Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Reservoir Development

Exploration and Geological Model Development in Fluvial Reservoirs (Ebro Basin, Spain)

Course Code: N108
Instructors:  Stephanie KapeGary Nichols
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
5 days


This field based course integrates fluvial sedimentology predictive models with applied exploration and field development, using case studies from the Miocene of the Ebro Basin, Spain.  Variations in fluvial architecture are considered in terms of proximal to distal setting within a depositional system and the impact of the architecture on field developments are considered, together with practical guidance on the choices made in building static and dynamic models of these complex systems. 


I learnt more about modelling than I thought would be possible on a field course. Great!

Duration and Training Method

A five-day field course in the Ebro Basin, the foreland basin of the Southern Pyrenees. The course is a mixture of field presentations, fieldwork including sedimentological exercises, modelling exercises/discussions and short classroom sessions.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Evaluate the sedimentology and basin fill architecture of a fluvial system.
  2. Predict significant changes in sedimentology and stratigraphic architecture, both laterally and up or down dip in fluvial reservoir systems.
  3. Integrate the interactions of the controls on fluvial architecture.
  4. Assess the impact of fluvial 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 chararcterise fluvial architecture.
  6. Evaluate and rate different modelling options for different archiectures, fluids and development scenarios.
  7. Manage the issues of up-scaling in heterogenous fluvial systems and select appropriate techniques to use in different scenarios.

Hydrocarbon reservoirs within fluvial depositional settings are challenging environments for geoscientists to interpret and develop. Significant changes in stratigraphic architecture occur over short distances, both laterally and up or down dip, and strongly impact production performance.  An understanding of the issues involved in developing different fluvial architectures and the decisions required to model these complex heterogenous reservoirs are critical to predicting the long term production behaviour. Chronostratigraphic control is often poor and sandstone body correlation is difficult because of the mutli-scale heterogeneity of fluvial deposits. Predictive models of fluvial systems are the subject of much academic discussion, with sea level controlled models only applicable in coastal regions. Many fluvial systems preserved in the rock record are generated in internally draining basins or far upstream of sea level influence and are subject to different control mechanisms. Observations from modern and ancient analogues suggest that fluvial facies have a wide range of architectures, supported in the subsurface by different production behaviours from similar facies.

The Ebro Basin in northern Spain formed as a foreland basin to the Pyrenean orogenic belt, which developed in the Cenozoic as a result of crustal shortening between the Eurasian plate and the Iberian sub-plate.  The Luna and Huesca distributive fluvial systems were coeval, fluvial systems of Miocene age on the northern flank of the Ebro Basin. Both systems show a decrease in channel geometry and grain size distally and there is also a distal increase in the proportion of sheet sandstones interpreted as deposits of unconfined flow events. The distributive fluvial systems were built up by a series of avulsions which built up a fan-shaped body of sediment with a radial palaeoflow pattern.  Exposures allow fluvial channel and overbank facies to be considered at reservoir scale and correlation over tens of kilometres up and down flow can be made.  During the course, the differences that might be expected in analogue fluvial systems under different conditions of tectonic setting, climate and sediment supply will be emphasised.

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 fluvial 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 in Barcelona and transfer to hotel
Evening course safety brief and introductory lecture, followed by group dinner in the hotel

Day 1
Drive from Barcelona to Ayerbe
Basin introduction
Fieldwork at Biel (proximal fluvial deposits)

Day 2
Fieldwork at Pertusa (medial system sandstone bodies)
Fieldwork at Monzon (modelling exercise)

Day 3
Fieldwork at Piraces / Vicien (channel belt modelling exercise)
Fieldwork at Albero Bajo (meandering channels)
Fieldwork at Bolea (distal fluvial deposits)

Day 4
Fieldwork on the Aguero Fan (syntectonic deposition)
Fieldwork on the Tormos sheet sandstones (fluvial-lacustrine facies)
Classroom exercise session

Day 5
Fieldwork at Sigena (distal fluvial-lacustrine architecture)
Lunch followed by transfer to Barcelona and departure

The course is aimed at experienced exploration and development geoscientists, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers who are keen to better understand fluvial systems and the practical application of that knowledge in the generation of effective static and dynamic models of a complex geological setting.


Stephanie Kape

Dr. Stephanie Kape has over 26 years of experience in the Oil and Gas Industry and is currently an independent consultant geologist at Salar Geoscience Ltd.

After graduating, Stephanie spent 5 years working as a consultant structural geologist with Midland Valley in Glasgow, working on a range of exploration and development projects worldwide. In 2001, Stephanie joined Amerada Hess Ltd as a production geologist based in Aberdeen. She moved to Canadian Natural Resources in 2003 as a Development Geologist and worked the mature North Sea portfolio. In 2005, Stephanie joined BG Group in Reading working the HPHT exploration, development and appraisal portfolio of the UK Central North Sea. In this role she developed a number of models for fluvial reservoirs, working on the issues and predicting reservoir deliverability. In 2008 Stephanie joined the Subsurface Assurance Team in BG, as part of an internal technical auditor, reviewing the company’s exploration, appraisal and development projects worldwide. Later roles included developments work on carbonates, exploration team lead roles in UK and Norway and in Global New Ventures.

Since 2017 Stephanie has worked as an independent consultant, working on varied projects worldwide. These have included M&A work, exploration in North Africa, appraisal projects in Norway and UK, and developments in fractured carbonates in the Middle East.

Throughout her career as a development geologist, Stephanie has worked with reservoir models and has acted as an internal focus for Reservoir Modelling. She has maintained an interest in fluvial sedimentology and the integration of this with other disciplines to build effective predictive models, publishing and presenting at conferences.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Birmingham - Geology
BSc University of Manchester - Geology
C.Geol - Chartered Geologist
Geological Society

Courses Taught
N530: Shore to Shelf Depositional Systems (Virtual Outcrops)
N534: Delta Plain to Base of Slope Reservoir Systems: Outcrop, Seismic, and Production Analogues in a Sequence Stratigraphic Context
N108: Exploration and Geological Model Development in Fluvial Reservoirs
N412: A Critical Guide to Reservoir Appraisal and Development
N415: Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development
N432: Clastic Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development (Southern Pyrenees, Spain)

Gary Nichols

Gary is responsible for the strategy and technical operations of the company worldwide and is based at RPS Energy offices in Woking, Surrey.

Before joining RPS Energy to work with the Nautilus Training Alliance, Gary taught at Royal Holloway University of London and the University Centre on Svalbard covering undergraduate and MSc courses in Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy, Petroleum Geology and Sedimentary Basins plus MSc Petroleum Geoscience courses in Clastic sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy and Sedimentary Basin models.

Key Research Topics include clastic sedimentology and sedimentary basin analysis;  climatic and tectonic controls on sedimentation; fluvial sedimentology; basin-scale patterns of sedimentation and the architecture of basin-fill successions; endorheic basins. Field studies have been carried out in flexural basins in Spain, Greece, USA and Spitsbergen, extensional basins in Madagascar, Greece, northern Thailand, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and in arc-related settings in Antarctica, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Detailed sedimentological studies include alluvial fan and fluvial sedimentation in continental basins and the reservoir characteristics of fluvial successions. Gary has published over 100 scientific papers and a widely-used textbook 'Sedimentology and Stratigraphy'. He is currently President of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM).

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Cambridge
BSc London University, Honors
C.Geol - Chartered Geologist

Courses Taught
N108: Exploration and Geological Model Development in Fluvial Reservoirs (Pyrenees, Spain)
N155: Introduction to Clastic Depositional Systems: a Petroleum Perspective
N269: Sequence Stratigraphy and Subsurface Prediction: Methods, Limitations and New Developments (Isle of Wight, UK)
N387: Exploration and Development in Fluvio-Lacustrine Systems
N403: Reservoir Sedimentology of Fluvial - Shallow Marine Facies (Isle of Wight, UK)
N418: Tectonics, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy of Coal-Bearing Basins
N432: Clastic Reservoir Characterisation for Appraisal and Development (Southern Pyrenees, Spain)
W017: North Sea Reservoirs Series - Triassic Reservoirs Overview (Distance Learning)


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.