Geology of the North Sea


Course Objective

The objective of this course is to give students a detailed
understanding of the geology of the wider North Sea area and Northwest
European petroleum provinces as an excellent example of a very rich and
varied petroleum province. The course will provide an in-depth and
comprehensive review of the many aspects of exploration and development
as they are applied to one of the World's classic and most important
petroleum provinces about which much detailed information is available.
It provides excellent examples of how petroleum systems work and how oil
and gas are trapped in a range of different settings spanning a
considerable period of the geological time scale. Emphasis is placed on
the impact of the geological history the occurrence and distribution of

Course Content

This course is part of the Lecture Stream 'Subsurface Resourcing' which
contains a series of elective courses that prepares for activities in
the subsurface (geothermal, CO2 sequestration, hydrocarbon exploration
and production). Many examples of successful techniques, originally
developed for the oil and gas industry, need also to be applied
elsewhere in order to achieve safe and accurate operations.

Different lecturers from Utrecht University and Vrije Universiteit
Amsterdam will address the many aspects of the petroleum
geology of the wider North Sea area, including the Norwegian Atlantic
margin. Several staff actively working in the petroleum industry will
present aspects of the petroleum geology of the North Sea from their
practical perspectives.
The course will start with a regional overview of the geological
development of the area. In this module, the geology, structural
setting and basin fill through time of the North Sea will be discussed.
The aspects of the geological development of the North Sea relevant to
the presence and distribution of hydrocarbons, such as traps,
reservoirs, seal and source rocks will be highlighted. The multiple
reservoir levels developed in the area and their properties and
characteristics will be reviewed in some detail. Attention will be paid,
through reference to several example fields, to many of the practical
problems faced by exploration and development geologists in evaluating
the uncertainties related to volume and productivity evaluation. • The
petroleum fields of the area will be placed in their petroleum system
context and an analysis of the
"plays" (families of similar fields) present will be proposed and
presented for discussion and review by the students. Several specific
aspects of the geology of the wider North Sea area, such as structural
inversion, halokinesis and overpressure development, will be presented
and their impact on the petroleum geology will be discussed.
A field Study-trip to S.W. England is part of the course. During this
short trip, students will be shown outcrops of many of the most
important source and reservoir formations of the area, as well as some
of the structural styles represented. This will provide an opportunity
to experience the 3-dimensional geometry of the rock types first-hand.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, project work, student presentation, and field study.

Method of Assessment

Evaluation of project work, student presentation and written

Entry Requirements

This course is only accessible to MSc students.


The lecturers will make extensive literature lists available.

Additional Information

Lecturer: Dr. João Trabucho (Utrecht University)

General Information

Course Code AM_450317
Credits 7 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. W. van Westrenen
Examiner prof. dr. W. van Westrenen
Teaching Staff prof. dr. J. de Jager

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: