Migration and Reservoir Geochemistry

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Migration and Reservoir Geochemistry

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This course:

  • provides an insight into current understanding of the mechanisms of petroleum expulsion from source rocks, and of petroleum transport through carrier beds to reservoirs;
  • introduces the key properties of the rocks through which petroleum migrates;
  • introduces the physical, chemical and biogeochemical processes occurring in reservoirs, and describes the techniques by which geochemists study these processes.

Course Objectives

On completion of the course, delegates will understand the phase behaviour of petroleum in the sub-surface and will be familiar with the mechanisms of petroleum expulsion from source rocks and petroleum migration in carrier beds. They will know that porosity, permeability and capillary entry are key rock properties and will understand how these change with increasing compaction and cementation. They will also have learned about the processes that mix petroleum in oilfields and how their inefficiency provides the geochemist with powerful tools to study reservoirs; they will understand how biodegradation affects oil in reservoirs. Finally they will be familiar with recent research developments in the application of functionalised petroleum compounds such as phenols and carbazoles to tracing migration routes in the subsurface.

Delegates will be able to perform a simple Geochemical Prospect Evaluation. They will be familiar with software used to calculate the volume and phase of petroleum expelled from source rocks and migrating to reservoirs. They will be able to integrate a variety of geochemical data to make interpretations about the physical structure of petroleum reservoirs.

Course Outline

  • Introduction: overview and importance
  • Movement of fluids in the subsurface: fluid potential, pressure, density, buoyancy, capillary pressure, wettability
  • Key rock properties: porosity, permeability, capillary entry pressure
  • Kinetic models of petroleum formation
  • Petroleum primary migration: Petroleum Generation Index, Petroleum Expulsion Efficiency, mass balance models
  • Petroleum secondary migration: mechanisms and efficiency
  • Petroleum biodegradation
  • Reservoir Geochemistry: principles and applications to exploration, production and appraisal.

Update to course content

Please note that our courses are reviewed regularly, both in response to feedback and so that information about recent research and developments can be included. Thus, content may be subject to change.


School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences


Please contact the Professional Development Unit for details of fees.

The course fee includes tuition, course materials, lunch and refreshments.

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Academic Module Outline

This course is also delivered as a Module (code CEG8624) on at least one of the School's Masters programmes, the majority of which can be studied part time, making them suitable for those in employment. Delegates will attend with full and part time registered students. The Academic Module Outline is available via the University's Module Catalogue.

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