MSc Petroleum Exploration Geoscience / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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MSc Petroleum Geoscience Graduate
Studying MSc Petroleum Geoscience provided me with the technical knowledge which was needed as a stepping stone to build my career within the industry.Christine Roche / AMME Manager, Petroleum Geo-Services
The MSc in Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration is taught over one calendar year by leading researchers in the field.
We will build your knowledge by examining the sedimentary and structural processes that govern the way sedimentary basins fill, and how an understanding of these complex three- dimensional systems can be usefully applied to improve models of petroleum systems in the subsurface.
The knowledge and techniques taught at Manchester are also directly applicable to developing subsurface technologies in geothermal energy, carbon capture and storage and network gas storage.
You will develop key skills for understanding petroleum systems, and you will learn how to evaluate sedimentary basins and leads along with prospect generation. You will also develop skills to explore for oil and gas (and unconventional hydrocarbons).
The program has close links with industry, including major energy companies, that provide additional input into our courses, deliver some of the content, and are instrumental in providing cutting- edge datasets for investigation as part of the MSc projects.
Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration is ideal if you wish to pursue a career in the energy industry working in exploration for oil and gas, and future mitigation measures such as carbon sequestration. These skills are also transferable to other energy industries, such as geothermal and nuclear.
The skills and knowledge you develop will also provide a solid basis for postgraduate research in the fields of sedimentology or basin research.
- You will develop knowledge of the tools and techniques used to explore for hydrocarbons and extract them in an efficient manner.
- You will develop critical awareness of the direction of the energy industry - in particular, academic and applied advances in exploration, development and production technologies.
- We will teach you the skills to evaluate subsurface geological systems in order to assess value and recovery potential of resources, or as potential repositories for geothermal fluids and for storage of CO2 or other gases.
- You will learn how to effectively communicate scientific ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences, through written and spoken presentations.
Fieldwork on Manchester's Petroleum Geoscience program is provided at no extra cost. In addition, you will be provided with a fieldwork package worth £250, including boots, coat, rucksack and measuring equipment.
A key element of the course is fieldwork, which aims to synthesise and reinforce material taught in lectures and practical classes. They provide the opportunity to learn relevant field techniques, and to compare field analogues with core, wireline logs and seismic sections.
Over the duration of the course several trips are conducted:
- One-day field trip to classic localities at Mam Tor, Derbyshire, UK.
- Five days on the North Yorkshire coast, UK, to investigate source, seal and reservoir elements.
- One-day excursion to gain experience of core analysis at the BGS core store, Keyworth.
You will experience a seven-day overseas field trip at the end of the taught part of the course. This is currently to the Spanish Island of Mallorca. It provides an opportunity to study both clastics and carbonate reservoirs, comparable to working petroleum systems in North Africa and the Mediterranean. This region is noted specifically for superb outcrops of the Miocene carbonates, where the depositional processes, environments and diagenesis can be observed. The trip provides insight into the distribution of carbonate facies and reservoir in a sequence stratigraphic context.
Additional course information
Our student community
Postgraduate students from Manchester's Basins, stratigraphy and sedimentary processes research Group run award-winning AAPG and EAGE student chapters.
These groups regularly invite industry personnel to deliver talks on careers, academic projects and exploration / production activities. As well as insight into energy industry activities, these events providing valuable networking opportunities for Petroleum Geoscience students.
Teaching and learning
Taught postgraduate students have around 20 hours contact time a week, and you are expected to spend around 30 hours in private study.
Your week will be made up of:
- Online materials
- Laboratory classes
- Staff-led and peer-led group work
- Individual research projects
- Computer-based tuition - you will be trained in software used to process and analyse digital subsurface data using our industry-specification dedicated computer workstation cluster.
Coursework and assessment
- Assessment is through various methods. Traditional examinations take place in January and May each year, while the majority is through in-course assessment of coursework, practical and project work.
- One-third of the program is composed of the Independent Research Project, with assessment based on a written thesis and a presentation made at the end-of-year MSc conference.
Course unit details
Semester 1 is taught jointly between the programs 'Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration' and 'Petroleum Geoscience for Reservoir Development and Production'. Teaching builds a foundation of knowledge in petroleum geoscience. The core subjects cover the fundamentals of petroleum geoscience, such as reservoir geology, geophysics fundamentals, petrophysics, operations geology, fundamentals of exploration and production geoscience and geochemistry.
Semester 2 is focussed on Exploration Geoscience. Both programs share integrated subsurface description, then you will learn how to evaluate sedimentary basins and leads along with prospect generation before applying your skills to the Exploration Group Project.
MSc Independent Project
You will spend the final 12 weeks of the program on the MSc Independent Projects. These are challenging, but rewarding, and involve the collection, analysis and integration of a dataset linked with Petroleum Geoscience. To achieve best results, projects are matched to student interests and may involve single datasets or combinations of seismic, fieldwork, wireline log, well core, thin sections, petrophysical data, etc.
Projects are written up as a thesis taking the form of a short paper. You will present your project findings at the MSc conference in front of an invited audience. Some project work produced for Manchester's MSc has proved to be of sufficient quality to be accepted for publication as journal articles. Recent examples include:
- Erdi, A., Huuse, M. 2018, Tectonic Evolution and Hydrocarbon Prospectivity of East Coast Basin, Offshore Hawke Bay, New Zealand : Offshore Technology Conference Asia, 20-23 March, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. DOI link.
- Brown, C.S., Newton, A.M.W., Huuse, M., Buckley, F. 2017, Iceberg scours, pits, and pockmarks in the North Falkland Basin : Marine Geology, v.386, p.140-152. DOI link.
- Jerrett, R., Bennie, L.I., Flint, S.S., Greb, S.F. 2016, Extrinsic and intrinsic controls on mouth bar and mouth bar complex architecture: Examples from the Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) of the central Appalachian Basin, Kentucky, USA : Geological Society of America Bulletin, v.128, p.1696-1716. DOI link.
- Schröder, S., Ibekwe, A., Saunders, M., Dixon, R., and Fisher, A., 2016, Algal-microbial carbonates of the Namibe Basin (Albian, Angola): implications for microbial carbonate mound development in the South Atlantic : Petroleum Geoscience, v.22, p.71-90. DOI link.
Course unit list
The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.
|Exploration Group Project||EART60102||15||Mandatory|
|Integrated Subsurface Description||EART60152||15||Mandatory|
|Prospect Evaluation and Petroleum Economics||EART60162||15||Mandatory|
|Independent Research Project||EART60172||60||Mandatory|
|Communication Skills and Fieldwork||EART60230||15||Mandatory|
|Key Interpretation Skills||EART60381||15||Mandatory|
|Play Fairway Analysis||EART60391||15||Mandatory|
|Field Appraisal and Development||EART60402||15||Mandatory|
|Fundamentals of Applied Subsurface Geoscience||EART61031||15||Mandatory|
Scholarships and bursaries
We offer a number of postgraduate taught scholarships and awards to outstanding UK and international students each year.
If you are a current student or recent graduate of The University of Manchester and plan to start a master's course in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, you may be eligible for our Manchester Alumni Scholarship Schemes .
The University of Manchester is committed to widening participation in master's study, and allocates £300,000 in funding each year. Our Manchester Masters Bursaries are aimed at widening access to master's courses by removing barriers to postgraduate education for students from underrepresented groups.
The program uses a high-specification workstation cluster, and we are a Schlumberger centre of excellence - providing access to software such as Petrel, PetroMod and Eclipse. Additionally, access to other leading software can be provided, including Kingdom Suite, GeoTeric and Paleoscan.
MSc research projects have access to analytical facilities within The University of Manchester, including SEM and optical microscopes, XRF, XRD, and more.