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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Petroleum Systems (EASC10108)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHydrocarbon resources fuel the entire Western-World lifestyle, yet the easily located resources are rapidly depleting, those remaining are in settings that are complex and difficult to access. Prospecting requires a high degree of understanding of both geological and geophysical aspects of basin exploration, and particularly the interplay between these two disciplines. Hydrocarbon exploration provides many intellectual challenges, Interpreting the subsurface, based in limited (and very expensive) data to optimise resource recovery requires a deep understanding of geology and geophysics, with prediction into data-poor areas a key skill. The subject is inter-disciplinary, involving both geology and geophysics.

The course utilises a variety of teaching methods:
Lectures and practical classes cover the petroleum system and the application of geophysical techniques to exploration and other subsurface problems
Field study of Jurassic rocks along the coastline near Helmsdale, NE Scotland, world-class examples of fault-related clastic sedimentation
Interpretation of seismic reflection profiles of a sedimentary succession at the basin margin near Helmsdale
Course description The course will cover the following:
- Conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources
- Origin of Oil and Gas
- Petroleum Geochemistry
- Seismic attribute analysis
- Source rocks
- Maturation and migration
- Plays, traps and field volumes
- Drilling and wireline logs
- Introduction to North Sea Plays
- Reservoirs, Source rocks and seals in the field
- Digital Seismic Interpretation
- Digital basin modelling
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Half of the field excursion travel and accommodation
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 24, Fieldwork Hours 32, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 6, Summative Assessment Hours 65, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 58 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam - 50%
Coursework - 50%

Assessment will consist of:
Field Notebook and A3 summary diagram (25 %)
Report on digital seismic interpretation exercise (25 %)
Exam, 1 hour 30 minutes duration. 2 long-answer questions chosen from 4 options; 1 or more of the questions may have multiple sub-questions; there is no practical element to the exam e.g. no accurate plotting of graphs or use of computers. (50 %)

NOTE: The exam will have questions based upon some or all of the following parts of the course:
The practical classes
The lectures
The Helmsdale field excursion
Feedback Opportunities for feedback are continuous throughout the course, during the practical sessions when the lecturer and demonstrators are available. Students are able to ask for verbal feedback weekly throughout the course informally.

On the field course, volunteers are asked to read their notebook entries for individual field locations, then constructive feedback is given by the leaders and class.

There is also a formative (informal) feedback session on the field excursion for the field notebooks, when a marking scheme is designed by the class, and each student marks a notebook belonging to someone else. The distribution of marks is determined by a show of hands, allowing you to tell how well you did compared to the other students. Short written feedback is also requested.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Use onshore outcrops to build up an overall picture of a sedimentary basin - how and when rifting initiated, sedimentary facies, subsidence history including effects of fault segmentation on sediment dispersal within the basin
  2. Practice basic field geology skills including field observation; keeping a notebook; synthesis of observations into a geological history
  3. Perform a simple seismic interpretation using industry-standard software (PETREL) including a simple volumetric calculation for an oilfield
  4. Describe the individual components of a petroleum system for both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon plays
  5. Analyse and understand typical data from petroleum production, e.g. produced volumes of hydrocarbons; a traditional suite of wireline logs
Reading List
Recommended Textbooks: (*, **, *** indicate relative usefulness):

*** Elements of Petroleum Geology, 2nd ed. By Richard Selley, Academic Press 1998.

*** Geological Field Techniques by Angela Coe (Chapters 1 -6) by Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

** Gluyas JG and Swarbrick R (2004) Petroleum GeoScience. Blackwell. Good for flow and integration of geology and geophysics applied to hydrocarbon exploration and production. ISBN 0632 03767 9

** Kearey, Brooks and Hill (2003). An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration. Blackwell. Good for seismic reflection, magnetics and gravity, wireline logs.

* Sedimentary Rocks in the Field (Geological Field Guide) by Maurice E Tucker

* The Field Description of Sedimentary Rocks (Geological Society of London Handbook Series) by Maurice E Tucker

Also refer to:

Hunt, JM 1996 Petroleum Geochemistry and Geology, 2nd Edition, Freeman and Co, New York.

Rider M 1996 The Geological interpretation of well logs, 2nd Edition. Whittles Publishing, Caithness

Glennie, KW, 1998 Introduction to the Petroleum Geology of the North Sea. 4th Ed. Blackwell Science

The field excursion always has students with a wide range of field expertise, we do expect some people without much geology. The books below on general sedimentology would be suitable background reading:

*Understanding the Earth (Chapter 15, Sedimentary Basins; Chapter 16, Clastic Sediments)

* Earth's Dynamic Systems 9th Edition (Chapter 5, Sedimentary Rocks; Chapter 10 Weathering)

*Sedimentology & Sedimentary Basins, from Turbulence to Tectonics (M. Leeder) (Part 6: Continental sediments, Part 7: Marine sediments)

*Elements of Petroleum Geology, Selley, RC, 2nd Edition 1998 (Chapter 6: The Reservoir)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsHydrocarbons,Reservoir,Seal,Petroleum System,Reserves
Course organiserDr Mark Wilkinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 5943
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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