Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Basin Analysis

Overpressure in Petroleum Systems and Geopressure Prediction

Course Code: N013
Instructors:  Jakob HellerNiven Shumaker
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
4 days
8 sessions

Next Event

Location: Virtual
Date:  19th - 29th Sep 2022
Start Time: 14:00 BST
Event Code: N013a22V
Fee From: USD $3,915 (exc. Tax)


Business Impact: This class will supplement the prospector’s toolbox in sweet spot identification, develop awareness of concepts and techniques associated with completion design, unconventional reservoir development, and practical aspects of pore pressure data collection and interpretation. Understanding subsurface pressures and their effects on the hydrocarbon system is a key input into developing successful exploration strategies, efficient well planning and ensuring the safe and effective exploration and exploitation of petroleum reservoirs.

This course addresses the origin and distribution of overpressure in the subsurface with emphasis on practical applications to the geoscientist and petroleum engineer. Geoscientists and engineers will learn how to measure, estimate and model pore pressure as an aid to production sweet spot identification, pre-drill well planning, evaluation of seal breach risk, recognition of lateral drainage and hydrodynamics, and assessing the uncertainty of the pre- drill pressure interpretation. The course includes geopressure analysis in unconventional systems and expanded content on the use of seismic data in pressure prediction. 


"I recommend all geoscientists working in areas that are overpressured, (especially HPHT - high pressure high temperature), to attend this course."


Event Code: N013a22V
Sessions: 8 sessions
Instructors: Jakob Heller, Niven Shumaker
Dates: 19th - 29th Sep 2022
Start Time: 14:00 BST
Location: Virtual
Fee From
USD $3,915 (exc. Tax)
Good Availability
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Duration and Training Method

This is a classroom or virtual classroom course comprising a mixture of lectures and practical sessions drawing on examples from overpressured basins from around the world.


Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Calculate pressure gradients and interpret the position of fluid contacts from pressure vs. depth plots.
  2. Calculate lithostatic profiles and evaluate methods of calculating fracture profiles.
  3. Illustrate the relationship between compaction, effective stress and the development of pressure.
  4. Apply a variety of techniques to predict pore pressure including the Eaton Ratio Method and the Equivalent Depth Method, and identify the data types that may be used (e.g., seismic data, drilling parameters and porosity data).
  5. Differentiate between primary and secondary overpressure mechanisms and their relative magnitudes.
  6. Use pressure data to interpret pressure compartments, fluid types, trap integrity, lateral drainage and hydrodynamics.
  7. Recognize and apply analogs when interpreting pressure in the unconventional system.
  8. Appreciate practical vs. theoretical pore pressure and geomechanical concepts.
  9. Use the seismic velocity method to calculate and interpret derived pore pressure estimates.

Overpressure is experienced in most sedimentary basins where reservoirs are associated with fine-grained lithologies (such as shales), in particular at depths of 2.0 km or greater below sea-bed. Recent advances in the understanding of overpressure, in particular the magnitude of overpressure resulting from each of the main mechanisms under realistic basin conditions, give improved confidence in estimating pore pressure. There is also a range of tools with improved capability (1) to display and interpret overpressure (and its relationship to the petroleum system) and (2) to estimate pressure through time using basin modelling. All of these tools can help with prospect exploration, well-planning and commercial evaluations.

1. Pressure

  • Definitions and units of measurement
  • Pressure gradients: fluid pressure, hydrostatic pressure, lithostatic pressure and pressure transition zones

2. Pressure measurement

  • Direct and indirect ways of measuring/estimating pore pressure
  • Fracture pressure: principles, estimation and fracture gradient

3. Principles of subsurface pressure analysis

  • Pressure versus depth plots: normal pressure, overpressure and underpressure
  • Fluid pressure gradients: water and hydrocarbon
  • Fluid contacts: determination from pressure data

4. Mechanisms for generating overpressure

  • Overpressure as a function of stress, increases in fluid volume, fluid movement and buoyancy, permeability, flow rate and fluid type

5. Overpressure prediction

  • Porosity-based pressure prediction: Terzaghi principle, Eaton ratio method, equivalent depth method
  • Pressure detection during drilling
  • An outline of pore pressure prediction from seismic velocity data
  • Challenges of porosity-based pressure prediction

6. Overpressure in petroleum systems

  • Influence of overpressure on trap/seal integrity, reservoir quality, maturation of source rocks and
  • primary hydrocarbon migration
  • Mapping overpressure: excess pressure maps and pressure gradient maps
  • Pressure compartments: recognition from pressure vs. depth plots combined with structure maps
  • Recognition of lateral drainage and hydrodynamic hydrocarbon systems

7. Unconventional Hydrocarbon Systems

  • Basin types and examples
  • Applied geomechanics
  • Difficulties in pressure detection
  • Pressure prediction in tight rock

All geoscientists and engineers who require an understanding of geopressures. This could be applied to a wide-range of subsurface projects from basin analysis to well planning.

Jakob Heller

Jakob is the Technical Manager- Wells for Ikon Science Americas. He is an experienced trainer in geopressure theory for Ikon Science, having joined in 2010. Jakob has experience in all aspects of pressure analysis in many different geological settings (uplifted basins, extensional basins, deep-water, onshore conventional plays, carbonates and salt) in a wide range of geographical locations including NW Shelf/onshore Australia, Kutai Basin and East Java Indonesia, NW Borneo (offshore Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah), Gulf of Thailand/Malay Basin, Cuu Long, Nam Con Son, Phu Khan basins offshore Vietnam, offshore Japan, China and offshore/onshore Pakistan. Jakob has also worked in the Gulf of Mexico, the Permian Basin and onshore Alaska.

Jakob has presented at multiple conferences on topics as diverse as unconventional pore pressure prediction, HPHT, pressure in carbonates and hydrodynamics.

Jakob has a MSc in geology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His Master’s thesis was undertaken in collaboration with Eqiunor Norway and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and focused on the sedimentology and diagenesis of the Middle Jurassic Garn formation, offshore Mid-Norway.

Affiliations and Accreditation

MSc University of Copenhagen - Sedimentology (with Exploration Geophysics)
BSc University of Copenhagen - Geology

Courses Taught
N013: Overpressure in Petroleum Systems and Geopressure Prediction

Niven Shumaker

Niven Shumaker worked in the Geoscience Technology Group where he supported global drilling operations and the company’s exploration portfolio. He has worked projects in the Black Sea, Middle East, North Sea, West Africa, China, Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico and onshore basins in the US as a prospector, development geoscientist, and in well services. He actively contributes talks and papers in technical societies such as AAPG, SEG, GSH, and has been an invited speaker at Colorado School of Mines and Baylor University. Niven is also an admissions counsellor at the Jones School of Business and is a team lead in Noble’s geoscience campus recruiting program.

Affiliations and Accreditation
MBA Rice University
MS  Virginia Tech - Geophysics
BS UC Santa Barbara - Geophysics

Courses Taught 
N013: Overpressure Prediction in Petroleum Systems & Geopressure Prediction
N043: Gulf of Mexico Petroleum Systems
N249: Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop:  Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflows
N840: The Fundamentals of Creativity and Innovation with Applications to E&P Organizations

CEU: 3.2 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 32 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.