MSc Data Science (Earth and Environmental Analytics)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Integrated Subsurface Description

Course unit fact file
Unit code EART60152
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course is designed to make students aware of the basic elements of an Integrated Subsurface Description, and to understand and practice the fundamental tools, techniques and skills used in the creation of an ISD. The module comprises:

  • A review of the Value Chain and the importance of data collection throughout field development
  • Value of Information, and how to determine it
  • Data types for exploration, appraisal, production and reservoir management
  • Seismic interpretation
  • Fluids and their distribution
  • Trapping
  • Case studies of carbonate and clastic fields

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.




To introduce the geoscientist to the concepts of the Integrated Subsurface Description (ISD) as the foundations for effective reservoir appraisal, development and production. The course covers the basic building blocks of the ISD, introducing concepts and expectations of the petroleum geoscientist in their role. Key data types, and workflows for their collection and interpretation will be considered

Learning outcomes

The student will:

•       Become familiar with the Concepts of the Integrated Subsurface Description and its building blocks (Subsurface Data Sets; Reservoir Framework in clastic and carbonate systems; Structural & Trapping Framework; Fluid Properties; Overburden Description)

•       Become familiar with the methods used in all of these areas and how they impact business decision and subsurface uncertainty and risk management

•       Understand the different tools used in the different aspects of the ISD including 3D Seismic Interpretation and Visualisation of oil and gas fields

•       Use examples of real oil and gas fields to illustrate the concepts and approaches used in the ISD


Develop an understanding of the different data sets and analytical techniques used in the reservoir framework, structural and trapping configuration, fluids analysis, overburden description

Use these to understand how the Petroleum Geoscientist informs and impacts business decision making in reservoir appraisal, development and production

Use of oilfield data (SWC, Core, Cuttings, Log data, Seismic, Production and other datasets)


Key Contents:

The value chain and value of information

Data for resource estimation, rate constraint and profile constraint

Seismic data analysis

Integrated Fluids Description: Fluid Properties & Distribution, including data analysis and correlation method

Trapping Framework & Compartmentalisation

Assessment methods

100% Coursework

Recommended reading



Brown, A.R. 1999. Interpretation of three-dimensional seismic data (5th Edition). AAPG Memoir

Jahn, F, Cook, M & Graham, M 2002. Hydrocarbon Exploration & Production (2nd Edition)

Gluyas, J & Swarbrick, R 2004. Petroleum Geoscience

Dake, LP 2001. The Practice of Reservoir Engineering (Revised Edition)

Shepherd, M 2009. Oil Field Production Geology (AAPG Memoir 91)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Tutorials 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 90

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mads Huuse Unit coordinator

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