Petrophysics - Geomechanics

Conduits and Seals in Hydrocarbon Reservoirs: A Geomechanical Approach



  Dr Dirk Nieuwland (NewTec International, Leiden, Netherlands)


  2 days


  Petrophysics – Geomechanics






  10 CPD points




Course description

Flow of oil and gas through porous reservoir rock is controlled by the permeability of the reservoir. In the simplest case this is a single permeability system that is completely controlled by the rock properties of the reservoir. The presence of faults and/or fractures complicates the flow by creating a dual porosity/permeability system when open fractures are present, or by creating barriers to flow or even reservoir compartmentalization when sealing faults or fractures are present.

In this short course the origin of faults and fractures and their mechanical properties will be discussed in a framework of geo-mechanics. Understanding the physical processes of fault and fracture formation enables the development of predictive models even in structurally complicated reservoirs.

A combination of theory, case histories and exercises will be used to familiarize the participants of this short course with the subjects. The nature of a short course is such that a full in-depth treatment of the mechanics is not possible due to lack of time; the course emphasis will therefore be on informative case histories. Exercises will make up part of the course but in view of the available time, they will be relatively short.


Course objectives

The participants will be able to decide on the appropriate fault sealing mechanism and perform a fault seal prediction. Location and orientation of natural open fracture systems can be predicted, using a variety of techniques. The methods taught in this course are universally applicable, including for exploration, field development and underground storage of natural gas or CO2.


Course outline

Day 1:

  • Introduction to tectonic regimes and associated stress systems;
  • Analogue model demonstration experiment.
  • Exercise
  • Introduction to geo-mechanics
  • Exercise
  • Case history

Day 2:

  • Mechanics of natural fracture systems
  • Case history
  • Mechanics of sealing fracture/fault systems
  • Exercise
  • Case histories


Participants' profile

Geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers who have to work with faulted and fractured reservoirs will benefit from this short course. The topic is relevant for exploration as well for production.



Participants should have knowledge of basic geology, geophysics, reservoir engineering and structural geology.

Also some practical experience in E&P projects is recommended.


About the instructor

Dr Dirk Nieuwland

Dr Nieuwland has 39 years of experience as a geologist of which 35 years in oil and gas exploration and production. He has published numerous papers in this field and edited two books in the Special Publication series of the Geological Society of London.

One of NewTec's geo-mechanical field models resulted in adding a billion bbls of oil to the reserves of a tight naturally fractured oil reservoir, including accurate prediction of open fracture locations and orientation, in-situ stresses and reservoir quality. Other models have successfully guided exploration, appraisal and development in complex geological settings, including a world first successful prediction of open fractures in fractured oil bearing crystalline basement.


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