Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021 the exams of most courses at the MN Faculty will be conducted as digital home exams or oral exams, using the normal grading scale. The semester page for your course will be updated with any changes in the form of examination.

Please note that there may be changes in the form of examination for some courses taught Spring 2021. We aim to bring both the course description and the semester page of all courses up to date with correct information by 1 February 2021.

See general guidelines for examination at the MN Faculty autumn 2020.

Course content

Source rocks form oil and gas and are classified according to the quality and quantity of their organic content which is determined by organic productivity and the depositional conditions of the paleo-environment. In this course, we deal with source rock formation and maturing, as well as their classification, including molecular parameters for the characterization of oils, bitumen and gases, with practical exercises.

In addition to source rocks, are maturation, migration and trap filling key elements in an overall understanding of the "Petroleum System".

We study the GS-FID/MS, biomarker and stable carbon isotope analytical methods. The course also provides an introduction to how petroleum geochemical methods are used in oil and gas exploration, and also an understanding of how naturally occurring hydrocarbons are distributed in sedimentary systems.

Learning outcome

After taking this course you will:

  • Understand the use and implications of modern geochemical analytical methods integrated towards a "Petroleum System Understanding". This includes the formation of oil and gas, migration, and accumulation in traps.
  • Understand the distribution of oil and gas in sedimentary basins, and what determines the phase-type in traps (oil v gas) related to maturing, migration and cap rock conditions.
  • Have acquired a basis on which to correlate oil-source, oil-oil and oil-gas and for basic analysis of source rocks.
  • Have the foundation for pursuing the subject in research, or in an exploration perspective, alternatively in work with pollution issues/bioremediation.
  • Have received an introduction to the factors controlling oil prices in relation to actual geopolitics. Organic matter in sediments was the basis for the "Industrial Revolution" plus high-intensity farming, and shale gas/oil is one of the recently promoted energy sources in a world where organic carbon still accounts for 70-85% of the energy demand.
  • Have experience with presenting a scientific paper.

Admission to the course

Students admitted at UiO must apply for courses in Studentweb. Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

Nordic citizens and applicants residing in the Nordic countries may apply to take this course as a single course student.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures for international applicants.

Some basic knowledge in chemistry would be helpful.

Overlapping courses


8 hours of lectures per week (4h+2h+2h). Extensive use of "hand-outs" and scientific papers is the nucleus of the teaching effort. Some class exercises in the identification of compounds in chromatograms from GC-FID, GC-MS (biomarkers), Rock-Eval and TOC methodology is provided.

Scientific papers will be discussed in plenum. Students will, as part of their teaching, each present one paper from the syllabus.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.


  • Presentation of a scientific paper must be approved before sitting for the written examination of the course.
  • Final written examination (3 hours) counts for 100%.

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

It will also be counted as one of the three attempts to sit the exam for this course if you sit the exam for one of the following courses:

Examination support material

Approved calculator.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.

You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Jan. 19, 2021 11:24:20 PM

Facts about this course

Teaching language