D522 Charge Access - The Final Frontier in Petroleum Geoscience

Event Facts

  • 15 Nov. 2021
  • 16 Nov. 2021
  • 17 Nov. 2021
  • 18 Nov. 2021
  • 19 Nov. 2021
Half-day sessions, starting in the mornings for the Americas and afternoons for Europe, Africa and Middle East. Any variation to this will be communicated in advance.
Event Code:
5 sessions
Leon Dzou, Mark Thompson
Booking Status:
Limited Availability
GBP £2,245 (Exclusive of tax)

Course Facts

Course Code:
3 days
Virtual Classroom
1.6 Continuing Education Units
16 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


Business Impact: Does your company drill numerous failures with no shows? Do you consider faults as the main migration route into your prospect? Do you make complex 3D basin models that don’t predict the next well result? If so, we have a useful course for you!

Participants in this course will learn to integrate the basin-wide regional understanding with prospect evaluation principles in order to more accurately quantify resource estimates and risk in any prospect, ultimately drilling fewer dry holes or underfilled traps.

Charge access considers the journey of expelled hydrocarbon charge from the source rock into the reservoir of a prospect. It is often a critical, if not the critical, risk to the success of any exploration well. Often the seismic interpreter hands over their maps to the petroleum systems analyst at the last minute, giving no time for the necessary integration. This integration of the geological framework with petroleum systems modelling is key to avoiding drilling dry holes and is the focus of this course.

This "hands-on" course presents a rich series of global examples and case histories, taught by two industry experts with over 80 years of experience between them.

Duration and Training Method

A virtual classroom course divided into 5 webinar sessions (equivalent to a 3-day classroom course), comprising lectures, discussion, case studies, and practical exercises to be completed by participants during and between sessions.

Participants will learn to:
  1. Understand the science that underpins petroleum migration and accumulation.
  2. Understand the impact of the overall tectonic style in different mega-sequence settings, structural relief, and the role of faults and fractures in migration and trapping.
  3. Apply the principles to make better predictions of charge access in prospect evaluation.
  4. Appreciate a rich variety of case histories from basins worldwide and how they can be applied to your prospect to help understand the risk.

The course will consider four key factors in charge access:

  1. Source rock potential and distribution;
  2. Carrier bed extent and distribution;
  3. Structural focusing;
  4. Structural relief and seal capacity;

The following shows the anticipated schedule of content, which may vary according to the pace of your course and focus of the participants, as well as if any new case studies arise.

Session 1: Source Rock Potential

  • Introduction: Course overview and future directions in basin and petroleum systems modelling - a survey of the community.
  • Thermogenic source rock formation.
  • Primary biogenic gas system. 
  • Case history: Gulf of Mexico - nature and distribution of the various petroleum systems (organo-facies A and B).
    • Exercise: Mensa gas field - did we miss thermogenic oil charge or is the source rock not present?
    • Exercise: Where are the Gulf of Mexico Norphlet fields sourced from?
  • Case history discussion: Cooper Basin, Australia (organo-facies D/E).

Session 2: Geological Models (Source-Carrier-Seal Systems)

  • An overview of secondary petroleum migration principles.
  • GDE mapping (clastics and carbonate systems).
    • Exercise: Zohr gas field, Nile Delta Egypt.
  • Case history: Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea.
    • Exercise: Where’s the missing oil in the southern PRMB?
    • Exercise: Liuhua 11-1 field - what are the dominant factors favouring long-distance transport of petroleum?

Session 3: Migration and Entrapment

  • Focussed vs dispersive migration on a basin scale. Downwards vs upwards migration.
    • Exercise: alternative models - source and seal.
    • Exercise: Migration blind spots - Bintuni Basin, Papua New Guinea.
  • Case history and discussion: (Vertical drainage) petroleum system - Marco Polo Field, Gulf of Mexico (charge focus, structural relief and seal capacity, migration time lag).
    • Exercise: W Shetlands Basin Palaeocene discoveries.
  • Roles of faults and fractures.
    • Case history: Thunder Horse.
    • Trap configuration concept: Evaluation of the capillary sealing capacity of all the seal rocks.
    • Case history: Columbus Basin, offshore Trinidad - use of fault-seal analysis in understanding petroleum migration in a complexly faulted anticlinal trap.

Session 4a: Post-Well Evaluation

  • Case history: Norway and Equatorial Margin. 
    • Exercise: Mexican Ridges.
  • Case history: Brigadier Trend and Ironbark well.
    • Exercise: Good luck, Bad luck and Mukluk.
  • Case Histories: Shows as a smoking gun.

Session 4b: 3D Petroleum Migration Modelling

  • Case History: 3D modelling study of the low-permeability petroleum system of the Bakken Formation, Williston basin.
  • Discussion: The use of 3D petroleum migration modelling in exploration; How useful are these models in exploration risking and decision making?
  • Alternative workflow for petroleum migration modelling: Thinking processes to draw schematic charge cartoon and then test with appropriate software (percolation modelling).

Session 5: Prospect Charge Analysis

  • Impact of DHI’s on charge access risking.
    • Exercise: Assess southern Mexico offshore exploratory wells charge access risk. 
  • Charge assessment: Procedures for estimating amounts of oil and gas generated, migrated, and trapped in prospects.
  • Case history: Perdido Trend and Great White Field, Gulf of Mexico.
    • Exercise: Biogenic gas charge assessment.
  • Case history: Frade and Roncador Fields, Campos Basin.

Concluding remarks and summary of best practice.

Who should attend

This course is aimed at experienced geoscientists (working on basin, play fairway, and prospect evaluation), petroleum systems analysts, basin modellers, and geochemists working frontier to mature basins. Geoscientists with 5 years or more experience will get the most benefit from this course.

Prerequisites and linking courses

Participants are expected to have a broad understanding of basin, play fairway, and prospect evaluation and petroleum systems.

Leon Dzou

Dr Leon Dzou works as a Consultant for ADNOC in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He has more than 30 years’ experience with a variety of companies across the spectrum of petroleum systems, with a strong background in geochemistry, source rock depositional environments, petroleum generation and migration, as well as pressure and seal analysis. He has experience of both conventional and unconventional plays across the value chain of Exploration, Development and Production. As well as teaching courses on the Nautilus programme, Leon has been deeply involved in delivering training courses as part of a cohesive exploration capability development programme for a national oil company.

Dr Dzou completed a PhD at the University of Texas at Dallas, with the title ‘Quantitative study of biomarkers in coals and vitrinite concentrates of different maturity and a geochemical study of oils and condensates from K Field, offshore Taiwan’. Most recently, Dr Dzou was a Senior Advisor in Petroleum Systems Analysis with BP and a member of the global Exploration Assurance team. He was passionate about developing discipline health at BP and dedicated a lot of energy to training, advising, and mentoring less experienced petroleum systems specialists and practitioners. He derived great satisfaction from coaching, teaching and generally stimulating staff in the Petroleum Systems arena at BP.

Research interests include generation/expulsion/migration processes, especially secondary migration appears to be the key technical issue, mostly because the movement of petroleum in the subsurface is so poorly understood. Leon believes that young geoscientists should be taught to become skeptics who search for data that does not fit existing paradigms; They must go back to basics and challenge conventional wisdom. 

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD University of Texas at Dallas - Organic Geochemistry
MSc University of Texas at Dallas - Organic Geochemistry
BSc National Taiwan University - Geology
American Association of Petroleum Geologists, USA - Member

Courses Taught
N425: Play Analysis for Targeted Prospect Identification
N491: Play and Prospect Assessment
N522: Charge Access - The Final Frontier in Petroleum Geoscience

Mark Thompson

Mark is Director of Lurch Oil Consultation Limited and is an Associate member of RPS Nautilus. As well as teaching courses on the Nautilus programme, Mark has been deeply involved in delivering training courses as part of a cohesive exploration capability development programme for a national oil company.

Mark is from Staffordshire in the British Midlands. He went to Cambridge University 1974 to 1977 to do a Natural Sciences degree, specialising in Geology. Mark joined BP straight out of University and successfully developed a career in both exploration and development geology, attaining the position of Senior Exploration Advisor before leaving BP at the end of 2014. He has been involved in many hydrocarbon discoveries worldwide in numerous basins. He was for many years a global coach in BP, where he prepared and taught many internal courses.

Mark’s career has taken him on many postings including Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and Norway. His main interests include basin analysis, play fairway and prospect analysis. He has published on a wide variety of topics including alternative explanations for depth dependent stretching, heat flow associated with underplating and play fairway analysis. Interests outside geology include walking and orienteering.

Affiliations and Accreditation
MA University of Cambridge - Natural Science, Geology

Courses Taught
N005: Tectonic Controls on Basin Development and Petroleum Systems
N378: Basin Analysis for Petroleum Geoscientists
N380: Seismic Interpretation Workshop: Play Recognition on Passive Margins
N425: Play Analysis for Targeted Prospect Identification
N477: A Systematic Approach to Defining and Evaluating Stratigraphic and Subtle Combination Traps
N522: Charge Access - The Final Frontier in Petroleum Geoscience
Basin, Play, and Structural Analysis
Basin and Play Evaluation

Alternative Dates for this Course

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