PETROGEO 7020 - Research Skills for Energy Geoscience

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This applied research skills-oriented course provides interactive tuition and experiential learning of data analysis, interpretation and modelling using industry-standard software, and research & presentation communication skills that will provide the toolkit for students to embark on their Semester 2 research projects in Energy Geoscience. The Energy Resources Exploration Data & Software Skills module will introduce students to industry sector-specific data analysis, interpretation and modelling techniques using industry-standard software that will provide key learning outcomes for graduates entering industry or undertaking further training and research in the discipline. The Presentation Skills module will prepare students to communicate their work effectively in the form of research poster and oral Powerpoint-style presentations. The Thesis Writing Skills module will prepare students to produce a properly structured and engaging scientific research thesis, the core product of their research project delivered towards the end of Semester 2. Applied exercise work related to co-requisite technical topics will be submitted and presented for assessment.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PETROGEO 7020
    Course Research Skills for Energy Geoscience
    Coordinating Unit Australian School of Petroleum & Energy Resources
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 5 hours per week (average)
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Honours degree level training or equivalent in Geoscience ? no specific course pre-requisites; Honours degree GPA of 5/7 or greater; substantive research project experience or equivalent workplace experience in a related technical role
    Corequisites PETROGEO 7010, PETROGEO 7011 & PETROGEO 7013
    Assumed Knowledge Honours degree level training or equivalent in Geoscience.
    Restrictions Available only to students undertaking the Master of Science in Petroleum Geoscience (to eventually be renamed MSc in Energy Geoscience)
    Assessment Oral presentation, poster presentation, project proposal writing, practical software data interpretation and modelling exercises.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Mark Bunch

    Senior Lecturer in Basin Energy Resources

    Researcher Profile:

    Directory Link:

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On completion of this course, you will be able to:
    1. Undertake an integrated interpretation of a standard wireline log data suite, including development of a lithostratigraphic 'electro-facies' system for statigraphic interpretation at wells and correlation between them.
    2. Identify key porous, permeable conventional reservoir units and interpret wireline log data to quantify fluid saturations within their pore space.
    3. Tie stratigraphic markers interpreted at wells from wireline log data to coincident or nearby seismic reflection survey data.
    4. Track seismic reflectors throughout a seismic reflection survey dataset to develop a seismic horizon framework model.
    5. Interpret fault intersection traces evident in seismic reflection survey data to form fault surfaces that displace seismic horizons.
    6. Map and present seismic horizon and fault surfaces to a professional standard.
    7. Interpret exploration risks from geoscientific evidence presented in your results.
    8. Use seismic attributes to quantify and map fluid saturations across buoyant fluid field closures.
    9. Quantify trapped buoyant fluid resources directly from seismic reflection survey data.
    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   1.3   1.4   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Required tools for the work required of course assignments are a competent computer, spreadsheet and specialist industry-standard software licensing and real-world exploration data. Each of these resources is provided by the University of Adelaide through their computing suites and through the university Learning Management System (MyUni). Many of these resources can also be used by remote internet link to university computers using the university VPN system, or can be established locally on a student's own personal computer system.
    Recommended Resources
    Some key texts for relevant background reading are listed below:

    • Alley, M., 2003. The craft of scientific presentations: critical steps to succeed and critical errors to avoid. New York: Springer,
    • Alley, M., 2018. The Craft of Scientific Writing. 10.1007/978-1-4419-8288-9. New York: Springer,
    • Asquith G. & Krygowski D., 2004. Basic Well Log Analysis (2nd Ed), AAPG Methods in Exploration Series No.16 (in ASPER Library)
    • Brown, AR, 2011. Interpretation of Three-Dimensional Seismic Data, 7th Edition, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa.
    • Ellis, D.V. and Singer, J.M., 2008. Well Logging for Earth Scientists (2nd Edition), Springer Science, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
    • Evans, B.J., 1997. A Handbook for Seismic Acquisition in Exploration. SEG Geophysical Monograph Series No 7.
    • Gluyas, J. and Swarbrick, R., 2003. Petroleum Geoscience. Wiley-Blackwell, 376 pp.
    • Jones, T. A., Hamilton, D. E., Johnson, C. R., 1986. Contouring geologic surfaces with the computer: New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 320 p.
    • Knaflic, C.N., 2015. Storytelling with data: a data visualization guide for business professionals. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    • Magoon, L.B. and Dow, W.G., 1994. The Petroleum System - from Source to Trap. AAPG Memoir 60.
    • North, F.K., 1985. Petroleum Geology. Allen & Unwin.
    • Rider, M., 1986. The Geological Interpretation of Well Logs. (2nd Edition). Whittles Publishing, UK. (in ASPER Library)
    • Tucker, P. M., 1988, Seismic contouring—a unique skill: Geophysics, v. 53, n. 6, p. 741–749
    • Van Wagoner, J.C. et al. (1992) Siliclastic Sequence Stratigraphy in Well Logs, Cores, and Outcrops: Concepts for High-Resolution Correlation of Time and Facies. AAPG Methods in Exploration Series, No 7.
    • Yilmaz, O., 2001. Seismic Data Analysis, Processing, Inversion, and Interpretation of Seismic Data. SEG Investigations in Geophysics No 10.
    • Zoraster, S., 1996. Imposing geologic interpretations on computer-generated contours using distance transformations. Mathematical Geology. 28. 969-985.
    Online Learning
    Crain's Petrophysical Handbook


    Society of Exploration Geophysicists wiki - Seismic Data Info

    American Association of Petroleum Geologists wiki - Seismic Interpretation Info

    Agile Geoscience - Machine Learning & Geophysics Data resources
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is facilitated as intensive block-mode half-day computer workshops through which you will learn the practical skills to apply the technical knowledge you have been learning across other Semester 1 courses. This intensive mode of training is the norm for 4th year (Hons) and post-graduate courses run as part of Petroleum & Energy Resources programs at the University of Adelaide, and is universally used in industry for continued professional development and training.

    Advantages of the block-mode format are that you can immerse yourself in the activity at hand with an opportunity for immediate feedback as you work through the practical activities run during the session. To counter the potential for a 'load-dispose' mode of brain use cycling, the discipline-oriented skills development activities build towards an integrated workflow designed to address a single objective: namely to identify, characterise and map the distribution of reservoir closures for various Energy Resources exploration & development applications.

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

    The total workload for this course is equivalent to any other 3-unit course and is equivalent to one quarter of a nominal 48-hour weekly workload. This means PG4015/7020 will require an average of 12 hours per week of combined face-to-face in-class time and out-of-class working throughout the semester. Of course, this average rate will in fact be concentrated around the weeks of delivery and assignment submission according to the program schedule.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The key themes covered in this course, with their component modules, are:
    1. Wireline Log Interpretation: well top correlation, petrophysical reservoir characterisation and evaluation
    2. Seismic Interpretation: seismic stratigraphic framework modelling of faults and stratigraphic formation boundaries
    3. Subsurface Mapping: calibrated interpretations of seismic reflection horizons for presentation and prospect identification
    4. Seismic Attributes: use of seismic attributes to directly quantify trapped buoyant fluid resources from seismic reflection survey data
    This course has been designed to support you to achieve the course learning outcomes and develop broad skills that can be used in your academic and professional work.
    Specific Course Requirements
    As a student, you are expected to attend the practical computer class/workshop sessions either in person or remotely via interactive video conference, to undertake the activities set for completion during class time and to prepare for out-of-class work assignments that you will submit for assessment.

    Full details regarding assessment items are provided in an 'Assessment Information' page of the university Learning Management System called MyUni.
  • 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
    Assessment is by submission of a series of digital assignments using real-world exploration data. These assignments test skills in wireline log interpretation, formation evaluation, interpretation of seismic reflection survey data, mapping of seismic stratigraphic framework modelling and the interpretation and calibration of seismic reflection survey data attributes for directly mapping and quantifying buoyant energy fluid resources. Together they comprise a typical workflow for identifying and characterising a subsurface energy fluid resource in order to appraise drilling of fluid production or injection wells, to inform resource development strategy, or to define exploration or development risks.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    All assignments must be submitted for assessment in order for students to pass this course.
    Assessment Detail
    Submission requirements for individual assignment work are detailed in the Learning Management System (MyUni) as the course begins.  The breakdown of assessment weightings is as follows (tasks based on 2022):

    Assignment Assignment Tasks Assessment Weighting (Hons / MSc)
    Wireline Logging Lithostratigraphy; correlation; poro-perm intepretation 33% / 25%
    Seismic Interpretation Seismic reflector horizons; fault surfaces 33% / 25%
    Subsurface Mapping Map presentation; interpretation of exploration risk 33% / 25%
    Advanced Seismic Interpretation Log interpretation; attribute calibration; resource calculation ----- / 25%
    Assignment work is submitted for assessment digitally either via the university LMS (MyUni) or for large digital data archives, via a Cloud storage location released by the course facilitator at the time the course runs. Assignment work will be submitted in a variety of formats appropriate to task, from word processing and PDF documents to spreadsheets and specialist industry-standard software data archives.
    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.

    Fail - Answers or work that fail to address the description of assessment criteria in any way or no answers or work provided.

    Pass - Inconsistent, partially correct execution with mistakes that should have been spotted if the theory is understood; interpretations or observations that are partially correct or insightful but that are inconsistent with each other or with theory.

    Credit - Execution is conventional and generally correct, being appropriate though sometimes in conflict with theory; a few internal inconsistencies in approach or between outcomes demonstrating lack of contextual reflection; observations and interpretations are generic, lacking in originality and may be wrong.

    - Most execution is correct and in line with theory, with mistakes being rare - credit given for errors that were carried forward if the subsequent approach was correct; errors that lead to unrealistic outcomes are penalised for lack of contextual reflection; interpretation or observations that are mostly correct, in line with theory and demonstrate some extended thinking, though they may lack detail and/or may only be partially representative of all pertinent considerations.

    High Distinction - Exemplary execution with work demonstrating flair and originality; final answers are correct and demonstrate work of a professional standard.

    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.

  • 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.

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