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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Geology for GeoEnergy (PGGE11293)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course provides an overview of the basics of geology associated with geoenergy applications such as petroleum exploration, carbon storage or geothermal energy provision.

We start with the fundamentals: the three rock groups, the geological timescale, geological maps, the basic petroleum system as an analogue for CO2 storage and other geoenergy applications. We then cover the fundamentals of igneous and metamorphic rocks, then on the origin and physical properties of clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks that form the majority of reservoirs and aquifers. We further examine how Earth movements make the traps that hold petroleum and could be used for CO2 or energy storage. Finally, we will introduce the geophysics of detecting fluids in the subsurface, and the basics of the seismic method that is used to image the subsurface.

The course includes a single day field excursion, a report from which contributes to the assessment, with the remainder assessed by examination.

This course is not available for undergraduates
Course description 1. Overview of Geological Principals: Rock types: igneous, sediments, metamorphic
- The rock cycle and how to describe rocks
- Sediments: beds, basins, Walther¿s Law
- The basic petroleum system as analogue for subsurface trapping
- The Geological Timescale and the dating of rocks
- Unconformities, sequence stratigraphy and geological maps

2. Geology of Sandstones: Origin (weathering and erosion, provenance)
- Depositional models, reservoir heterogeneity
- Physical description (porosity, packing, permeability, bedding)
- Porosity decline with depth
- Petrology and classification
- Diagenesis and secondary porosity

3. Shales, seals and others: physical description of seal rocks (porosity, permeability, capillary seals)
- Depositional models
- Petrology and classification
- Evaporates: Depositional models, poro-perm, dissolution, diapirism
- Coals

4. Carbonates: Depositional environments, morphology and reservoir quality and an overview of metamorphic and igneous rocks
- Depositional environments of carbonates
- Causes of heterogeneity
- Control of seawater chemistry and their reactivity
- The principles of igneous and metamorphic rocks

5. Structural Geology and Introduction to Geophysics:
- Plate tectonic models, basins
- Reconnaissance exploration techniques, seismic surveying, magnetic surveying, gravity surveying

Practical exercises are to be completed in students own time following each weeks lecture. These will be reviewed as a group in the following week.
1. Basic Rock types
6 geological samples will be provided for you to examine. You will match the samples to the descriptions given.
2. Sandstones
You will describe sandstone samples and then assess their potential as reservoir rocks.
3. Shales, Seals and Coals
Examples of these rocks will be provided for you to examine and describe, along with an assessment of their potential as seals.
4. Carbonates
6 geological samples will be provided for you to examine. You will match the samples to the short descriptions given and write your own more detailed description.
5. Course revision session
Question and answer session on any aspect of the course and release of the 4 page fully referenced essay topics.
Field Trip date is provisionally Wednesday 18th October 2023 but this is to be confirmed as the trip is dependent on weather, tides.
The field trip will likely be a one-day excursion to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where we examine rocks along the coast to observe potential reservoir (sandstone, limestone), seal (shale) and structures (folds, faults) exposures, or an excursion in the local Edinburgh area to examine similar rocks and structures.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course cannot be taken by any student who has previously studied Geoscience, and specifically subsurface exploration including oil and gas exploration
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Block 1 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4, Fieldwork Hours 10, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%

Field Report (30%): A short report (8 pages maximum) summarising your observations from the fieldtrip including photographs and sketches with citations to the literature where appropriate.
Deadline: week 6

End of Course Essay: A 4 page fully referenced essay to be submitted at the end of the course in Week 6 of semester 1. A selection of topics for the essay will be provided in advance for students to choose from.
Deadline: week 7
Feedback Feedback is a key component of your learning experience, and something that is given a high priority in the Geology for Earth Resources course. Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback in the following instances:

- Personal 1-to-1 feedback during the practical sessions, as students' progress on the exercises during the course (once a week). Feedback will be provided by teaching staff.
- Personal 1-to-1 feedback during the one day field trip. Feedback will be provided by teaching staff.
- Individual feedback will be provided on each students report summarising the major geological events shown by the rocks observed on the fieldtrip. This will include recommendations as to how you can improve your grades.
Students are expected to build on this feedback to progress and produce work of good standard. Course team members are happy to give individual feedback to students who ask.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A broad, integrated knowledge of the basics of geology associated with petroleum exploration, carbon storage or groundwater provision.
  2. A critical understanding of the origin and physical properties of clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks which form the majority of reservoirs and aquifers.
  3. Familiarity with common sedimentary rock types and their description.
  4. Introductory experience of field geology.
Reading List
Basic Geology:
Understanding the Earth: Chapter 15, Sedimentary Basins and Chapter 16, Clastic Sediments
Earth's Dynamic Systems 9th Edition: Chapter 5, Sedimentary Rocks and Chapter 10, Weathering
Sedimentology & Sedimentary Basins, from Turbulence to Tectonics (M. Leeder)
Part 6: Continental sediments and Part 7: Marine sediments
Elements of Petroleum Geology, Selley, R.C., 2nd Edition, 1998, Chapter 6: The Reservoir.

Geological field Techniques by Angela Coe (the sedimentary section only).
Sedimentary Rocks in the Field (Geological Field Guide) by Maurice E. Tucker
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordspetroleum exploration,carbon storage,CO2,storage
Course organiserDr Stuart Gilfillan
Tel: (0131 6)51 3462
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Jones
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