N084 Petroleum Generation and Migration

Course Facts

Course Code:
4 days
3.2 Continuing Education Units
32 Professional Development Hours
Certificate Issued Upon Completion


This course examines 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 hydrocarbon charge to petroleum reservoirs and understanding its quality within the reservoir.

Duration and Training Method

This is a four-day classroom course (five days in Asia) that consists of a series of lectures interspersed with practical exercises and case studies. Participants are invited to bring along their own examples for group discussion.

Participants will learn to:

  1. Examine source rocks for their kerogen type and petroleum generating potential using basic laboratory measurements and a knowledge of depositional environments.
  2. Analyse the generation process via the effects of temperature, time and organic facies and its relationship to generation kinetics, and be aware of the principles and limitations of geochemical basin modelling.
  3. Determine level of maturity through optical and molecular measurements as constraints on the thermal models.
  4. Interpret subsurface pressure regimes and migration behaviour by analysing overpressure development and transmission, migration routes, phase effects and seal integrity.
  5. Determine petroleum properties, such as gas/oil ratio (GOR), API gravity, wax, sulphur content etc. for petroleum in the reservoir.
  6. Correlate  oil and gas to source rocks using bulk properties, molecular geochemistry and stable isotope methods.

The course will make you aware of what geochemistry can do in predicting and evaluating the type, quality and quantity of petroleum in subsurface accumulations. The class will also discuss what geochemistry cannot do and what its limitations are. The course will be supplemented by a number of hands-on exercises from oil and gas exploration or production problems world-wide and delegates are encouraged to bring along examples of their own data for group discussion and interpretation (suitably disguised if necessary for reasons of confidentiality).

1. Introduction

  • Oils vs. gases vs. gas condensates
  • Bulk chemical compositions

2. Source Rocks

  • Kerogen formation and classification
  • Basic methods to characterise source rocks
  • Depositional environments

3. Generation Processes

  • Effect of temperature, time and organic facies on generation kinetics
  • Controls of products and masses expelled
  • Introduction to geochemical modelling

4. Maturity

  • Methods of constraining thermal models and history
  • Optical maturity measurements
  • Molecular maturity measurements

5. Subsurface Pressure and Migration

  • Overpressure and how it forms
  • Effect on expulsion and migration routes
  • Phase effects during migration
  • Seals and seal failure

6. Petroleum Properties

  • Controls of GOR, API, wax content and sulphur content etc.
  • Biodegradation
  • Formation of tar mats
  • Origin of inorganic gases

7. Oil/Gas/Source Correlation

  • Molecular geochemistry
  • Stable isotope methods
  • Characterising sources of hydrocarbon gases

8. 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

No prior specialist knowledge is required. This course is designed to serve as a precursor to N010 (Geochemistry and Petroleum System Modelling), which goes into much greater detail on the practical prediction of petroleum charge.  N043 (Gulf of Mexico Petroleum Systems) includes a section on the geochemistry of that area. Overpressure concepts are presented in more detail in courses N013 (Overpressure in Petroleum Systems and Geopressure Prediction) and N249 (Advanced Pore Pressure Prediction Workshop: Concepts, Mechanisms and Workflow).

Click on a name to learn more about the instructor

Chris Clayton

Related Subjects

Excellent course - improved my understanding on petroleum migration and implications within the reservoir.