Pressures and Overpressure in the Subsurface - 3 Days Course

August 15 - 17, 2023

Course Outline:

3 Day Course: The main objective of this 3 Day course is for attendees to learn how pressure data affects the safe and optimal exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon reservoirs. Overpressure is found in most sedimentary basins, where reservoirs tend to be fine-grained lithologies, especially at depths >2.0km below sea-bed.

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. The principal objective of the course is to teach participants to analyse pressure data and the prediction of pressure in the context of regional and local geology.

The course is designed for geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and reservoir/drilling engineers who have an interest in, or need to utilise pressure data in their workflows, and wish to gain a deeper understanding of the relationships between geology and overpressure. Participants will learn how to analyse pressure data, calculate overburden and fracture gradients and use industry standard techniques to predict pore pressures in the pre-drill environment. In addition, the course will cover topics such as well planning, hydrodynamics and seal breach risk. The course is presented as a combination of PowerPoint based lectures and practical exercises, and familiarity with oilfield practices will be an advantage.

This course has been officially endorsed by the Geological Society of London.

Course Location
Show Course Outline
DAY 1 Introduction
  • The importance of pressure data
  • Understanding the system
  • Worldwide application
  • Viewing pressure data
Fundamentals of Pressure
  • Definitions & Units
  • Hydrostatic pressures & gradients Lithostatic pressures & gradients Fracture pressure & gradients Sources & types of pressure data Subsurface pressure analysis Fluid pressure gradients & fluid contact
DAY 2 Mechanisms for Generating Overpressure
  • Disequilibrium compaction
  • Terzaghi’s Equation and a “shared overburden”
Pore Pressure Prediction
  • Pressure prediction workflow
  • Normal compaction trend analysis
  • Terzaghi’s principle
  • Eaton’s Ratio method
  • Equivalent Depth method
  • Bowers method
  • Seismic velocity based pressure prediction (an outline)
  • Basin modelling (an outline)
Reservoir vs. Shale Pressure
  • Lateral Drainage
  • Lateral Transfer
Secondary Mechanisms
  • Fluid volume increase
  • Load transfer
  • Recognising secondary mechanisms
DAY 3 The Use of Drilling Data
  • Why use drilling data?
  • What to look for
Well Planning
  • What is a well plan?
  • Why do we need a well plan?
  • Elements of a well plan
  • Low, Expected & High cases
  • Pre-drill vs.Real-Time
Overpressure & the Hydrocarbon System
  • Seal breach mechanisms
  • Seal capacity, seal breach & column height
  • Protected traps
  • Reservoir quality
  • Migration
  • Hydrocarbon maturation
Mapping Overpressure
  • Compartmentalization
  • Vertical & lateral seals
  • Variable hydrocarbon-water contacts
  • Tilted contacts
  • Gravity vs. drainage-driven hydrodynamics
  • Effect on reserves
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