Fluvial Channel Reservoirs

The first evening lecture of the Edinburgh Geological Society’s winter series will take place on Wednesday 12 October at 7:30pm in the Hutton Lecture Theatre at the Grant Institute of Geology, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, when Prof Patrick Corbett, Heriot Watt University will talk about: Fluvial Channel Reservoirs – 20 years diagnosing their reservoir engineering attributes.

In 1994 the first study was undertaken to collect permeability data from opencast or surface mines in the Ayrshire Coalfields with the specific objective of generating synthetic well test responses. Well tests are undertaken by engineers on making a discovery in a fluvial reservoir to try to understand the lateral extent and size of the reservoir. At that time the tools for doing the simulation were rather simple, the models produced were rather simple and the results looked rather like the expected results in the engineering textbooks at the time.  Since then, as the data and understanding have improved, as Google Earth has provided images of fluvial systems across the world, as the simulators became more powerful, the grid blocks smaller and the models much larger, and more well tests have been conducted, we begin to see that the 3-D pressure responses are much more complex. This goes, in some way, to explain why fluvial reservoirs have lower recovery (and therefore higher remaining potential) than many other types of oil reservoir.  Twenty-two years later, we are still studying opencast mines in Ayrshire (the Spireslack Mine), building models and trying to understand fluid flow in complex reservoirs.

Patrick Corbett is Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University and Head of the Carbonates Reservoirs Group. His long-term research interests involve integration of reservoir geoscience, petrophysics, geophysics and reservoir engineering.

The meeting will be followed by tea and biscuits in the Cockburn Museum of the Grant Institute, to which all are invited.

A link to a map of the campus can be found at