Geology - Carbonate Geology

Top Seals and Fault Seals in Clastic and Carbonate Reservoirs: A Practical Approach



  Dr Dirk Nieuwland (NewTec International, Leiden, Netherlands)


  2 days


  Geology – Carbonate Geology






  10 CPD points




Course description

The core of this course is a new powerful method of fault seal prediction and is intended for geologists, geophysicists and reservoir engineers in exploration. The course is based on geomechanics as a sound foundation for structural geological concepts and the behaviour of rocks in the brittle regime. Mechanical rock properties and ways and means to determine these properties form an important element of this course. Following an introduction to geomechanics, the theory of fracturing of brittle, ductile and viscous rocks is treated, illustrated with field examples and case histories. Different deformation mechanisms, based on mechanical rock properties, are treated in relation to realistic geological environments. Cataclasis is introduced as a major sealing mechanism, including a detailed account of the cataclasis process. Paleo-stress analysis is introduced, together with a new tool, the reactivation circle. The course is very practical and focused on application. An exercise based on real data forms an important element of the course. Cases requiring the use of numerical models are discussed but numerical modeling is not part of the course.


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the most appropriate fault seal mechanism for an area of choice and perform a quantitative fault seal analysis. If necessary, perform a paleo-stress analysis as a basis for fault seal prediction;
  • Assess top and fault seal integrity for subsurface processes including exploration, field development and subsurface storage of natural gas or CO2.


Course outline

Day 1:

  • Introduction to tectonic regimes and associated stress regimes.
  • Analogue demonstration experiments.
  • Fault seal case history.
  • Fundamentals of geomechanics.
  • Geomechanics exercise.
  • Tectonic stress regime exercise.
  • Case history (time permitting).

Day 2:

  • Overview of known fault seal mechanisms.
  • Clay smear method, with exercise.
  • Shale gouge ratio method.
  • Cataclasis as fault sealing mechanism.
  • Palaeo stress analysis and fault seal prediction exercise.


Participants' profile

The course is intended for geoscientists and subsurface engineers that deal with geological problems in relation to (potential) sealing problems with top seals and faults.

This course will enable participants to assess top seal and fault seal potentials; in exploration cases with limited data availability but also in field development situations, with detailed data available, e.g. in relation to gas injection and top and fault seal issues.


About the instructor

Dr Dirk Nieuwland

Dr Nieuwland has 34 years of experience as a geologist of which 30 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 recent geo-mechanical field models resulted in adding 600 million bbls of oil to the reserves and accurate predictions of open fracture location and orientation, in-situ stresses and reservoir quality. Other models have successfully guided exploration, appraisal and development in complex geological settings.


2006 Visiting research professor at the Department of Geography, Geology and Mineralogy of the University of Salzburg, Austria (Part time position in addition to managing NewTec)

1999 NewTec International BV., founder and managing director.

1999 - 2004 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, earth sciences top research school (ISES), associate professor, head analogue tectonic modeling lab.

1990 KSEPL, Rijswijk, senior research geologist, internal advisor (exploration, production and technical audits).

1986 Turkse Shell, chief geologist exploration and production, chief petrophysicist.

1983 Thai Shell Bangkok, production geologist.

1979 Shell research, KSEPL Rijswijk, structural geology research geologist.

1979 PhD, Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University. Structural Geology and Radiometric Dating.

1975 MSc, Leiden University, structural geology and sedimentology.


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