Engineering - IOR/EOR

Hydrocarbon Recovery



  Prof. Dr Theo Kortekaas (‎Heriot-Watt University, Netherlands)


  2 days


  Engineering – IOR/EOR






  10 CPD points




Course description

The course provides an in-depth insight into the physics of hydrocarbon recovery. It first deals with hydrocarbon fluid properties and phase behaviour characteristics. Next, the interaction between hydrocarbons and porous media is discussed and the concepts of capillary pressure and (relative permeabilities) are introduced, followed by a discussion on the interaction between viscous, capillary and gravity forces at work in a hydrocarbon reservoir. After analytical descriptions of the displacement of hydrocarbons by water the basics of reservoir simulation are introduced. Subsequently, the displacement of hydrocarbons by water in relatively simple models with increasing geological complexities is discussed together with the concept of capillary equilibrium and its impact on recovery efficiencies.

The contents of the course may vary a little depending on which region it is taught in.


Course objectives

With the currently available computing power it is now possible to model both highly complex geological environments and highly complex hydrocarbon recovery mechanisms. In view of the enormous amount of data in reservoir simulation models there is an increasing tendency to have an unlimited belief in model predictions and omit the necessary quality checks on fundamentals. This course is aimed to (re)gain an in-depth insight into the fundamentals of hydrocarbon recovery in relatively simple geological models.


Course outline

The total duration of the course is 2 days. The format is a mix of presentations, simple exercises and discussions. Timings are kept flexible to ensure adequate (re)gaining of in-depth insight into the fundamentals of hydrocarbon recovery.

The first day of the course starts with a presentation on the PVT properties of reservoir fluids and material balance calculations for depletion, gas-cap and waterdrives. Next the concepts of capillary pressure and (relative) permeability are introduced, followed by a discussion on the interactions between the capillary, viscous and gravity forces at work in a hydrocarbon reservoir. The last part of the day is devoted to analytical descriptions of the displacement of hydrocarbons by water in 1-Dimensional homogenous porous media.

The second day kicks off with a presentation on the basics of reservoir simulation and a discussion on water-oil displacement efficiency in 1,2 and 3-dimensional homogeneous models. This is followed by a presentation on the various types of geological heterogeneities in hydrocarbon reservoirs. The course then continues with introducing the concept of capillary equilibrium and demonstrating its impact on displacement characteristics in models with permeability variations both parallel (layered systems) and perpendicular to the direction of flow. Next there is an extensive discussion on the impact of cross bedding and blocky heterogeneities on water oil displacement efficiency, both on a cm-scale and at reservoir scale. A more general discussion with optional topics such as the impact of other geological complexities, the complexities of other recovery mechanisms, the use of reservoir simulation models and how to deal with uncertainty, will conclude the day.

It is possible to extend the course by one more day. In that case the schedule for the first two days is adapted to include more material and exercises. The last topics of the second day will then be shifted to the start of the third day. In addition in-depth discussions of hydrocarbon recovery in fractured carbonates and complexities of other recovery mechanisms will be added to the course.


Participants' profile

Geoscientists who wish to obtain a good insight into the fundamentals of hydrocarbon recovery and the impact of geological heterogeneities on displacement efficiencies and reservoir engineers who wish to refresh their basic understanding of hydrocarbon recovery.


About the instructor

Prof. Dr Theo Kortekaas graduated in 1975 from the University of Amsterdam with cum laude MSc and PhD degrees in Mathematics and Physics.

He joined Shell Exploration and Production in 1977 after having served as officer in the Dutch Army. Until 1985 he worked in Shell’s EP Laboratories in increasingly senior positions on a wide variety of Research Topics in Physics, Geology and Reservoir Engineering. After one year in Shells Global Study team he spent 6 years in Shell Expro, where he held a sequence of jobs in increasingly senior positions. In 1988 and 1989 he headed the Brent Full Field Simulation Studies investigating the various development scenarios for the Brent and Statfjord reservoirs including depressurisation. In 1992 he moved to Brunei Shell Petroleum to take up the position of Head of Reservoir Engineering and Head of Reservoir Studies. In 1995 he moved back to the Netherlands where he became responsible for Shell’s Research, Technology Development, Software Infrastructure, Consultancy, Advice and Training in the areas of Dynamic Reservoir Modelling and Hydrocarbon Recovery Optimisation. In 1999 he became Shell’s Global Skillpool Manager for Petroleum Engineering.

In addition to his Shell activities he has been Technical Programme Officer for the EAGE, served as member of numerous other steering and advisory committees for EAGE and SPE conferences and workshops and is technical editor for Petroleum Geoscience. He has also been external examiner at Heriot-Watt University for both the M.Sc. Reservoir Characterisation and the M. Eng Petroleum Engineering courses.

In 2004 he joined the Board of EAGE in the Presidential cycle of Vice-President-Elect, Vice President and President. To enable him to carry out his various external activities Shell created a special position for him as Senior Consultant Petroleum Engineering, a position he held until his retirement in 2009. Early 2008 he received an honorary professorship from Heriot-Watt University.


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