Geology - Geological Modeling

Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling: Applications for Petroleum Exploration Risk and Resource Assessments



  Dr Bjorn Wygrala (Schlumberger, Aachen, Germany)


  2 days


  Geology – Geological Modeling






  10 CPD points




Course description

The term ‘Petroleum Systems’ and the technology ‘Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling will be introduced by showing applications in areas with critical exploration challenges, including salt basins and thrust belts. Technical breakthroughs in the last 10 –15 years have been the extension of the technology from 2D to 3D and the ability to perform multi-phase petroleum migration modeling using different methods in high-resolution geological models. This enables temperature, pressure and petroleum property predictions to be made with higher levels of accuracy and in the most complex geological environments such as in the sub-salt or in thrust belts. Case studies will be used with live software presentations to illustrate key points. Applications of the technology will range from frontier exploration in which large areas with only sparse data are screened, to detailed assessments of exploration risks in structurally complex areas, to petroleum resource assessments of yet-to-find oil and gas.


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to understand modern petroleum systems modeling methods and their applications, as well as to be aware of their role and value in petroleum exploration and resource assessments.


Course outline

Opening Session:

  • Industry Challenges and Opportunities
  • Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling (BPSM): History and Definitions

Petroleum Systems Modeling Applications:

  • Introduction Using Salt Basin Case Study: An Example of Standard Exploration Risking Workflows
  • Structural Complexity: From Structural Reconstructions to BPSM
  • Regional Case Studies (can be selected by course attendees)

Theoretical Aspects of Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling:

  • Temperature and Pressure: PT Modeling and Predictions
  • Petroleum Generation and Migration: Petroleum Property Predictions

Challenges and Future Developments:

  • Reservoir in Petroleum Systems Modeling: Scaling from Basin to Prospect and Reservoir
  • Gas Hydrates: From Drilling Hazard to Future Resource
  • Biogenic and Shallow Gas: A Promising New Resource Type

Closing Session:

  • Petroleum Resource Assessments: Geology Based and Auditable
  • Petroleum Systems Modeling: Industry Best Practices in Exploration


Participants' profile

The course is accessible for geoscientists from all disciplines and for students with any level of experience. It is primarily directed at geologists but the data models and the quality of the results that can be achieved are dependent on geophysical and geochemical input, so all of these disciplines will benefit. The course will create awareness of a technology widely used in the industry that has rapidly developed in the last few years, which plays a critical role in exploration risk assessments, as well as in the assessment of yet-to-find hydrocarbon resources. Course attendees will learn that the topic is technically innovative and challenging and that the application of the technology offers interesting opportunities in the industry and in academia.



Participants should have a basic knowledge of petroleum geology and an interest in understanding geologic risk factors in petroleum exploration.


About the instructor

Dr Bjorn Wygrala

Dr Bjorn Wygrala graduated from Cologne University in Germany in 1980 and started his professional career as a sedimentologist in minerals exploration for several years in Australia, before moving into the field of petroleum geology. He completed a PhD thesis in petroleum geology in 1989 in a partnership with Eni-Agip in Italy, together with the KFA Research Center and IES Integrated Exploration Systems in Germany.

He then joined IES and was closely involved in the development and application of petroleum systems modelling, now with more than 30 years of experience in basin analysis and the application of simulation technologies for exploration risk and resource assessments for petroleum E&P companies in more than 40 countries. Following the acquisition of IES by Schlumberger in 2008, he is based in Aachen, Germany with the Schlumberger Aachen Technology Center (AaTC) and is globally active as an advisor for exploration technology and services.


                    Learning Geoscience Logo


Explore other courses under this discipline:


New Tools and Approaches in Reservoir Quality Prediction

Instructor: Dr Dave L. Cantrell (Cantrell GeoLogic and Stanford University, USA)

Reservoir quality prediction has long been the ultimate goal of industry geologists, yet few have achieved this in a truly quantitative fashion. This workshop presents a new approach to reservoir quality prediction that involves the integration of a variety of modeling techniques to understand, quantify and predict the geological processes that control reservoir quality. Since initial reservoir quality is established at the time of deposition, numerical process models are used to predict initial reservoir quality; diagenetic process models are then used to modify these initial results and ultimately produce a quantitative and geologically-based prediction of present-day subsurface reservoir quality.

More information

Petroleum Exploration Strategy

Instructor: Mr Jean-Jacques Biteau (Total Professor Associate, France)

This course on 'Petroleum Exploration Strategy' focuses on aspects like the evaluation of exploration projects (working sequence, costs, economic criteria etc), partnerships, contracts and mining acreage, but also on the missions and role of a geoscience/exploration manager.
Case studies from various regions are an important part of this course.

More information

Volumes and Risks Assessment for Conventional and Unconventional Plays and Prospects

Instructor: Prof. Dr Alexei Milkov (Colorado School of Mines, USA)

The course enables participants to transform qualitative geological descriptions of plays and prospects into technically robust quantitative success-case and risked volumetric models. Obtained learnings will help participants evaluate probabilities of success (PoS) for exploration plays, segments, prospects, wells and portfolios and to assess the range of petroleum volumes in exploration projects. Examples and case studies come from both conventional and unconventional plays, prospects and wells around the world. The learning objectives are achieved through well-illustrated lectures, numerous hands-on exercises and active class discussions. We will cover:

- Play-based exploration;
- Assessment of success-case volumes;
- Assessment of exploration risks/PoS;
- Biases;
- Post-mortem analysis.

More information

Well Logs and Borehole Image

Instructor: Prof. Dr Michael Poppelreiter (University Technology Petronas)

The most universal, comprehensive and concise descriptive documents on oil and gas wells are well logs. They impact the work of almost every oil field group from geologists to roustabouts to bankers. Familiarity with the applications of well logs is therefore essential for people forging their careers in the oil business. The instructor uses a core-based approach to help participants develop a good grounding in understanding and applying well logging techniques. General principles of physics are presented to explain the functioning of modern logging tools. Wherever possible, the physics of logging measurements is related to everyday tools and applications. Cross-plotting and reconnaissance techniques quickly and efficiently discriminate between water, oil and gas. Error minimization techniques, applicable only to computerized log analysis, produce optimal results. Participants benefit from realistic experience by working in teams on a comprehensive log interpretation exercise.

More information

Natural Fracture Systems and Fractured Hydrocarbon Accumulations, Mechanics and Management

Instructor: Dr Dirk Nieuwland (NewTec International)

Unconventional hydrocarbon systems require unconventional approaches to decide on drilling locations and development techniques. The information contained in natural fracture systems can be used to support the drilling and well stimulation technique for the development of unconventional hydrocarbon systems such as shale gas. This short course is based on geomechanics as a technique that can be used to understand and to develop unconventional hydrocarbon systems such as shale gas systems, and fractured crystalline basement, where conventional logging and seismic systems are inadequate.

More information

3D Modelling of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs

Instructor: Dr Tim Wynn (TRACS International Ltd)

Reservoir modelling for field development planning is a well-accepted process but its application to fractured reservoirs requires specific considerations which are less commonly known. This course briefly describes a practical methodology for building 3D static ('geocellular') reservoir models for naturally fractured reservoirs using standard modelling software, covering such considerations.

The issues addressed include the integration of log, core and seismic data, the process of defining and building the static reservoir model itself, and the creation of output in a form appropriate for dynamic modelling using dual porosity reservoir simulators where appropriate.

More complex workflows using discrete fracture networks will also be summarised, as will general issues of fracture description, uncertainty-handling and developing and managing fractured reservoirs. 

More information

Deepwater Reservoirs: Exploration and Production Concepts

Instructor: Prof. Dorrik Stow (Heriot-Watt University)

Sandstones deposited in deep marine environments form important hydrocarbon reservoirs in many basins around the world. Interbedded mudstones can be important as source rocks, as well as acting as barriers, baffles and seals. Deepwater reservoirs are currently the principal target for oil and gas exploration, with over 1600 existing turbidite fields and plays.

More information

Reservoir Model Design: How to Build Good Reservoir Models

Instructors: Dr Mark Bentley (AGR TRACS International) and Prof. Philip Ringrose (Equinor)

This short course will provide an introduction to reservoir model design, covering the following main design elements:

  • Model purpose;
  • The rock model;
  • The property model;
  • Model scaling;
  • Handling uncertainty.


More information