Skip to Content


Last modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:04

Course Overview

The course will train students in techniques that can be employed especially in petroleum geology, but also in other branches of geology. The techniques focus on the manipulation and interpretation of geochemical data. A 4-day field excursion is embedded within the course, to illustrate petroleum systems, including work in the evenings on organic biomarker data related to the trip, and collection of samples for subsequent laboratory work. Two portfolios of work will be prepared, on unconventional hydrocarbon sources and basin burial histories. This course is excellent preparation for further training in petroleum geology.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Stephen A. Bowden
  • Dr Alexander Brasier

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

  1. Thermal history techniques, including fission track analysis, fluid inclusion analysis, biomarker analysis.
  2. Diagenesis in sedimentary basins, and consequences for exploration.
  3. Indicators of palaeogeography, palaeoenvironments, provenance, and the use of space-time diagrams.
  4. Application of biostratigraphic techniques in basin exploration.
  5. Application of petroleum geochemistry in basin exploration.
  6. Gas hydrates (clathrates): global distribution, stability; occurrence in geological history.
  7. Natural gas: origins, analysis of gases to determine origin; hydrogen springs.
  8. Shale gas/coal bed methane: Potential distribution of shale gas; prediction and detection of shale gas; coal bed methane.
  9. Hydrocarbons in basement rocks: Occurrence, commercial prospects; possibility of abiogenic hydrocarbons.
  10. Tar sands, oil shale and massive bitumen: Global distribution of tar sands, their formation and prospectivity; massive bitumen deposits; oil shales.

Associated Costs

Field trip GBP 150.00
Field notebook GBP 12.00

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Practical during University week s 8 - 19

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

Portfolio Exercise (20%)

Comparative Study of Petroleums Systems (20%)

Individual Report on Basin Modelling Project (30%)

Data Response Exercise submitted in 24 hour window (30%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.