N125 Petroleum Generation, Migration and Basin Modelling Techniques

Course Facts

Course Code:
5 days
4.0 Continuing Education Units
40 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


The course will examine the role of geochemistry in predicting and evaluating the type, quality and quantity of petroleum in subsurface accumulations. The class will discuss the various oil field uses of geochemistry, and its limitations. By the end of the course, participants will have the ability to interpret the main types of geochemical data.

Duration and Training Method

A five-day classroom course consisting of a series of lectures interspersed with practical exercises and case studies.

Participants will learn to:

  1. Apply the principles of 1D geochemical modelling through knowledge of data input required, uncertainties and limitations inherent in such models.
  2. Analyse source rock measurements for organic matter type and richness using standard geochemical laboratory measurements.
  3. Examine generation kinetics through the principles of reaction kinetics, the effects of temperature, time and organic facies and the controls on products generated and expelled.
  4. Distinguish the thermal histories based on well temperatures, optical maturity measurements and molecular maturity.
  5. Critically interpret 3D models for predicting petroleum migration via a knowledge of subsurface pressure regimes, expulsion directions seal integrity and subsurface phase behaviour.
  6. Undertake basic oil and gas correlation studies using stable isotope and molecular geochemical methods.

The course covers at an introductory level all aspects of the formation, migration and accumulation of oil and gas in sedimentary basins. The emphasis is on the qualitative and quantitative prediction of charge to petroleum reservoirs and understanding its variability within the reservoir. The course will be supplemented by a number of hands-on exercises from oil and gas exploration problems world-wide.

Some of the key topics covered in the class include:

1. Introduction

2. 1D basin modelling
• Burial history
• Source rocks
• Generation and kinetics
• Thermal history
• Maturity – constraining thermal history
• The problem of unconformities

3.  Modelling in 3D
• Understanding pressure regimes
• Principles of migration
• 3D modelling – practical aspects

4. Advanced modelling
• Predicting petroleum composition
• Understanding phase effects
• Unconventional gas deposits

5. Correlation methods – the feedback loop
• Oil-oil and oil-source correlation
• Determining gas source and maturity

6. Course summary


Who should attend

Exploration and development/production geoscientists seeking to build on geochemistry taught with a geoscience degree or staff from other disciplines requiring a grounding in this essential subject.

Prerequisites and linking courses

There are no formal prerequisites for this class, due to the introductory nature. Some knowledge of basin modelling maybe advantageous, but not essential. There are a number of supplementary and/or follow on classes directly related to the learning from N125.  For more on petroleum generation and migration,  N084 covers these topics in much greater detail, whereas N010 deals more with practical aspects of petroleum system modelling.

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Chris Clayton