PETROENG 3005 - Reservoir Characterisation & Modelling

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

The objective of this course is to teach the basic science, technology and related assumptions involved in carrying out an integrated reservoir characterisation study. It will prepare students to understand and interpret techniques that underlie commercial software (but will not teach software usage itself). The emphasis is on providing students with knowledge of a 'toolkit' for, but not a prescriptive approach to, the ultimate goal of constructing 3D static models. The course has three main components. 1) Data sources, quality and analysis, including spatial analysis. 2) Generating 3D models of reservoir properties - classical gridding and mapping, kriging as a data-driven (variogram) form of classical mapping (estimation) and a means of data integration. Simulation techniques are introduced as a means of assessing uncertainty resulting from heterogeneity. 3) Scaling of grids and property models for the purpose of reservoir simulation is the final topic. The integration and application of all the major ideas is illustrated by a case study.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PETROENG 3005
    Course Reservoir Characterisation & Modelling
    Coordinating Unit Australian School of Petroleum
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Block-format course with integrated lectures, practicals (computer based) and discussions
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge PETROENG 1005, PETROENG 1006, PETROENG 2009, SACE Stage 2 Maths, ENG 1003 (or equivalent)
    Course Description The objective of this course is to teach the basic science, technology and related assumptions involved in carrying out an integrated reservoir characterisation study. It will prepare students to understand and interpret techniques that underlie commercial software (but will not teach software usage itself). The emphasis is on providing students with knowledge of a 'toolkit' for, but not a prescriptive approach to, the ultimate goal of constructing 3D static models.
    The course has three main components. 1) Data sources, quality and analysis, including spatial analysis. 2) Generating 3D models of reservoir properties - classical gridding and mapping, kriging as a data-driven (variogram) form of classical mapping (estimation) and a means of data integration. Simulation techniques are introduced as a means of assessing uncertainty resulting from heterogeneity. 3) Scaling of grids and property models for the purpose of reservoir simulation is the final topic. The integration and application of all the major ideas is illustrated by a case study.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Mohammad Sayyafzadeh

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Learn the main terminology, concepts, tools, and techniques used for generating 3D static reservoir models.
    2 Understand some of key issues in reservoir characterisation & modelling, particularly uncertainty & heterogeneity
    3 Practice using these tools – computer exercises
    4 Develop a critical-thinking and problem-solving approach to modelling, rather than a prescriptive or “recipe” approach
    5 Develop & practice skills in data analysis and using Excel (key tools for all engineers)
    6 Illustrate how the main tools & techniques are used for real problems through case studies
    7 If time, demonstrate some commercial software that is commonly used in the O&G industry (Petrel)
    8 As an effective member of a team, research a paper/topic related to the course material and present a critical review of it
    9 Read and understand a range of papers and articles related to reservoir characterization
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    PDFs of powerpoints and additional readings. Additional exercises & Readings

    A draft book/notes that Prof. Begg is co-authoring will also be provided on MyUni at the end of the course.
    Recommended Resources
    There is no single text that covers all the material in this course. The following would be useful:

    · Ringrose & Bentley 2015, Reservoir Model Design, Springer.
    · Jensen, J., 2000, Statistics for Petroleum Engineers and Geoscientists (2nd edition) , Elsevier
    · Pyrcz & Deutsch, 2014, Geostatistical Reservoir Modelling, Oxford University Press (or previous 2002 version by Deutsch only)

    You are not required to buy any of the above. An extended list of reference materials and sources will be provided in class.
    Online Learning

    Powerpoints, Examples and Exercises (& their solutions) will be distributed on MyUni along with additional handouts. Laptops will be provided for in-class Excel exercises 

    Good sources of help with learning are the downloadable learning guides (Writing, Effective Reading, Making Notes, Time Management, Exam Prep, etc) and links to other learning resources at
    The “Writing and Speaking at Uni” course will help with assignments. I can provide further tips on preparing presentations for those that would like them.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The block-course format (sometimes, misleadingly, called short-course) is commonly used in industry (continued professional development) and is the norm for 4th year and post-graduate courses in the ASP. This 3rd year course provides you an opportunity to understand the transition from semesterised- to block-course format.

    It also represents a stage when you are expected to take greater responsibility for your own learning – lectures cover the main ideas and are pointers to the topics you should learn about – rather than comprehensive coverage of the curriculum.  

    One of the advantages of the block-course format is that you can immerse yourself in a single subject, without distraction or having to “re-load” for each session. Another is that there is no need to force-fit the material to the 1hr lecture/tute format – each topic can be addressed in the time it needs. Yet another advantage is that it provides an opportunity for immediate feedback on how you are doing as exercises are carried out, and solutions presented, in-class, after the concept has been taught.

    Laptops will be provided for in-class exercises– and you are welcome to bring your own if you would like. Students are expected to engage with discussions.

    A disadvantage is that the compressed time-scale means that you do not have as much time to let one concept sink in before moving on to another. For this reason 

    - we integrate the exercises to practice concepts immediately after learning them, before moving on to the next concept. The amount of time for in-class exercises is set such that 90% or more of students should be able to finish them.

    ­- you are STRONGLY ADVISED to take a break after the end of class each day and then revise the day’s material for a couple of hours.

    Learning tips (not just for short courses):
    For most people it takes about 4 repetitions to get information into your long term memory. Apparently (can’t remember where I learnt this from) the best way to do it is to revise the information the day you learn it (2nd time), then one week later (3rd time), then one month later (4th time).

    At the start of a course section, I usually provide grey-scale versions of the PowerPoint slides shown in class Students often find it useful to have several highlighter pens for use with these handouts, because I make a lot of use of colour. PDF files of the full colour PowerPoint slides will be available on MyUni after the class.

    After-class consultation and Provision of Feedback to Students:
    Solutions to in-class exercises and the mid-course test will be provided in-class. Solutions to after-class exercises will be posted on My Uni within two weeks of end of class.

    I will arrange several mutually convenient time-slots when I will be available, in the weeks following the class, for questions related to exercises and course content.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This course involves approximately the same number of contact hours that would be delivered in a semesterised course (45). During a semesterised course, you would be expected to spend a approximately twice the number of hours outside of class – learning the material, revising notes, reading more widely about the topics covered, practicing examples, finishing exercises, etc. The same is true for block-course – but this must occur after the course. Do not be fooled into thinking that, apart from the follow-up assignment, “it's an intense week (and a bit), then I’m done”. To do so is likely to lead to decreased learning and poorer performance in the exam than you would otherwise achieve – you have been advised!
    Learning Activities Summary
    The overall structure of the course material is as shown below. Details of the topics to be covered each day will be provided at the start of the first teaching block.  

    The main topics will include:

    · Overview of Reservoir Characterisation
    · Data Sources, Quality and Analysis
        o Types, scales, uncertainty
        o Short review of Probability
        o Univariate and bivariate Statistics
        o Measuring & Modelling Spatial Continuity (Variograms)
    · Framework Modelling - Mapping, Contouring, Faults
    · Grid Types, Design and their relation to reservoir features and model purpose
    · Geostatistical Estimation
        o Geostatistical Concepts
        o Kriging
        o (Estimation of Dependent Variables – if time)
    · Geostatistical Simulation
        o Simulation versus Estimation
        o Sequential Indicator Simulation
        o Object Modelling
    · Up-gridding & Up-scaling
        o Simple averages, Pressure solver
    · Integrated Reservoir Characterisation Case Study – Prudhoe Bay
    · Demo of Industry Software for Reservoir Characterisation & Modelling
        o Petrel from Schlumberger (if time)
    · Core-store visit and exercises
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Midcourse test 10 Individual Summative N/A Block mode 1. 2. 6.
    Assignment 30 Group & Indiv Summative N/A Block mode 1. 4. 9.
    Project 60 Individual Summative 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.

    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.

    10% in-class activity:
    You need to submit up to 5 Excel-based exercises (identify during the class and also via announcements). Submissions are
    counted as the in-class activity. You will get one week to submit your excelsheets, i.e., Week#7 for first part exercises and Swot week for the second part exercises. The exercises are given during the lectures and I will assist you with doing the exercises. The solutions will be made available after submissions are due.

    30% group assignment:
    Each group (groups of 2-3 members) requires to review a journal or conference paper, on a topic associated with this course, at the mini-conference in the second teaching block (week#13). This could be in the form of a case study (application of the course content to a real field) or an individual/particular topic of interest to you (e.g., geostatistics, variography, data analysis, reservoir characterisation data from geological analogs, modelling faults & fractures, up-scaling, etc.).

    The review should consist of a summary of the paper plus some critique (was is good/useful/clear/error-free ....).Your group needs to make a presentation, max 18 minutes, to the whole class. In addition, you should allow an extra 5-10 minutes for questions.

    60% project:
    You need to do a computer-based project and prepare a report. The project will be handed and explained in details during the class. This is an individual project and each student receives a distinct set of data to analyse (variography and transformation) and generate maps (for the given atterbute by kriging method) using your own MatLab (or Python) codes. The due date for
    submission is final exam time.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Final mark will be a weighted average of each component. There is no requirement to achieve a minimum mark in any individual component of the assessment.
    Assessment Detail
    Mid-course: 35min, around 5 short-answers questions during the first teaching block. The main function of the mid-course test will be to provide further examples of the main exam and to illustrate the standard of answers expected. To facilitate this, and to provide rapid feedback, the mid-course test will be marked, and ideal answers discussed, in-class. Although the main purpose of the mid-course test is formative, a 10% contribution to final grade is awarded to incentivise full participation and therefore deriving maximum value from it. An example question and ideal answer will be provided prior to the test.

    Assignment: will be in the form of a group research project. Full details will be provided during the first teaching block and posted on MyUni. The purpose of the assignment is two-fold. First as a component of assessment, second as a part of course content – all class members will listen to each group presentation. A rubric will be provided to illustrate expected achievement levels for each marking criterion.

    Final exam: 2.5 hours, closed-book, during the winter official examination period. About 15 short-answer questions, no choice, in the same style as the mid-course test. There will be a discussion of expectation levels for exam questions in the first session, and at the mid-course test

    Further details, and tips, will be discussed in class and recorded via Powerpoint slides and Handouts.
    Submission of Assignment
    Details will be provided in the Assignment Handout during the first teaching block and posted on MyUni thereafter

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Co-ordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time or minor illness.

    Penalty for Late Submission of Assessment Tasks
    Assessment tasks must be submitted by the stated deadlines unless you have previously arranged this with Prof Begg for extenuating circumstances – (poor time planning, conflicting activities and minor illness are not extenuating circumstances). There will be a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks. The submitted work will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and 10% of the obtained mark will be deducted for each working day (or part of a day) that an assessment task is late, up to a maximum penalty of 50% of the mark attained. An examiner may elect not to accept any assessment task that a student wants to submit after that task has been marked and feedback provided to the rest of the class.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Contact Admin for School policy on remarking of exams.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    It is important that all students maintain active communication channels throughout the year. The primary communication channels to students in this course are as follows.

    Email: Each student should regularly check his or her University-provided email account for information from members of the academic staff concerning course work matters and other announcements as they arise. Make sure you clean up your Inbox regularly as if it is full you will not receive our email! We will regard an email message being sent to your student email address or an announcement posted on the MyUni site as our having communicated with each member of the class. Not reading one’s University provided email or MyUni announcements will not be a valid excuse for missing important deadlines etc.

    MyUni: Students should regularly check the MyUni website (
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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