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Unit information: Petroleum Sedimentology in 2015/16

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Unit name Petroleum Sedimentology
Unit code EASC30024
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1B (weeks 7 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Whitaker
Open unit status Not open

Mandatory units for year 1 and year 2 of either BSc or MSci Geology, or BSc or MSci Environmental Geoscience.

EASC10001, EASC10002, EASC10007, EASC10008

EASC20007, EASC20010, EASC20011, EASC20024, EASC20029, EASC20034 AND

BSc or MSci Environmental Geoscience students: EASC20018, EASC20027, EASC20030 and EASC20032

BSc or MSci Geology students: EASC20006, EASC20017, EASC20028 and EASC20035


Mandatory units for year 1 and year 2 of either BSc Geology and Biology or MSci Palaeontology and Evolution:

EASC10001, BIOL11000, BIOL12000

EASC20007, EASC20024, EASC20026, EASC20029, BIOL20001, BIOL20212



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit draws upon the skills and knowledge gained from Year 1 Dynamic Surface teaching and Year 2 units Sedimentology and Applied Geophysics. It enables students to apply their knowledge of sedimentology and geophysics to hydrocarbon-prone sedimentary basins to develop an understanding of hydrocarbon source, reservoir and trap systems, of basin-fill architecture and of the movement of fluids through reservoir systems.

The unit includes a compulsory fieldwork element. Failure to attend the field trip, unless valid documentation is presented, will result in loss of credit points for the unit and may lead to a requirement to withdraw from the degree programme.

Case studies from a number of different industrial and geological settings will be used to expand knowledge of a range of regional geologies, including the Wessex Basin, North Sea and West Texas.

Students will also be introduced to emerging opportunities offered by unconventional reservoirs and also carbon storage and sequestration.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to

  • Unfold the provenance and geochemical history of hydrocarbon reserves.
  • Characterise reservoirs and seals in terms of their origin and porosity and permeability and understand their scale-dependence.
  • Describe the characteristics of reservoirs that influence the flow of hydrocarbons.
  • Describe, classify and give examples of hydrocarbon basins in relation to plate tectonic setting.
  • Relate and account for facies changes in modern and ancient basins in relation to depositional environments, and variations in reservoir properties.
  • Understand and apply the basic techniques of exploration geophysics and petrophysics from seismic stratigraphy to downhole logging.
  • Understand the basics of reservoir modelling.
  • Evaluate and map exploration prospects and calculate reserves for different geological reservoir models.
  • Recognise the phases an oil field goes through as technology advances, from early gas/oil extraction to flushing of reservoirs and on to use of empty reservoirs for potential carbon storage.

Teaching Information

15 Lectures, 5 practicals and 1 day fieldwork

Assessment Information

  • 5 practical reports, page limit 5pp per report (25%)
  • Preparation and presentation of a scientific poster based on fieldwork (15%)
  • Final 3 hour examination (60%).

General feedback will be provided during all practical sessions, the field class and poster session by staff and demonstrators, and on Blackboard. Assessed practicals will be marked and returned within three weeks of submission, and in class we will run through a detailed answer key to aid self-evaluation of any unassessed work.

Reading and References