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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

- Interpretation of seismic reflection profiles of a sedimentary succession at the basin margin near Helmsdale using state-of-the-art digital software (Petrel) and seismic data, kindly donated by Schlumberger.

Please note that the field excursion to Helmsdale will not take place this year due to the Covid19 pandemic. It is replaced by a lecture, online quiz and online discussion session that will cover the essential background that you need for the seismic interpretation exercise.
Course description Syllabus (MW = Mark Wilkinson, MC = Mark Chapman)

- Conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources
- Origin of Oil and Gas
- Petroleum Geochemistry
- Source rocks
- Maturation and migration
- Plays, traps and field volumes
- Drilling and wireline logs
- Introduction to Northern and Southern Sea petroleum geology
- Introduction to digital seismic interpretation
- Introduction to digital basin modelling

Course summary by week:
Session 1
Lecture 1: Introduction to course; petroleum systems; unconventional hydrocarbon resources (MW)
Session 2
Lecture: Introduction to seismic reflection interpretation 1 (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Introduction to the geological evolution of the Inner Moray Firth, as background for the seismic interpretation exercise (MW)
Session 2
Lecture: Introduction to seismic reflection interpretation 2 (MC)
Online test: Geological evolution of the Inner Moray Firth
Online discussion: Geological evolution of the Inner Moray Firth

Session 1
Lecture: Origin of oil and gas; source rocks (MW)
Practical: UK Hydrocarbon resources (MW)
Session 2
Lecture: Introduction to seismic reflection interpretation 3 (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Maturation of source rocks; geochemical compositions of crude oils (MW)
Practical: Calculation of burial and maturation using PetroMod basin modelling software (MW)
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Migration from the source rock; migration to the trap; sealing of trap; fluid pressure in the subsurface. (MW)
Practical: Estimating the reserves of an oilfield (MW)
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Petroleum systems, plays, traps and fluids (MW)
Practical: Moderated discussion of future sources of energy (MW)
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Drilling and wireline logs (MW)
Practical: Wireline log interpretation (MW)
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Introduction to Southern North Sea plays (MW)
Practical: Core logging JCMB Room 6307 for practical note that this exercise will only take place if approval can be gained from the School's safety officer.
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Introduction to Northern North Sea plays (MW)
Practical: Digital seismic interpretation: Southern North Sea (MW).
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)

Session 1
Lecture: Using the subsurface including Carbon Capture and Storage (MW)
Practical: Geological Carbon Storage (MW)
Session 2
Practical: Digital Seismic Interpretation (MC)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020) OR Introduction to the Geological Record (EASC08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
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:
Coursework, set in Week 5, consisting of 2 essays from 4 available, to cover a reasonable range of the course material. 1 week will be allowed for the assessment. Defined word limit per essay and expectation of modest extra reading (2 - 4 references per essay). The questions will be of similar style to the exam ones, to give students experience of the format and feedback on progress. (50%)

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 graph, calculation or use of computers. No length limit. (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 seismic interpretation exercise (but will not include knowledge of how the Petrel software works)

Assessment deadlines:
Coursework essays: Friday week 6 semester 1

Moderation: In this course, all assessments will be moderated via Sampled Second Marking. This is a process whereby an academic member of staff, different from the marker, looks at a samples of the work to ensure consistency of marking. Where multiple markers mark the same assessment moderation also verifies that all markers are marking to the same standard.
The moderator is not double marking and cannot change individual marks. They can only make recommendations to adjust marks.
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. Worked answers to practical classes are available online on LEARN, for self-assessment of work.

Each student may submit 1 written answer to any previous exam question for formative feedback, at any stage of the course.
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. Understand the geological evolution of the Inner Moray Firth - how and when rifting initiated, sedimentary facies, subsidence history including effects of fault segmentation on sediment dispersal within the basin
  2. Perform a simple seismic interpretation using industry-standard software (PETREL) including a simple volumetric calculation for an oilfield
  3. Describe the individual components of a petroleum system for both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon plays
  4. Analyse and understand typical data from petroleum production, e.g. produced volumes of hydrocarbons; a traditional suite of wireline logs
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsHydrocarbons,Reservoir,Seal,Petroleum System,Reserves
Course organiserDr Mark Wilkinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 5943
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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