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Petroleum Systems Modeling

Rajan Chokshi, PhD
INSTRUCTOR: Lothar Friberg, PhD
DISCIPLINE: Geoscience, Unconventional Reservoirs
CEUS: 2.4
To schedule an In-House course, contact SCA’s Training Department at

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Designed for geologists, geophysicists, and engineers actively working in exploration.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course covers the concepts of what a petroleum system is comprised of and the benefits of integrating petroleum systems modeling as a discipline in your exploration workflow. In this context, participants will learn about the key parameters required to conduct a petroleum systems modeling study. Day 3 will include a customized hands-on exercise using the client’s data.


  • Introduction to different source rock types and their classification regarding depositional environments, organofacies and kinetics. Brief summary of the analysis methods.
  • Heat sources and rock properties affecting the temperature field.
  • Thermal maturity of organic matter and parameters to determine it.
  • Compaction behavior, pressure distribution and the effect on fluid flow.
  • Geochemistry of oil and gas including methods to analyze them.
  • Understanding the information stored in geochemical data such as biomarkers and isotopes.
  • Factors and processes affecting petroleum properties.
  • Introduction to basin modeling and what it can do for you.


  • Define source rock organofacies and appropriate kinetic for basin model.
  • Understand heat sources contributing to the temperature field of a sedimentary basin and how the basin fill lithologies are affecting it.
  • Being aware of standard calibration parameters used in basin models.
  • Develop a general knowledge about the wealth of information stored in geochemical data such as maturity and facies and how this information can be utilized in constraining and calibrating your basin model.
  • Identify what are the critical input parameters for a basin model.
  • Understand the different modeling program approaches and being empowered to choose the most appropriate package/dimension for the particular question to answer.
  • Being able to differentiate between strength and weakness of a basin model.

NOTE: You will not learn how to run a petroleum system modeling program such as PetroMod or Zetaware.


  • Introduction
    1. Definition of a petroleum system
  • Source rocks
    1. Depositional environments and organofacies
    2. Source rock analysis and kinetics
    3. What makes a good source rock – examples from around the world
  • Temperature
    1. Heat sources
    2. Conditions affecting the temperature field in a sedimentary basin.
  • Maturity
    1. Definition of thermal maturity
    2. Common thermal maturity parameters
  • Fluid flow
    1. Compaction
    2. Pressures and fluid flow/migration
  • Geochemistry
    1. Analytics (GC, GCMS, Isotopes)
    2. Biomarkers and their application
    3. Natural gases
    4. Factors and processes affecting petroleum properties
    5. Surface geochemistry
  • Basin modeling
    1. Purpose for modeling
    2. Petroleum systems modeling workflow and data requirements.
    3. Modeling dimensions and techniques
    4. Addressing uncertainties and mitigating them (scenario testing)