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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The purpose of this course is to provide the various concepts that allow to understand the genesis of hydrocarbon in their geological context, the migration and the formation of reservoirs.
One of the main educational goals is to provide the knowledge necessary for the understanding of petroleum formation and occurrence and to develop skills of synthesis in collecting and analyzing huge amount of multidisciplinary data (stratigraphy, geochemistry, well logs, seismic 2D and 3D) necessary to characterize an exploration area and how to find a potential reservoir.

The main knowledge gained will be:

• define the origin of the organic matter in source rocks and trapping;
• know the main types of hydrocarbons;
• understand the processes of maturation and migration of hydrocarbons;
• know the various types of porosity and permeability of sedimentary rocks;
• know the reservoir rocks and seal;
• define and know in detail the various types of traps;
• understand the depositional facies models and the architecture of the main depositional environments and their lateral and vertical heterogeneity to evaluate the possible migration of fluids and storage areas;

The main skills (the ability to apply knowledge acquired) will be:
• recognize and classify the main petroleum traps and understand the processes of formation;
• identify the depositional environments useful in the formation of source and reservoir rocks;
• be able to synthesize useful data for the reconstructions of potential areas useful for the exploration;
• provide interpretations of subsurface data on the evolution of sedimentary rock sequences and their sequence-stratigraphy
• use all the knowledge acquired during the course to reconstruct, interpret and critically evaluate a potential petroleum reservoir.


Strong knowledge of geology, structural geology, stratigraphy and Sedimentology.

Course programme

1- Origin of hydrocarbons (lectures+ exercises)
• Origin of petroleum (oil and gas)
• Types of hydrocarbons, the formation processes of kerogen
• Source rocks, TOC and sedimentary processes
• Geochemistry of hydrocarbons
• Oil migration (primary and secondary), porosity and permeability
• Oil accumulation, reservoirs and traps (stratigraphic, structural and mixed)

2- Petrophysical properties of rocks (lectures+ exercises)
• Permeability, porosity, density
• Controlling factors on the petrophysical property: primary textures and diagenesis

3- The well logs (lectures+ exercises)
• Well-logs and their use (lithological analysis, gamma, density-ray, spontaneous potential, sonic, resistivity etc.).
• Stratigraphic correlations from well logs
• Exercises on oil wells and interpretation of geophysical logs

4- The exploration of the subsurface by seismic reflection (lectures+ exercises)

5- principles of sequence stratigraphy

Didactic methods

The teaching method includes lectures in the classroom on all the topics of the course and practical exercises.

Lessons are conducted with the help of on-screen presentations, prepared by the teacher and constantly updated, with numerous pictures and diagrams of simplification. The information provided in the presentation comes largely from scientific articles selected from journals of major impact. Exercise are from worldwide case studies.

The presentation follows a logical scheme with general concepts and outlines that are expanded in the course of the lesson.

During the lesson the teacher interacts frequently with students with specific questions, raising questions about the knowledge and interpretations to explain a particular process. The aim is to develop the critical thinking and stimulate curiosity about the topics covered.

Learning assessment procedures

The aim of the examination is to test the level of achievement of learning objectives previously indicated.

The exam is divided into 2 parts: evaluation of the exercises made during the course and an oral exam.

The final oral examination will assess not only the knowdlege of the student regarding the topic covered in class, but also the ability to link and compare different aspects covered during the course and in particular to interpret some subsurface data. If a student did not attend the course or completed the required exercises a written examination must be made before the oral examination. To pass the oral exam you must acquire at least 18 points out of 30.

The final grade is the mean of the 2 scores. To pass the comprehensive examination is necessary to acquire a minimum score of 18 out of 30.

If the final score is less than 18, you must repeat the oral examination in the manner and the requirements mentioned.

Reference texts

PDF copies of the presentations of the teacher and other materials provided during the course.

Textbook used during the course: Selley R.C. Elements of Petroleum Geology.II edition,Academic press-

Many arguments can be explored on the following texts and scientific articles.

Ahr W. M., 2008. Geology of Carbonate Reservoirs: The Identification, Description, and Characterization of Hydrocarbon Reservoirs in Carbonate Rocks. Wiley.
Allen, P.A., Allen, J.R.J.A., 2013. Basin Analysis: Principles and Application to Petroleum Play Assessment, 3rd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
Selley, R.C., Sonnenberg, S.A., 2015. Elements of Petroleum Geology, Elements of Petroleum Geology. Elsevier.
Bjorlykke, K., 2010. Petroleum Geoscience. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, Heidelberg.
LEEDER M. (1999), Sedimentology and sedimentary basin. Blackwell Science London.

Scientific articles about petroleum Geology can be found in these journals:

- American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin
- Journal of Petroleum Geology
- Marine and Petroleum Geology