Petroleum Systems Analysis and Modelling

Wiekert Visser 
Peter Nederlof 
5 days

Business context

A petroleum system comprises the crucial elements that have to work together to create a hydrocarbon bearing basin: source rock, reservoir, seal trap, migration, and the correct timing of hydrocarbon generation. Basins can have one or more successful petroleum systems. One of the main ingredients in the Petroleum System Analysis is the study of hydrocarbon charge: source, burial, generation, migration, and the products oil and gas.

This course discusses the various basin types in their plate tectonic context and the hydrocarbon charging system. Emphasis lies on: heat flow, burial, recognition and evaluation of source rocks, thermal maturity aspects, basic petroleum geochemistry needed to establish the Petroleum System in a basin. Integration of geology with geochemical information is the core of the design of this course. About 50% of the course is dedicated to lectures, the other 50% to exercises.

1D Petroleum Systems Modelling software will be used to demonstrate concepts in stimulating and challenging exercises.

Who should attend

Geologists and Geophysicists involved in Exploration and Appraisal

Course content

  • Basins and Petroleum Systems
  • Source rock formation processes
  • Recognition & evaluation of source rocks (Rock Eval/TOC, microscopy, etc)
  • Maturity
  • Basic organic chemistry of oil and gas.
  • Geological information from oil and gas analysis.
  • Oil-oil and oil-source rock correlation
  • "Oil families": recognizing different charge systems within a single basin.
  • Gas geochemistry
  • Burial history reconstruction
  • Heat flow and temperature
  • Generation & Migration of hydrocarbons.
  • Simple charge prediction
  • Surface geochemistry as exploration tool

Learning, methods and tools

At the end of the 5-day course participants will have gained basic insight into essential geochemical concepts, and have gained basic skills in applying geochemical tools. Exercises are aimed at reinforcing the acquired knowledge in a practical context. The major interpretation exercises are aimed at providing real hands-on experience. Geologists and geochemists will have learned each other's language.

Additionally we can offer a Petroleum Systems Field Seminar of 3-5 days duration.This field-trip can be organized on request, which demonstrates the petroleum systems and organic geochemical concepts based on outcrops.

Day by day programme


Day 1:Focus on basins and burial history

  • Introduction: Objectives of Petroleum Systems Analysis & Modeling, it's role in E&P ventures. Parameters and processes impacting petroleum systems.
  • Exercise: estimate hydrocarbons formed
  • Plate tectonic setting of basins and relationship to petroleum systems
  • Exercise: Define petroleum systems of specific area
  • Burial history reconstruction
  • Exercise: (on paper) burial reconstruction
  • Compaction-decompaction
  • Exercise, Modelling 1D: create simple burial history from geological well data

Day 2:Focus on heat flow and source rocks

  • Heat flow & Temperature
  • Exercise: calculate formation temperature from bottom-hole temperature
  • Missing overburden reconstruction
  • Exercise: Reconstruct missing overburden
  • Source rocks: environment of deposition
  • Exercise, Modelling: Calibration of models by BHT data.
  • Exercise, Modelling: build advanced 1D model which includes inversion.
  • Source rock quality assessment (Rock Eval)
  • Exercise: geochemical Log
  • Exercise, Excel based: Assess average source rock quality from Rock Eval data

Day 3:Focus generation & migration

  • Maturity
  • Exercise, Modelling: Calibrate heat flow history for geo-history models created
  • Generation of hydrocarbons
  • Exercise, Modelling: input of source rock data, and modelling of hydrocarbon generation.
  • Migration of hydrocarbons
  • Exercise: design effective drainage area into trap
  • Exercise: Uncertainty analysis of modelling results

Day 4:Focus on basic geochemistry

  • Introduction to oil typing
  • Exercise, Using bulk geochemical data
  • Basic Finger-printing
  • Exercise: Oil - source rock correlation, basic.
  • The Gasoline fraction.
  • Exercise: Integrated oil family mapping exercise, Phase I
  • Biomarker applications in Petroleum System Analysis
  • Exercise: Integrated oil family mapping exercise, Phase II

Day 5:Focus on biodegradation, gas, and pressures

  • Exercise: Integrated oil family mapping exercise, Phase III
  • Biodegradation effect on crude composition
  • Exercise: biodegradation and oil - oil correlation
  • Gas typing
  • Exercise: Gas typing exercises
  • Pressures in basin analysis
  • Exercise: Calculate overpressure in trap
  • Optional: Exercise, Modelling overpressure in 1D