training specialists to the upstream oil and gas industry

Petroleum Exploration

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Course overview

The course concentrates on the methods and technologies employed in the exploration phase of the petroleum project life cycle.  Starting with plate tectonics and sedimentary basins, it moves on to describe how a petroleum accumulation is formed, from source rock to trap.  Surface mapping, geophysical surveys and drilling wells are then explained before moving on to the concepts of petroleum system and petroleum play, followed by a treatment of leads, prospects, volumetrics and the concepts of risk and uncertainty.

The course is designed for:

  • Entry level petroleum geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and engineers
  • Management personnel in support roles - finance, HR, petroleum economics, legal
  • Postgraduate students considering joining the petroleum industry 

Learning objectives

  • To understand the processes that combine to form a petroleum accumulation
  • To understand how we explore for petroleum, particularly seismic surveying and drilling wells
  • To understand how exploration data are used to build the concepts of the petroleum play and the petroleum system
  • To understand how a petroleum prospect is built and how the risks and uncertainties are assessed
  • To understand how the decision to drill or not to drill is made, and how exploration drilling locations are chosen

Course outline

Petroleum exploration - concepts

The geological model
Petroleum plays: common risk segment maps, play fairways
Petroleum systems:source kitchen, migration pathways, reservoirs
The relative commercial attractiveness of the different types of petroleum
Leads and prospects

Exploration volumetrics and decision making

Volumetrics - resource and reserves
Uncertainty, probability and risk
Monte Carlo simulation
Economic indicators
Selecting the exploration well location


Definition of petroleum
The petroleum project life cycle

The geological setting of a petroleum accumulation

Plate tectonics
Sedimentary rocks and sedimentary basins

The components of a petroleum accumulation

Source rocks: richness, maturity, proneness
Seal and trap

Petroleum exploration - operations

Surface geological mapping
Gravimetric,  magnetometric and full tensor gravity gradiometry surveys
Drilling a well: well construction, mud logging, petrophysical logging, coring, testing


Location Start Date End Date Cost Trainer Book
Upon request     £2,950    Make enquiry

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