Research Impact


Oilfield modelling for the hydrocarbon industry

Oil pumps

12 December 2014


The hydrocarbon industry uses UCL research on the Ainsa Basin in the Spanish Pyrenees to better manage its reservoirs, and to train engineers and managers. The Ainsa Basin is of considerable interest to the hydrocarbon industry because of its similarities with producing oilfields in deep-marine sandstone reservoirs in hydrocarbon provinces worldwide.

As an example, models from the Ainsa Basin were used to predict variations in reservoir quality in the North Sea's Buzzard Field hydrocarbon reservoir, which is operated principally by Nexen Petroleum UK.

The UCL team's groundbreaking study of the deep-marine sandy deposits in the Ainsa Basin is the only such study in the world to date.

Oil companies including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Nexen Petroleum and BP have used the research results to create improved in-house computer-generated hydrocarbon reservoir models. These allow the companies to manage and develop their reservoirs better, and lead to more informed business and investment decisions.

The highly skilled research students who work with the UCL group frequently move into employment within the hydrocarbon sector, further enhancing the industry's knowledge and understanding of oil reservoirs.

UCL research results are also used to run in-house training courses at hydrocarbon companies for geologists, geophysicists, reservoir engineers and managers. This training enables staff to make informed decisions throughout their careers about how to manage and maximise their reservoirs.