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Course content

The principles of the “Petroleum System” comprising hydrocarbon play concepts, source rocks for oil and gas, maturation of source rocks, migration of petroleum, reservoirs/ traps and seals and their temporal or “timewise” occurrences in sedimentary basins. Focus is on understanding how oil and gas is generated and how petroleum (oil and gas) migrates in the sub-surface and accumulates in traps, and how most of oil and gas ends up finely disseminated in sedimentary strata or at the surface of the earth as oil-seeps or tar-sands. Many traps have contained several oil charges during geological time and the “dynamic trap” understanding is important. Focus is on how we improve our ability to explore for petroleum using geochemical methodology and the understanding of the dynamic migration process and entrapment.

Learning outcome

This course aims to teach the student how data provided by modern petroleum geochemical analytical methods are applied in research and in the petroleum industry to improve our understanding of the natural formation of oil and gas in sedimentary basins. Source rock formation and characterization of source rocks , maturation of source rocks, migration of petroleum and entrapment of oil and gas (petroleum) is discussed based on our most recent knowledge and understanding.


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Recommended previous knowledge

GEL2120 – Sedimentology, paleontology and stratigraphy or similar knowledge. Some basic knowledge of chemistry is helpful.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with GEO3211.


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 identification of compounds in chromatograms from GC-FID, GC-MS (biomarkers), Rock-Eval and TOC methodology is provided.

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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Study administration, email address:

The teaching does not involve direct exposure to lab or field environments. Thus, there is no direct need to take out a separate travel and personal risk insurance.


Written final exam.

Language of examination

In this course any written exam questions or assignment questions may be available in English only.

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.

Explanations and appeals

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.

Withdrawal from an examination

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.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language