Free course

Earth's physical resources: petroleum

Free statement of participation on completion

The discovery of the world's first major underground oil field in Pennsylvania, USA in 1859 sparked the continuing era of the world's reliance on cheap energy from oil and gas. This free course, Earth's physical resources: petroleum, begins by examining the geological characteristics of petroleum and the key ingredients necessary to form oil and gas accumulations. Then there is a brief description of industrial operations during the life cycle of an oil field, starting with subsurface analysis and exploration drilling. The course also highlights the role of safety and environmental management as an integral part of the petroleum business and concludes with a short review of global resources and non-conventional petroleum.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • interpret graphs and evaluate tables of data relating to different aspects of petroleum
  • recognise, after being given basic geological information for a petroleum play, the main 'ingredients' (petroleum charge, reservoirs, seals and traps) that contribute to its potential
  • understand the roles played by different means of exploration in contributing to defining a petroleum play, and its evaluation
  • describe the various options for petroleum production in different settings
  • discuss the various hazards to operators and the environment that are presented by exploiting petroleum reserves.

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Course content