Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Carbonates

Carbonate Reservoir Characterisation and Modelling (Provence, France)

Course Code: N310
Instructors:  Mark BentleyEd Stephens
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
5 days

Next Event

Location: Provence, France
Date:  10 - 14 Jun. 2024
Start Time: 09:00 CEDT
Event Code: N310a24F
Fee From: GBP £10,620 (exc. Tax)


Using analogue outcrops in the Luberon and Cassis area of Southern France, this course develops workflows for characterisation and 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 outcrop section 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.

Business Impact: The bulk of the world's oil and gas resources are in carbonate reservoirs, so forecasting productivity in carbonates is fundamental to our business; This course makes the link between reservoir characterisation and how fluids flow in these heterogeneous reservoirs, unravels some of the reasons why our forecasts are often incorrect, and offers guidance on however to improve those forecasts.


"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."


Event Code: N310a24F
Duration: 5 days
Instructors: Mark Bentley
Dates: 10 - 14 Jun. 2024
Start Time: 09:00 CEDT
Location: Provence, France
Fee From
GBP £10,620 (exc. Tax)
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Duration and Training Method

A five-day field-based course based in Provence, Southern France. The event will be conducted wholly in the field. 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 make use of Digital Outcrop Imagery (DOI).

Course Overview

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 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, covering 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. Specialist interpretative input to the course is provided by Jean Pierre Masse from the University of Marseilles, an authority in his field.

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 following proposed itinerary is designed as a guide only:

Day 0: Arrival

Arrival in Marseilles, transfer to Gordes.

Day 1: Orgon - Lateral Homogeneity

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
  • Imaging on seismic
  • Coning behaviour
  • Large scale vs. small scale models

Day 4: Cassis - Fractures and Karst

  • Damage zone architecture
  • Matrix vs. fracture flow
  • Modelling fractures
  • Completion options

Day 5: Cassis - Carbonate Model Design

  • Sector model design
  • Scenarios

Day 6: Departure

The course is aimed at a cross-discipline audience including reservoir engineers, geoscientists, petrophysicists, and others involved in carbonate reservoir appraisal and field development. This field course is recommended for multi-disciplinary team attendance.

Mark Bentley

Mark has over 30 years industry experience, initially as a production geologist with Shell, working in the UK, Oman and the Netherlands and subsequently training and consulting with TRACS. He has spent most of his career working in integrated study teams on a wide variety of reservoir assets. His specialist fields of expertise are 3D reservoir modeling and scenario-based approaches to handling subsurface uncertainty and risk. He publishes widely on the topic and co-authored the reference text 'Reservoir Model Design' with Phil Ringrose.

In addition to his role as Training Director at TRACS, he is also an Associate Professor in the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, holding a Chair in the field of Mature Field Management.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University College of Wales, Aberystwyth - Structural Geology
BSc University College of Wales, Aberystwyth - Geology
Fellow of the Geological Society, London
Fellow of the Society of Petroleum Engineers
EAGE Member

Courses Taught
N033:  Characterisation, Modelling, Simulation and Development Planning in Deepwater Clastic Reservoirs (Tabernas, Spain)
N106:  Advanced Reservoir Modelling (Elgin, Scotland)
N310:  Carbonate Reservoir Modelling and Field Development Planning (Provence, France)
N356:  Production Geoscience (Pembrokeshire, UK)
N386:  Reservoir Model Design (Pembrokeshire, UK)
N427:  Reservoir Model Design
N444:  Development Planning For Mature Fields
N548:  Reservoir Modelling for Storage
N718: Reservoir Model Design Workshop


Ed Stephens

Edmund Stephens is a reservoir engineer who has been in the petroleum industry since 1997, with experience in reservoir studies, field development planning, asset valuation and reserves reviews to a global customer base with a wide variety of reservoir and operational settings.

After research studies in physics at Oxford and Seattle, he worked for some years in electronics and software. He then joined the Shell International E&P with the simulator development group, well testing and delivering training. He worked as reservoir engineer on assets in Netherlands, Nigeria and Brunei, including a range of geological settings and fluid types supporting well delivery, well operations, reservoir management, reservoir studies, reserves review, exploration support and business planning. As principle reservoir engineering consultant with TRACS, he is involved in many projects across the globe including giant clastic and fractured carbonate field and development planning reviews. In the last few years he has worked on unconventional assets including tight systems and fractured basements. He is also experienced with energy transition projects including carbon sequestration (CCUS) and geothermal energy recovery.

Ed is expert in reservoir modelling and simulation, field development planning, reserves preparation and categorisation, asset valuation, business planning support and exploration support. He speaks English, French and some Dutch.

Courses Taught
N033: Characterisation, Modelling, Simulation and Development Planning in Deepwater Clastic Reservoirs (Tabernas, Spain)
N310:Carbonate Reservoir Characterisation & Modelling (Provence, France)
N335: Modelling Clastic Reservoirs (Pyrenees, Spain)

CEU: 4 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.