analogues.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Stephanie Kape