Reservoir Evaluation and Management MSc

  • Delivery: Full Time
  • Programme type: Taught Programme
  • Study location: Edinburgh
  • Entry date: September

Overview

The MSc in Reservoir Evaluation and Management (REM) is a unique combination of Reservoir Geoscience and Reservoir Engineering centred around the individual reservoir rather than the wider regional geology (that is covered in our sister course MSc Petroleum Geoscience). The year-long programme focuses on how to develop predictive models of the reservoir.

Most development decisions in oil companies are based on the predictions of computer models of the subsurface. We teach our students the most effective ways to combine the geology, geophysics and reservoir engineering disciplines in order to develop computer models which provide the most robust predictions. The main objective of the MSc programme is to provide a thorough training in aspects of reservoir geology, geophysics and engineering, related to the appraisal and development of subsurface hydrocarbon resources.

Graduates of the REM MSc will be in a unique position of having a thorough understanding of the both the geosciences and engineering issues relevant to hydrocarbon reservoir behaviour.  The programme is deliberately intensive, typically consisting of working a full 5 days per week of lectures and practical work, including labs or tutorial exercises designed to teach practical skills in addition to learning theory. The course includes two field trips to observe geology in the field for those with and without prior geological experience.

The most challenging and fulfilling aspect of our course is the project work, particularly the team project, where students are tasked to propose a development plan for real field. The project integrates all the learning in reservoir geosciences and engineering disciplines and reinforces learning through team work.

Who should apply?

Students on the Reservoir Evaluation and Management programme come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including directly from undergraduate degrees and also from years to (occasionally!) decades of experience in the industry. Our students come to us from all parts of the world; in the last few years the students in all three MSc programmes have come from over 30 different nations.

Professional recognition

The programme is accredited by the Energy Institure and the IoM3.

Programme content

The Reservoir Evaluation and Management MSc (REM) is a unique combination of Reservoir Geoscience and Reservoir Engineering. It is composed of three key components that take place over the 1 year duration of the programme.  The initial part of the programme consists of taught courses which are assessed either by examination or a combination of examination and course work (normally 80:20). The taught courses provide 67% of the total marks in the programme, with the other 33% coming from a combination of group and individual project work. Between the taught courses and the projects, there is a nine-day field trip to northern Spain, where the different subjects covered in the taught courses are consolidated and integrated.

The three component parts of the MSc are:-

  1. A set of 8 taught courses, spread out over approximately 8 months. These subjects teach the students the full range of issues from geological concepts to simulation models and aid them in decision-making in reservoir appraisal and development.
  2. Based on the knowledge gained from the taught parts of the programme, students will be formed into groups which mimic a multidisciplinary team in an oil company. The teams are required to produce a full field evaluation and development plan, using data from a real oilfield.
  3. Students will get the opportunity to work on individual projects, either in industry, with oil companies or service companies, or with academic research groups around some of the latest research in Oil and Gas.

By the end of the programme, REM graduates will be able to join an oil company asset team as a productive member and be able to apply their learning from our teaching to real oilfield problems.

Part 1:  The taught courses.

The taught course content covers the general workflow for generating a model of the subsurface that can predict the flow of oil from the reservoir into the wells and to the surface.   The courses are split between 2 semesters, with a set of exams after each semester.

By the end of the taught programme, students will be able to take general geological concepts, understand what is relevant for modelling a hydrocarbon reservoir.  They will know how to construct a model of the reservoir, based on available measurements and data from the field, and use the model to assess volumes of hydrocarbons in place and to predict the future production of hydrocarbons from the field.

The courses are ordered below according to this high level generic workflow:-

Reservoir geology

  1. Reservoir concepts
  2. Reservoir sedimentology

Reservoir measurements and data

  1. Rock mechanics, geomechanics and geophysics
  2. Formation evaluation
  3. Well testing and production logging

Modelling and forecasting

  1. Geological Modelling and management
  2. Reservoir engineering
  3. Reservoir simulation

Please note that, in the programme itself, courses may be taught in an order different from that given above.

Reservoir concepts

(mandatory)

Why?

This course teaches students the basics of what geological features are important in oil field geology for different geological environments and how we can encapsulate these features such that they can be extracted from geological outcrops to be included in a computer model.

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:

  • Understand how geological features control measurable reservoir properties that impact on production performance.
  • Understand the concept of flow units and the basic processes involved in their development.
  • Be able to correlate, map and calculate where the hydrocarbons are and how much there is (hydrocarbons in place).
  • understand the basics of structural geology and geophysics for assessing reservoir structure and its impact on flow.

Reservoir sedimentology

(mandatory)

Why?

This course teaches students the range of different sedimentary environments that form the primary fabric of reservoirs and how to identify the depositional features that control flow of hydrocarbons through reservoirs deposited in the range of depositional environments. 

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:

  • Understand the physical and chemical processes responsible for the deposition of clastic and carbonate sediments.
  • Understand the primary controls on porosity and permeability and how these may be modified during burial diagenesis.
  • Be able to interpret the main depositional environments and to predict the likely reservoir sandbody geometries we might want to model and understand the associated reservoir issues.

Rock mechanics, geomechanics and geophysics

(mandatory)

Why?

This course covers 3 key areas of knowledge important in reservoir studies; the drivers for and measurement of how rocks deform, laboratory testing procedures that provide information around rock/fluid interactions under stress, and geophysical surveying of reservoirs.  The result is how to measure key properties of the reservoir at both large and small scales.

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:

Rock mechanics and laboratory tests

  • Understand the lab measurements of rock properties under stress.
  • Understand the principles of core measurements.
  • Understand Pc and Saturation relationships and relative permeability measurement.
  • Understand the need for corrections of petrophysical core measurements and the relation of core measurements to logs.

Geomechanics and geomechanical modelling

  • Describe and represent the geometric characteristics of reservoirs. Explain development of reservoir shape in terms of deformation processes.
  • Understand impact of deformation on fluid flow, especially the role of faults and fractures.
  • Geomechanical approach to understanding flow in deformed rocks.

Reservoir Geophysics (basic principles)

  • Influence of rocks and reservoir fluids on seismic properties.
  • Seismic Attributes & Seismic Inversion.
  • Imaging and Resolution (tuning effects).
  • Correlation between Reservoir Characteristics & Attributes.
  • Acquisition & Processing (fundamentals, migration).
  • 4D Seismic.

Formation evaluation

(mandatory)

Why?

Wireline logs are our only view of the reservoir rocks and fluids via the wells without extracting the rock from the ground.  As such, they are our primary source of information about the distribution of rocks and fluids underground and provide the most high-resolution measurements of our reservoir.  We must therefore be able to read and interpret these measurements in order to know what geology is present, where flow is likely to occur and where the hydrocarbons are located.


The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:

  • Understand the concept of formation evaluation and well logging.
  • Understand the physical principles of the tools used in logging.
  • Characterise the formation based on interpretation of well logs.

Well testing and production logging

(mandatory)

Why?

Well test and production logging tell us about how our reservoir will flow, the makeup of the reservoir fluid, the producing zones of the reservoir and provide information about the reservoir away from the wells.  Well tests provide vital input into the modelling process concerning the position of faults, the distribution of flow and the average flow properties around the well.

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:    

  • Understand the diffusivity equation and the derivation of analytical solutions related to reservoir features (wells, fractures, aquifers).
  • Use the analytical solutions to describe fluid flow in a reservoir.
  • Calculate reservoir permeability in simple and complex reservoir geometries.

Modelling and reservoir management

(mandatory)

Why?

This course teaches students how to take all the measured data and geological understanding of the reservoir and integrate these together into a consistent and meaningful model of the spatial distribution of reservoir properties.  These properties dictate where oil is stored and where it is likely to flow, so modelling their spatial distribution is essential when deciding the best development strategy (e.g. where to drill a new well).  Furthermore, we need to understand how the spatial model can be used in making decisions and how uncertainty in the model properties away from the wells must be considered and quantified.

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:    

  • Understand the concept and basis of geomodelling (includes geostatistics and equiprobable realisations).
  • Understand the workflow in constructing a geomodel.
  • Understand the role of integration in geomodelling.
  • Understand reservoir management.
  • Understand uncertainty in geomodelling and how it is treated.

Reservoir engineering

(mandatory)

Why?

This course teaches students the physics of how the different fluids present in the reservoir interact with each other and the rock. An understanding of fluid flow and drive mechanisms underpins the sub surface flow behaviours that we aim to predict in our simulation models.

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to allow the student to:

  • Understand the rock and fluid properties of a hydrocarbon reservoir.
  • Describe how the behaviour of the various reservoir fluids changes as the reservoir conditions change.
  • Describe the nature of the fluid flow and pressure distribution in a reservoir.
  • Understand the how production strategies and drive mechanisms (the energy sources that drive production in the reservoir) on recovery of reserves.

Reservoir simulation

(mandatory)

Why?

This course teaches students the principles of simulating fluid flow in the subsurface in 3D computer models of the reservoir.  These models are built upon the geological model of static reservoir properties that control flow (see modelling and management) and predict the likely rates and total production from the reservoir for a given development strategy.

The aim of this course

The overall aim of this course is to: 

  • Develop an understanding of the role of simulation in reservoir engineering.
  • Gain insight into the value of simulation.
  • Provide the appropriate numerical techniques to enhance hydrocarbon recovery.

Compulsory non-examined courses

In addition to the 8 taught courses, there are also two shorter courses, on Drilling and Production Technology and Petroleum Economics. Each of these, which lasts only 1 or 2 days, is known as a compulsory course component. They are not formally examined, but play an important role in the team project, and so are effectively assessed through that component of the degree programme.

Compulsory Course Component A – Drilling and Production Technology

This course teaches the students the concepts around drilling as drilling engineering and technology are essential to the development of an oil field. Drilling provides the conduits to the oil sub surface and the data on which to assess and develop the field. It is our only direct route the field.  Key parts of the course are:

  • Rig Components.
  • Measurement while Drilling.
  • Reservoir Production Concepts.
  • Wellbore Completion Concept.
  • Horizontal and Advanced Wells.

Compulsory Course Component B – Petroleum Economics

Beyond evaluating the size and productivity of a reservoir, any decision on whether to develop a field is based on its value. Economics is therefore essential in providing the tools to calculate the value of a reservoir and help to make an informed decision in whether or not to develop an asset. Key parts of the petroleum economics course are:

  • Understand the economic concepts involved in project evaluation.
  • Understand the value of investments.
  • Evaluate risks associated with economic decisions.
  • Project Ranking.

Both compulsory parts of the course provide essential skills to allow the students to pass the Team project.

Project

Part 2:  Team Project.

In the team project is designed to give our students a realistic experience of life working in a real oil company asset team.  They are required to use all of the skill developed in the taught part of the course to produce a development plan for a field based on real field data, with all its complexities.  From student feedback this is the most challenging and rewarding part of the MSc and sets our students up for a realistic experience of working in the oil and gas industry.

The Team project has 2 aspects.  Firstly a field trip to observe the realistic geology that is present in their field project, then the team project itself.

Field Trip

Following the taught courses and their exams, there is a nine-day field trip to northern Spain in spring. The field trip, to the Southern Pyrenean Basin and Ebro Basin, enables the class to examine rocks deposited in a wide range of environments, including fluvial, shallow marine, deltaic and deep marine. Throughout the trip, the students will work in the teams established for the team Field Evaluation Project which follows our return to the UK. We will consider the rocks seen in the field in terms of their reservoir behaviour, but will also discuss issues related to drilling, well testing, petrophysics, geophysics etc. and integrate the various disciplines studied in the first two semesters.

Examination of rocks at outcrop allows issues of scale, heterogeneity and 3-D geometry to be discussed in a way which is difficult to achieve in the classroom. As part of the trip, the teams will build a numerical model of one of the outcrops studied and will simulate fluid flow through the model (using industry-standard software) in order to gain a better  understanding of the modelling issues and potential reservoir behaviour.

Outcrop data will be gathered in the field, some of which might be of use in the team Field Evaluation Project.

Team Field Evaluation Project

The team project aims to simulate a multi-disciplinary appraisal and development project within a petroleum company. The teams are deliberately chosen to have a wide range of backgrounds and experience and will normally include several individuals with oil industry experience. For the chosen field, teams are provided with geological data, including seismic, well logs and core data, in addition to a range of engineering data including well tests, RFT data etc. The aim of the project is to calculate the volume of hydrocarbons in place in the reservoir (STOIIP) and to propose a development plan. Assessment of data quality and uncertainties, as well as the economic aspects, are an important part of the project.

Aims

  • Working as an individual but also as part of an integrated team.
  • Draw up a work programme to achieve the aims of project.
  • Provide results in written report form as well as in a presentation to examiners.

Assessment

Written report and oral presentation.  Peer assessment within the team and an individual single-well study are also taken into account in the final mark.

Part 3:  Individual Project.

Either in industry or within Heriot-Watt, students have the opportunity to undertake an examined research project within the area of Reservoir Geoscience and Engineering. The projects are supervised by members of staff in IPE and can contain any combination of the subjects studied during the taught course or in the team project. Students with industrial experience may bring a project from their own company, but the majority of projects are developed within IPE, following discussion between the student and appropriate staff members.

Aims

The main aim is to carry out an individual research project on a relevant technical problem for a real field or a more cutting edge research focused project.

To do this the students will need to:

  • Be self sufficient and make the project their own.
  • Do a critical appraisal of a problem, followed by devising a strategy to investigate the problem by research into and around the issue.
  • Use appropriate technical resources or perform relevant calculations or experimentation to test their proposed solutions.
  • Report their findings in a structured written report and oral presentation. Students are also require to produce a brief paper (suitable for an academic publication), summarising their work.

Assessment

Written report (90%) and oral presentation (10%).

Entry requirements

Entrants to the courses will normally have a good Honours Degree in engineering or a relevant science discipline such as geology, physics, chemistry or mathematics, from a British or overseas university. A background in geoscience is useful but not essential. The general selection criteria are ability and employability and, in addition to academic qualifications, experience, personality and motivation are taken into consideration.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 2 semesters English (for IELTS of 4.5-5.0);
  • 12 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5*-6.0). (*minimum 5.5 reading and writing)

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for 2014 entry (by residency status)
Status* Full-time
Scotland / Non-UK EU 9720
England/Northern Ireland/Wales 11470
Overseas 25920

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

Additional fee information

All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes full print and electronic versions of the course notes, core text books, a tablet PC (all IPE students are currently provided with a free iPad), field trips and any day trips arranged as part of the course.
Students should budget additional funds sufficient to cover living expenses such as accommodation, travel to and from the university, food, clothing and leisure pursuits.

Scholarships & bursaries

Additional scholarship information

Industrial sponsorship

Many of our past students have gained funding from industry sources, both those companies involved in oil exploration and production in their home countries or larger international companies that offer scholarship programs. For example:

  • Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
  • Bolahak, Kazakhstan
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Chevening scholarships
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Shell
  • ExxonMobil

There are also a number of Industrial sponsorships available every year to UK and EU students. All eligible applicants (generally EU/UK students) automatically have their CVs or applications sent to participating petroleum companies, who offer a limited number of sponsorships each year to our students, across all three programmes. The number of sponsorships offered will vary depending on the companies’ needs and situations, and the quality of the student applicants and are given our after an interview event that takes place during the summer before the course starts.