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Introduction to Petroleum Geology (GEOL90048)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 6.25On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeGEOL90048
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This course is taught from first principles and assumes only a basic knowledge of geology. The course introduces the different types of oil and gas and where they occur in the world, and covers the nature, origin and occurrence of oil source rocks, ie. where the oil originates. The migration of oil from source rocks to reservoir is discussed as well as the nature of reservoir rocks and seals – how the oil and gas are trapped. The sedimentary environments of reservoirs and source rocks are pointed out and analyzed on seismic data, so that areas of high potential for oil exploration can be assessed. The basic principles of seismic interpretation are covered as well as interpretation of electric logs. On a regional scale, the origins of sedimentary basins are reviewed with a discussion of those likely to be prospective for oil and gas and those likely to be barren. The exploration strategy of oil companies is considered, including risking prospects and a simple economic analysis. Finally, oil shales and tar sands are examined as the likely source of oil and gas later in this century.

The practical part of the course involves examining seismic lines, logs, burial history curves and core (if possible) from the Drummond Basin in Queensland to assess its hydrocarbon potential. The practical continues over 5 days and culminates with each participant writing a short geological report reviewing the potential of the basin and making a recommendation to management about how the company should proceed. The course also includes mapping the giant Hides gasfield in Papua New Guinea and carrying out a volumetrics analysis. The course includes real exploration examples from the Canadian Rockies, Devonian reefs, the Papuan Fold Belt and inversion anticlines in Australia and SE Asia amongst others.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Develop an understanding the nature and origin of petroleum and petroleum source rocks
  • Learn exploration techniques and the characteristics of petroleum deposits
  • Conduct seismic interpretation to define the structure of deposits
  • Learn how to interpret and identify unconventional oil reserves

Generic skills

  • Exercise critical judgement
  • Undertake rigorous and independent thinking
  • Adopt a problem-solving approach to new and unfamiliar tasks
  • Develop high-level written report and/or oral presentation skills
  • Work as part of a team
  • Interrogate, synthesise and interpret the published literature

Last updated: 5 May 2019