MSc Petroleum Geoscience

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Exploration Group Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code EART60102
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? No


The "Imperial Barrel Award" - this course is taught as independent group work with regular tutorials. Groups are required to present their work at the end (assessment) and the winning team will be delegated to take part in an international competition with other universities.

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 consolidate technical skills and develop the exploration approach and team working skills of the MSc Petroleum Geoscience students by undertaking a ‘real-life’ basin analysis exercise, including petroleum systems assessment and development of leads and prospects. Ultimately the project will assess resource and risk in a given area as part of the AAPG sponsored Imperial Barrel Award project and competition.


Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
  • ILO 1 Become familiar with a typical oil field data set comprising well data, seismic, test data, pressure data, economic data
  • ILO 2 Be able to produce depositional facies maps, reservoir, source and seal maps
  • ILO 3 Assess the key reservoir characteristics and parameters.
  • ILO 4 Calculate the hydrocarbon resource, using deterministic, stochastic and monte carlo methods.
  • ILO 5 Use basin modelling techniques to determine hydrocarbon charge.
  • ILO 6 Apply the concept of Chance of Success and the quantification of risk.


(L=lecture and P=practical)
Week 0 (before beginning of scheduled course): 
L. IBA intro lecture
P. Download data, build interpretation project
Week 1
L. IBA intro repeat and targeting specific area and data
P. Preliminary data analysis, well ties, etc
Week 2
L. Revisiting seismic-well tie workflow, well correlations etc
P. Advanced data analysis
Week 3
L. Revisiting basin modelling, Risking, etc
P. Finalising prospect generation and risking
Exam. Team presentation

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures & Tutorials
Workstation-based practical work
Literature search and synthesis done using online search engines and libraries


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Oral assessment/presentation 100%

Feedback methods

Ongoing feedback on technical work during 3 week timetabled project. Questions and comments following presentations.

Recommended reading

IBA intro lecture on Blackboard
Shell exploration guide on Blackboard
Specific technical papers determined by area and type of exploration opportunities defined by the given dataset (new each year)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 4
Practical classes & workshops 3
Tutorials 15
Independent study hours
Independent study 128

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonathan Redfern Unit coordinator

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