Regional Geology and Petroleum Systems


Course Objective

1) To give students a good understanding of the geological concepts that
control the occurrence of petroleum (oil and gas) accumulations.
2) To review some of the world’s main geological settings with
significant subsurface resources, and to pick out the main lessons they
4) To review the concepts of petroleum systems and plays and see how
they relate to sedimentary basin evolution.
5) To study how these concepts can be applied to subsurface analysis for
prediction of as of yet undiscovered oil and gas fields (exploration)
and for production of petroleum resources.
6) To provide students with a good idea of worldwide impact of petroleum
(oil and gas) exploration and production and what it means to society.

Course Content

This course is mandatory in the Geology and Geochemistry specialisation,
and part of the stream 'Subsurface Resourcing' in this specialization.
This stream 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.

This course reviews a number of issues, technical and otherwise, that
impact subsurface resourcing. Emphasis is placed on
the need to be able to study subsurface issues from the regional to
the local scale and to integrate data and concepts from many
different disciplines. The main objective of the course is to teach
students to appreciate the overall application of basin studies to the
evaluation of subsurface resources. The strong link between basin
tectonics and stratigraphy at all scales, as well as the importance of
taking an integrated view through developing regional geologic skills
are emphasized.

The course commences with a general introduction to hydrocarbons, what
they are used for and discusses current and expected future
supply and demand scenarios. This part of the course is directed towards
an appreciation of petroleum exploration in its societal and management
context, making a link to important and controversial issues facing
global development. Much of the course deals with the geological
parameters that contribute to some of the most important and successful
petroleum systems in the world. Different geological settings with rich
subsurface resources will be discussed such as: deltaic settings, rift
basins, epeiric platform areas, carbonate reef settings, deep-water fold
belts, etc. Specific examples from these settings will be presented from
key provinces around the globe: Middle East, Asia-Pacific,
Southern Atlantic, North Sea, etc. Several exercises will be included
based on data from these areas. Other issues discussed include the tools
and technologies applied in exploration and how exploration is carried
out in practice. The concepts of risk and volume assessment as applied
in Petroleum Industry for undrilled potential petroleum fields will be
introduced with examples and exercises. The course also includes an
introduction to important elements of oil and gas field development, as
well as a module on so-called Unconventional Gas (Shale Gas, Basin
Centre Gas and Coalbed Methane).

Teaching Methods

Lectures, practical examples worked by students.

Method of Assessment

Question paper on the subject matter, including practical examples of
analysis of plays and petroleum systems.


Syllabus can be obtained from the lecturer (dr. Hemmo Bosscher).
Powerpoint presentation material is posted on Canvas.

Additional Information

This course is followed jointly by MSc Earth Science students from
Utrecht University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The course is
taught by Dr. Hemmo Bosscher (SHELL).
Students are taken on a rollercoaster of integrated geologic concepts
and swept in a short time from place to places across the globe to look
at the local geology from an explorers' perspective. Mental alertness
and the flexibility to follow these rapid changes are therefore
essential to gaining maximum benefit.

General Information

Course Code AM_450179
Credits 3 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
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. H. Doust

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

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