Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Reservoir Development

Reservoir Model Design

Course Code: N427
Instructors:  Mark Bentley
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
4 days


This course offers a software-independent view on the process of reservoir model design and simulation model-building. It tackles the underlying reasons why some models disappoint and offers solutions that support the more efficient construction of fit-for-purpose models.

Business Impact: Considerable time is dedicated to reservoir modelling and simulation exercises in many companies, but the results often disappoint; The time taken to build models is often too long, the models too detailed and cumbersome and the final model ultimately not fit-for-purpose. This course tackles the reasons why and offers remedies to fix these problems. The advice is based on the experience of the course originators, who have been involved in excess of 100 reservoir modelling and simulation projects over the last thirty years.


"I would recommend it to all technical people involved in a modelization of a field (geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and reservoir engineers). The instructor explained very well the principles of each element involved in a reservoir model."

Duration and Training Method

This is a classroom course comprising a mixture of lectures, discussion, case studies, and practical exercises, supported by virtual outcrop imagery.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Form a fluid-sensitive conceptual model for a heterogeneous reservoir, built from a selection of elements and placed in a realistic architectural framework: the “sketch”.
  2. Intuitively-guide the use of geostatistical tools, balancing deterministic and probabilistic components with awareness of the limits of the tools.
  3. Select appropriate methods for modelling of matrix properties, including the handling of net (cut-off’s vs total property modelling).
  4. Evaluate fracture properties, covering both faults and fault seal and also flow through open fracture systems; understand how to model these practically.
  5. Understand issues surrounding permeability modelling and why this differs from the handling of other properties.
  6. Learn a rule of thumb (‘Flora’) to help assess what level of static model detail matters to flow modelling and forecasting.
  7. Review how to use well test analysis to constrain models.
  8. Review options for model based uncertainty handling (base case led, multi-deterministic, multi-stochastic ‘ensembles’), how to post-process the results and how to select an appropriate workflow which minimises impact of behavioural bias.

The central theme of the event is Reservoir Model Design, on the premise that it is design rather than software knowledge that typically distinguishes ‘good models’ from ‘bad models’. This is organised around the following five themes, issues within which are often the cause of a poor model outcome:

1. Model purpose

Why are we logged on in the first place and what is the question we are specifically trying to address? What do we really mean when we say 'Fit for purpose?

2. Elements and architecture

How much detail should be incorporated in the models? From the rich spectrum of potential lithofacies, electrofacies, biostratigraphic and analogue data inputs, how do we select the ‘right’ number of components (elements) to take forward into the modelling process? Once selected, how do these elements combine into a realistic description of length scales and reservoir architecture? How to capture this in an interpretative sketch that can be used as a cross-discipline communication tool.

3. Probability and determinism

Is the balance of probabilistic and deterministic components appropriate given the model purpose? Should heterogeneities be handled implicitly or explicitly in the static and dynamic models and if implicitly, then how should we average properties? What are our expectations of geostatistics and how do we control the algorithms intuitively to replicate a sketched reservoir concept?  This applies both to modelling of the matrix and also fractures, and we explore how we can use well test data to place deterministic constraints on our models.

4. Multi-scale modelling

What scale should we be modelling and simulating at given the fluid type and model purpose? Can everything be modelled at one scale, or are static/dynamic multi-scale models required? We address the full spectrum of heterogeneity using the concept of Representative Elementary Volumes and conclude that traditional static-dynamic upscaling is only part of the story, and not always the main part.  Illustrations of fine-scale 'Ultimate Truth' models will be used to illustrate where we sometimes go wrong with over-simplifying a design.

5. Model-based uncertainty-handling

What are the tools we can use to identify natural bias in the modelling process and select workflows which capture useful ranges in a practical way, minimising bias in the process? We summarise the current range of stochastically- and deterministically-led options, including the current trend to 'ensemble' modelling, and discuss which techniques are appropriate to use, and when, and how to post-process the results and communicate them usefully to colleagues.

Geoscientists with some knowledge of reservoir modelling; Petrophysicists who provide input to static reservoir models; Reservoir engineers involved in simulation work who deal with the static-dynamic interface and upscaling on a regular basis. Multidisciplinary asset teams would benefit from attendance as a group. The course is also of benefit to team leaders who wish to have a deeper understanding of the principles behind modelling, and any subsurface staff involved in the QC of models made by others.

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


CEU: 2.8 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 28 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.