PETROENG 7058 - Petroleum Geology and Geophysics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

This course provides a working knowledge of the main qualitative and quantitative techniques used by petroleum geoscientists in finding and evaluating subsurface resources. Basic techniques utilised in geological and geophysical analyses of the subsurface are discussed. Practical application of these techniques are demonstrated in exercises. The Petroleum Geology section provides a detailed description of clastic and carbonate reservoir rocks, with the unifying theme being that reservoir location, shape and properties can be understood and predicted from knowledge of the environments in which the sediments forming the rocks were deposited, and the various processes which occur following deposition (diagenesis). The behaviour of fluids in reservoir rocks is covered next, with capillary pressure principles as a basic concept for understanding issues such as vertical and lateral distribution of fluids in a reservoir, seal capacity, and recovery efficiency. Volumetric reserve estimation is covered next, followed by discussions on enhanced oil recovery, unconventional reservoirs and the storage of carbon dioxide in reservoir rocks as a technique for greenhouse abatement. The Petroleum Geophysics section presents an introduction to reflection seismology, the main geophysical method used in hydrocarbon exploration and development. After an outline of the various types of information that can be obtained using the method, the basic physics at its heart is described - the reflection of (sound) waves from interfaces within the earth, and the refraction and attenuation of these waves as they travel down and back up to the surface. The interpretation of the data to produce maps or models of the reflecting interfaces is covered, and the section concludes with a brief description of the data acquisition and processing required to produce the seismic images which the interpreter works with. The interpretation process is illustrated by a project in which pairs of students interpret a small seismic data set on workstations, and use the resulting maps to propose drilling targets.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PETROENG 7058
    Course Petroleum Geology and Geophysics
    Coordinating Unit Australian School of Petroleum & Energy Resources
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive short course
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Examination, exercises, group project, quiz
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Mark Bunch

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Learn basic principles of petroleum exploration and field development
    2 Understand the principles of sedimentology and stratigraphy for both clastic and carbonate reservoir rocks with particular emphasis on deposition and diagenesis
    3 Learn specific tools and processes for analysing capillary pressure data to determine fluid migration from a source rock, to a reservoir and then to a producing well; use same principles to determine seal properties of caprocks. Practice using these tools and processes with hands-on exercises
    4 Learn methods for estimating volumetric reserves in discovered hydrocarbon accumulations
    5 Review example of how reservoir characterization studies lead to better field management
    6 Illustrate basic principles of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and how the principles of petroleum geology can be applied to geological sequestration of CO2.
    7 Understand the physical principles of reflection seismology
    8 Understand the techniques used to interpret seismic data and the utility of this information in the exploration for and development of hydrocarbon fields

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   2.1   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Manual containing hardcopy of Powerpoint slides used in lectures. Additional exercises as handed out in class.
    Recommended Resources
    There is no single text that covers all the material in this course. The lecturers will recommend useful reference texts during the course.
    Online Learning
    Good sources of help with learning are the downloadable learning guides (Writing, Effective Reading, Making Notes, Time Management, Exam Prep, etc) and links to other learning resources at -

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The block-course format is the norm for 4th year and post-graduate courses in the ASP, and is universally used in industry for continued professional development and training.

    One of the advantages of the block-course format is that you can immerse yourself in a single subject, without distraction or having to “re-load” for each session. Another is that there is no need to force-fit the material to the 1hr lecture/tute format – each topic can be addressed in the time it needs. Yet another advantage is that it provides an opportunity for immediate feedback as exercises are carried out, and solutions presented, in-class, after the concept has been taught.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This information is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements. This course comprises 6 days of full-time work (9am to 5 pm), involving a mixture of lectures, exercises and practical work. This is split into two 3 day blocks – one for the Petroleum Geology component, and the other for the Petroleum Geophysics component. The total contact hours are approximately the same as would be delivered in a 3 unit semesterised course. In addition, you will be expected to spend time outside of class on take-home assignments, finishing the project, revision, etc.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The main topics covered in the course will be as follows:

    Petroleum Geology

    · Overview of petroleum geology
         - assessment of risk
         - sources of geological data
         - traps
         - reservoirs and seals
         - the reservoir team

    · Clastic reservoirs
    · Carbonate reservoirs
    · Capillary pressure principles
    · Reserves evaluation
    · Carbon capture and storage

    Petroleum Geophysics
    · Introduction
         - Types of Information obtained from seismic data
    · Basics of the reflection seismic method
         - the seismic trace, section and volume
         - the convolutional model – reflection coefficients, travel times and wavelet
         - wave propagation – reflection, refraction and attenuation
         - resolution and velocity
    · Basics of Interpretation
         - 2D vs 3D
         - Well ties
         - Interpretation procedure
         - Depth conversion
    · Reservoir Interpretation
         - Amplitude interpretation for seismically thin beds
         - Direct Hydrocarbon Indicators
         - Seismic Attributes
         - 4D seismic
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    In class Exercises - Geology 25 Group Summative Week 3 N 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    In class Exercises - Geophysics 25 Group Summative Week 4 N 1. 7. 8.
    Take-home Exam - Geology 25 Individual Formative Week 12 N
    Take-home Exam - Geophysics 25 Individual Formative Week 12 N
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown is registered as an exemption to the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy. The exemption is related to the Procedures clause(s): 1. a. i
    Assessment Related Requirements
    There is no requirement to achieve a minimum mark in any individual component of the assessment.
    Additional Assessment: if an Additional Assessment is required for any student, the course co-ordinator reserves the right, as per university policy, to use a range of assessment measures. Such measures may include oral assessment, additional assignments, and questions of the same type as the main exam.
    Assessment Detail
    The final exam will be a 2 hour, closed-book exam, held at a time, date and venue to be advised within the official examination period at the end of the semester. It will consist of Petroleum Geology and Petroleum Geophysics sections, each of nominally 1 hour duration. The weighting of the marks for each section in the final mark will be 30% for the Geology section, and 32.5% for the Geophysics section. The Geology section will consist of short answer, multiple choice and true or false sections. The Geophysics section will comprise mainly questions requiring short essay-style answers (ranging in length from one or two sentences to a half page paragraph).
    Submission of Assignment
    You will be advised of the due dates for submission of exercises and the group project in class.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Co-ordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time or minor illness.

    Penalty for Late Submission of Assessment Tasks
    Assessment tasks must be submitted by the stated deadlines. There will be a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks. The submitted work will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and 10% of the obtained mark will be deducted for each working day (or part of a day) that an assessment task is late, up to a maximum penalty of 50% of the mark attained.

    An examiner may elect not to accept any assessment task that a student wants to submit after that task has been marked and feedback provided to the rest of the class.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Contact Admin for School policy on remarking of exams

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    It is important that all students maintain active communication channels throughout the year. The primary communication channels to students in this course are as follows.

    Email: Each student should regularly check his or her University-provided email account ( for information from academic staff concerning course work matters and other announcements as they arise. Make sure you clean up your Inbox regularly as if it is full you will not receive our email! We will regard an email message to your student email address, or an announcement posted on the MyUni site, as our having communicated with each member of the class. Not reading email or MyUni announcements will not be a valid excuse for missing important deadlines etc.

    MyUni: Students should regularly check the MyUni website (
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.