Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Reservoir Development

Modelling Clastic Reservoirs (Pyrenees, Spain)

Course Code: N335
Instructors:  John HowellEd Stephens
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
6 days


This course provides an introduction to designing and building reservoir models of clastic depositional systems through to dynamic flow simulation. The course stresses the role of the conceptual facies modelling as a tool for distributing petrophysical properties within the model and reviews a range of clastic depositional systems in renowned outcrops of the Spanish Pyrenees.


I thought it was a great course pitched at a level that was clearly useful to all participants despite the varied level of experience. Will be recommending it when I get back!

Duration and Training Method

A six-day field course in the Spanish Pyrenees with classroom lectures and exercises. The proportion of field time to classroom time is approximately 60:40. Field examination of depositional systems at both seismic and, more commonly, sub-seismic, sandstone body scale including team exercises, backed up by model results and supporting presentations.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Apply the reservoir modelling workflow.
  2. Examine the role of the conceptual geological model in designing better reservoir models.
  3. Analyse reservoir zonation from a geological (rather than engineering) perspective.
  4. Use a suitable modelling grid which allows all of the relevant facies based heterogeneities to be incorporated in the model.
  5. Illustrate the importance of grid scale and resolution.
  6. Analyse the principals of stochastic facies modelling with a review of the tools and algorithms that are available and know how and when to use them.
  7. Establish the differences between fluvial, shallow marine and deep marine depositional systems from a modelling perspective.
  8. Demonstrate the use of outcrop analogue data for building better reservoir models.
  9. Analyse length scale variations for different clastic deposystems on an REV plot, and discuss how this would be handled in a reservoir modelling and simulation context.
  10. Demonstrate how kv/kh impacts recovery in different clastic architectures including understanding of transmissibility, determination of bottom water vs. edge water sweep and linkage to depositional confinement.
  11. Illustrate the contrasting heterogeneities in different clastic deposystems and determine how much detail is required in a reservoir description based on a consideration of fluid type and production mechanism.

The technical content of the course can be considered in a matrix. One axis of this matrix is the specific depositional environment (fluvial, shallow marine, deep marine) the other is the various stages of the reservoir modelling workflow. This work flow can be summarised as follows:

  1. Model design – what is the purpose of the model?
  2. Data analysis and the erection of a conceptual geological model, summarised as "if you can’t draw it you can’t model it!"
  3. Model zonation, based on key geological surfaces.
  4. Grid design and building.
  5. Grid population with facies.
  6. Facies population with petrophysics.
  7. Model application.

Many aspects of stages 2 to 5 will differ, depending upon the specifics of the depositional environment. We will start by reviewing and understanding that work flow and the implications it has on model building. Then we will visit outcrop examples of all of the key types of depositional system and review the key specifics of zoning, grid building and grid population at each building up a better understanding of the model building process and also the role of facies as carriers for petrophysical properties.

Throughout the course 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? 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. Outcrop-based models will also help define, from an engineering perspective, the concept of effective net.


Day 0:

  • Participants arrive in Barcelona
  • Travel to Ainsa
  • Overnight Ainsa

Day 1:

      • Classroom introduction:
          • Reservoir model design
                • Reservoir modelling workflow
                  • The role of the conceptual geological model
                    • The role of facies modelling
                    • Fieldwork:
                        • Grid design and resolution and Modelling deep marine systems. The Ainsa Basin is largely filled by a succession of turbidites deposited in different parts of a submarine fan system of Eocene age. The Ainsa Turbidites are well exposed representing these different settings for sand body formation
                        • Overnight Ainsa

                            Day 2:

                            • Continuation of fieldwork in the Ainsa Basin including canyon and distal fan deposits
                            • Overnight Ainsa

                            Day 3:

                            • Correlation and sequence stratigraphy in reservoir modelling and Modelling Shallow Marine Systems. The Eocene Roda Sandstone is a tidally-dominated succession of shallow marine sandstones which includes excellent exposure of a range of facies deposited in different sub-environments
                            • Overnight Ayerbe

                            Day 4:

                            • Populating grids with facies and Modelling Fluvial systems. The Huesca Fluvial system is an Oligocene to Miocene age depositional system that can be traced laterally over tens of kilometres. Exposures provide excellent examples of the heterogeneity of fluvial deposits. Field visits to Bolea and Roldan
                            • Overnight Ayerbe

                            Day 5:

                            • Reservoir Modelling exercise in fluvial system. The case study is a large (>1 km wide and up to 100 m high) outcrop of fluvial channels sandstone bodies enclosed in a matrix of fine-grained overbank deposits (Piraces, southeast of Huesca)
                            • Overnight Ayerbe

                            Day 6:

                            • Classroom Course synthesis: reservoir modelling in different clastic depositional environments (fluvial, shallow marine, deep marine) and the stages of the reservoir modelling workflow.
                            • Return to Barcelona and depart in the afternoon

                            This course is multi-disciplinary. It is designed for geoscientists, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers involved in developing descriptions and models of reservoirs.

                            John Howell

                            John Howell is Chair in Virtual Geosciences at the University of Aberdeen, where he has been a professor since 2012. In the past 25 years, he has worked on outcrops from all over the World with special focus on the western USA. He currently runs the SAFARI project, a collaboration between University of Aberdeen and Uni Bergen, supported by 13 companies.

                            John read for a PhD in reservoir sedimentology at the University of Birmingham (1992). He proceeded to the University of Liverpool where he spent 10 years working as a researcher and lecturer. During that time he participated in numerous oil industry funded projects, collaborating with virtually all the major oil companies, primarily in the fields of sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy and latterly reservoir modelling. In 2002 he took a professorship at the University of Bergen to further his applied research interests in analogue reservoir modelling. In 2005 he was one of the founders of Rocksource, a Norwegian Independent E&P Company. He worked there in the senior management until end 2011 initially as the Production Manager and latterly the CTO.

                            John has worked in a diverse range of basins on six continents, supervised over 50 PhD students, published more than a 150 papers, and edited 7 books. He was an AAPG distinguished lecturer in 2009. His current research focuses on virtual geosciences, including the improved use of analogues for understanding reservoirs. Over the past 15 years he has pioneered the use of Virtual Outcrops, collected using lidar and more recently UAVs (drones), in the geosciences. He is passionate about outreach in the geosciences. He was a co-host on "The Big Monster Dig", a TV series on geology and palaeontology for C4 and Discovery. He also has numerous other TV and radio credits as a scientific expert.

                            Affiliations and Accreditation
                            PhD University of Birmingham - Reservoir Sedimentology
                            BA University of Cardiff - Geology
                            Fellow of the Geological Society of London
                            IAS, SEPM, AAPG, PESGB

                            Courses Taught
                            N106: Advanced Reservoir Modelling (Elgin, UK)
                            N155: Introduction to Clastic Depositional Systems: A Petroleum Perspective
                            N298: Reservoir Analogues for the Southwestern Barents Sea: Outcrop Examples from Svalbard (Norway)
                            N335: Modelling Clastic Reservoirs (Pyrenees, Spain)
                            N532: Aeolian and Dryland Fluvial Reservoirs: Field and Virtual Outcrop (Elgin, UK)
                            N550: North Sea Multiphase Rift Evolution: Outcrop to Subsurface Perspectives on Stratigraphy, Sedimentology & Petroleum Systems (East Coast, UK)

                            Ed Stephens

                            Ed is a consultant reservoir engineer with 14 years experience, providing field studies, 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, integrated circuits and software. He then joined the Shell International E&P as a reservoir engineer with assignments in Netherlands, Nigeria and Brunei. He worked first with the simulator development group, then on well testing interpretation, the modelling support helpdesk, and delivering training. Then he worked with the Nigeria field studies team, at that time preparing the major upstream gas for LNG developments. In Brunei he was reservoir engineer for the Fairley asset area, mixed light oil rims and non associated gas with some 60 wells in 300 reservoirs, supporting well delivery, well operations, reservoir management, reservoir studies, reserves review, exploration support and business planning.

                            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)
                            N335: Modelling Clastic Reservoirs (Pyrenees, Spain)


                            CEU: 4.8 Continuing Education Units
                            PDH: 48 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.