Petroleum Geoscience MSc Fieldwork
MSc Petroleum Geoscience
Reservoir Characterisation, Introduction to Petroleum Systems
During the second week of the Autumn term, both the Petroleum Geoscience MSc and Petroleum Engineering MSc classes work on outcrop data from the Wessex Basin. For Petroleum Geoscience MSc students, this fieldwork-based teaching has three aims: (1) to consolidate the classroom-taught concepts of reservoir characterisation and development geology, with an emphasis on the role of outcrop analogues in understanding subsurface reservoirs, (2) to introduce the different elements of petroleum plays in an active hydrocarbon basin, and (3) to use outcrop observations to investigate the complex charge story for the Wytch Farm and Kimmeridge oilfields. Students document outcrops of units that are direct analogues to the reservoir studied several weeks later in the Production Geoscience Group Project (Sherwood Sandstone, Wytch Farm Field, Wessex Basin).
Faults and Fractures
The Faults and Fractures module includes fieldwork-based teaching using the faulted and fractured Jurassic limestones exposed along the foreshore and in the cliffs at Kilve, Somerset. Due to the quality of the outcrops, Kilve is recognised as a superb location at which to study faulting and fracturing and the scale of the exposures in the foreshore resemble a horizontal slice through a 3D seismic volume. Students learn how to: (1) describe a fault and its related damage zone, (2) study normal fault growth, linkage and displacement, (3) measure fracture sets, and (4) study an inverted normal fault.
Synthesis I: Carbonate Reservoirs and Plays
We use fieldwork-based teaching to explore outcrop analogues to the Precambrian source rocks and carbonate reservoirs of Oman, the famous ‘Khuff’ formation that hosts large natural gas reserves in Qatar, the Jurassic ‘Arab’ formations that form the largest reservoir in the world (Ghawar Field) as well as detailed depositional features of Cretaceous sedimentary systems of the region, notable for large microbial reservoirs in the Shuai’ba Formation and rudist-related reservoirs in the UAE. We also use these outcrops to review the structural evolution of the region and how it impacts on trapping mechanisms. The fieldwork-based teaching thus provides practical revision of the carbonate part of the Advanced Sedimentology module, and emphasises its integration with many advanced aspects of other taught modules prior to the May exams.
Synthesis II: Clastic Reservoirs and Plays, Basin Analysis
We use the outcrops of the Spanish Pyrenees to synthesise classroom-based material taught in the preceding two terms, in particular the Advanced Sedimentology, Basin Analysis and Petroleum Systems modules. We investigate the evolution of the Southern Pyrenean foreland basins, following a transect from east to west parallel to the orogeny and focussing on the source-to-sink response of linked depositional systems to tectonics in a contractional setting. The outcrops allow stratigraphic analysis of depositional systems from reservoir scale to basin scale, linked to tectonic basin development and analysis of structural styles. Specific comparisons are drawn with subsurface hydrocarbon provinces and reservoirs.
MSc Petroleum Engineering
This course aims to consolidate the classroom-taught concepts of development geology, with an emphasis on the role of outcrop analogues in understanding subsurface reservoirs, and to introduce the different elements of petroleum plays in an active hydrocarbon basin.
The students document outcrops of units that are direct analogues to the reservoir studied several weeks later in the Production Geoscience Group Project (Sherwood Sandstone, Wytch Farm Field, Wessex Basin).
MSc Metals & Energy
This fieldwork-based teaching complements the "Introduction to Petroleum Geology" course, putting concepts and skills into practice. It aims to review the geological processes that result in the generation, migration, entrapment and preservation of hydrocarbons. This is assisted by the Wessex Basin being an exhumed, partly uplifted, petroliferous sedimentary basin. The course will describe the
main productive reservoir intervals of the Wytch Farm Oil Field, particularly the Triassic Sherwood Sandstone and the Lower Jurassic Bridport Sands. This information will be used to discuss broader aspects of the development of the Wytch Farm oil field and to make comparisons to the North Sea Fields.
Active Mining Operations
A visit of at least ten days to a region of active mining, downstream metal and mineral processing and energy development will be arranged for the third and fourth weeks of the summer term. The visit is a key component of your degree programme as it provides first-hand experience of all aspects of the extraction industry. It also reinforces the practical application of the theoretical material covered in the first two terms.
Given the COVID-19 situation for Academic Year 2020/21, we have the flexibility to move this fieldtrip back as late as August 2021 in order to give it the best opportunity of proceeding. A really important component of all of these mining operation visits are the discussions with the management and operational staff at the mines. In the event that the visits are not possible, these discussions will still go ahead virtually with the staff at these mines, which would still provide invaluable insights into the management and finances of these operations.