Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Reservoir Development

Characterisation, Modelling, Simulation and Development Planning in Deepwater Clastic Reservoirs (Tabernas, Spain)

Course Code: N033
Instructors:  Mark BentleyEd Stephens
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
5 days

Next Event

Location: Tabernas, Spain
Date:  7 - 11 Oct. 2024
Start Time: 09:00 CEDT
Event Code: N033a24F
Fee From: GBP £8,720 (exc. Tax)


This course is led by a production geologist and reservoir engineer involved in deepwater reservoir development, and is presented as a practical reservoir discussion rather than purely a traditional geological field trip. The objective of this field course is to explore the reservoir modelling and petroleum engineering aspects of deepwater clastic reservoirs. The discussion highlights the linkage from depositional processes to geological architecture and flow heterogeneity in development planning. The Tabernas outcrops are very well exposed and offer examples of sand-rich and debris flow-dominated reservoirs, high net:gross fan systems and classic mud-dominated facies. In particular, they give excellent insights into the reservoir heterogeneities occurring within apparently continuous ‘sand lobes’ and major channels.

Business Impact: This course will be impactful for participants working deepwater developments and producing assets and has a focus on the interconnection between reservoir geoscience and engineering disciplines.


"A very good mix of geology and reservoir engineering. I found the rules of thumb very useful for QC and quick evaluation. The key elements to look for in a reservoir of this type are very well highlighted and explained."


Event Code: N033a24F
Duration: 5 days
Instructors: Mark Bentley, Ed Stephens
Dates: 7 - 11 Oct. 2024
Start Time: 09:00 CEDT
Location: Tabernas, Spain
Fee From
GBP £8,720 (exc. Tax)
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Duration and Training Method

This is a field course, supported by short classroom sessions.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Assess the genetic processes that produce slumps, slides, debrites and high/low density turbidites, and explain why the concept of confinement underpins the description of heterogeneity in deepwater clastic systems.
  2. Evaluate the extent to which pay is under/over-estimated in mud-rich/sand-rich systems, respectively, and the resulting errors in STOIIP and PI estimation.
  3. Organise a detailed sedimentological description into key reservoir elements and build an architectural model using those elements.
  4. Assess the basic principle of flow in porous media (Darcy) and describe how flow heterogeneity varies in layered and amalgamated clastic systems.
  5. Appraise the contrasting heterogeneities in sand- and mud-rich systems and determine how much detail is required in a reservoir description based on a consideration of fluid type and production mechanism.
  6. Evaluate how kv/kh impacts recovery in typical deepwater clastic architectures; optimally locate a well to optimise sweep for a range of architectural cases.
  7. Judge length scale variations for a typical deepwater clastic system, and discuss how this would be handled in a reservoir modelling and simulation context.

This course covers the following issues:

  • Types of submarine fan systems
  • Influence of topography on reservoir distribution and quality
  • Reservoir heterogeneity
  • Reservoir modelling and simulation
  • Upscaling from core to simulation scale
  • Well selection and placement
  • Development planning for submarine fan reservoirs

Approximate Itinerary

Day 0: Arrival in Almeria
Evening course safety brief and introductory lecture followed by group dinner in the hotel.

Day 1: Overview of the Tabernas Basin.    
The class begins with overviews, orientation and scale of the Tabernas Basin. Visit to the basin margin to view coarse non-marine and shallow marine clastics which mark the initiation of sedimentation in the basin.

Visits to the deepwater basin-fill succession to see the types of depositional environments in the basin – slumps, slides, debris flows, unconfined and confined turbidites – and a general introduction to deepwater clastic sedimentology and terminology.


Day 2:  Muddy Fan 
We visit a series of outcrop sections within a low net:gross submarine fan and typical geometries of those environments - thin-bedded turbidite sheet sands in confined and unconfined settings. 

We discuss thresholds of net:gross and the particular issue of thin bed pay. We will use an outcrop-based model example to explore the concept of effective net from an engineering rather than a purely geological perspective.

Day 3: Feeder Systems 
We visit a series of outcrop sections to analyse the muddy feeder system and the sandy feeder system. Here we will study the individual architectures of the channelised units and discuss the facies, stacking patterns and evidence for their interpretation as feeder systems.
Thin-skin sliding and soft sedimentary tectonics are also viewed in deeper, more distal sediments.

Day 4: Sandy Fan    
We visit a series of outcrop sections within a high net:gross submarine fan; high concentration, amalgamated sands in the lower fan, sheet-like tabular sands in the upper fan and visits to the onlap margin of the body to view the overall geometries.

Here we will conceive an overall sedimentological model for the outcrops and take a reservoir engineering perspective on the observed heterogeneity - does any of it matter? The outcome of this discussion will link through to a well design exercise. Outcrop-based permeability data will be used to support the observations on heterogeneity and to discuss how small scale heterogeneity can be reasonably scaled in to a simulation model.

Day 5: Isolated Channel
We visit a series of outcrop sections to view Tabernas’ famous isolated channel and take the opportunity to describe and discuss intra-channel architectures and likely morphologies.

Participants will carry out a modelling exercise on the channel based on their observations. A model developed for the class will be used as a basis for discussion of development planning in submarine fan systems.

Day 6: Depart Almeria

The class is designed for and runs best with a multidisciplinary audience of geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers. Team leaders and managers leading the development and production of deepwater assets would also benefit from 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.