Pressure Consultancy and Training Services

Richard has extensive worldwide experience in pore pressure prediction and fracture pressure prediction in the gas and oil industry.  He developed the “Swarbrick Method” for pore pressure prediction based on concepts described in his 2002 AAPG Memoir paper with Mark Osborne and Gareth Yardley, and more recently summarised in his 2012 paper in Leading Edge.  He has also helped to create a new method to predict fracture pressure based on new observations and understanding of pore pressure-stress coupling in sedimentary basins. This work was published in a 2017 paper with Richard Lahann, in a Geological Society special publication 458.

Training and Mentoring in Subsurface Pressures

Richard has been involved in professional development training since 1994, and has trained over 1500 geoscientists, engineers, drillers and managers in aspects of subsurface pressures, their risks and prediction.  He has received wide acclaim as a skilled presenter, with clear audio-visual material and a strong “question and answer” style.

Swarbrick GeoPressure Consultancy offers two courses for open or in-house training:

Best Practice in Pore Pressure and Fracture Pressure Prediction” held over 2 days.  The course is for geoscientists and engineers involved in prediction of pressures prior to well planning, especially in high-pressure areas.

Generic Best Practice Pore and Fracture Pressures Course

Understanding Subsurface Pressures”  is a 3-day course for geoscientists and geo-engineers throughout the oil/gas industry.  The course explains the origin of abnormal pressures, pressure plots, seal breach/risk, hydrodynamics and the influence of overpressure on the petroleum system.

Generic Subsurface Pressures Course

These courses mix formal teaching via lecture with exercises, some done in teams.

“Practical Pressure Prediction” is an intense one-week training course, designed in conjunction with the client company, to examine all aspects of pore fluid and fracture pressure prediction as critical components in well planning and safety management. The course incorporates a strong element of small-group coaching and involves preparation of material from the client’s data to provide both example material and exercises.


Richard has been recently involved in industry-funded research projects at Durham University, including:

  • MSc by Research on “Seal capacity and hydrocarbon column height” completed end 2016.
  • GeoPOP3 research on “Evidence for unintended underbalanced drilling” completed in 2015.
  • PhD on: “Influence of overpressure on reservoir quality in the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand” – ongoing research due for completion in 2018.