2023-2024 / GEOL0008-4

Hydrocarbons and energy transition - Exploration, Energy context and exploration of hydrocarbons


15h Th

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering2 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (joint-degree programme with the "Université polytechnique de Madrid")2 crédits 


Pierre Cornet

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course (in French) is the first part of a joint course intended for geologists and mining engineers and geologists entitled "Hydrocarbons in the energy transition" These first 15 hours given by Pierre Cornet constitute the introduction and is followed by a second part of 15 hours entitled "Techniques of extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons" given by Xavier Limpens.
For geologists, this same course also serves as an introduction to a complementary section of 25 hours section of theory and practical work on geological methods and techniques applied to hydrocarbon exploration.

Geology applied to Hydrocarbon Exploration  (P. Cornet)
The course starts with an inventory of today worldwide oil and gas reserves and production figures, in comparison with alternative energy sources available, their utilization and predicted future development.  Then follows a hydrocarbon chemical composition and genesis  description, emphasizing on  geological conditions necessary to achieve their maturation and  accumulation (petroleum systems). Next comes a review of exploration methods and techniques: geophysics, well data analysis, prospect identification and reserves evaluation. The technical way of well drilling is also presented.

Non Conventional Hydrocarbon Production Techniques (X. Limpens)
Production methods for hydrocarbons, in general, are discussed: fluid flow properties , surface facilities, crude processing and refining. Emphasis is then set on specific operating techniques: deep sea, high pressure / temperature, heavy oils, oil and gas shales. The interaction with the environment is addressed through subjects related to energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and calculation, and CO2 capture and sequestration.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Geology applied to Hydrocarbons Exploration : introduction to the genesis of hydrocarbons and the formation of deposits; identification of petroleum systems, method of evaluating the potential of an petroleum basin, analysis and interpretation of drilling data.
Notions of seismic data acquisition and processing.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Geology applied to Hydrocarbon Exploration: general geology fundamentals, good knowledge of structural geology and sedimentology. basic geophysics.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This first part of the course is spread over 15 hours including 10 hours of theoretical talk and 5 hours of workshop, organized as follows:
Introduction (1,5 hours): the energy transition context: worldwide statistical review of reserves, production and consumption figures for hydrocarbons and alternative energies, 2040 outlook; energy  market: the oil industry workflow: exploration, production, refining, petrochemical products. An Internet querry on a subject of personal interest is requested.
Petroleum Systems (1 hour): fundamentals of source rocks, reservoirs and seals; conditions needed to allow hydrocarbons accumulations in traps.
Petroleum Basins (1 hour): characterization and dynamics of sedimentary basins allowing hydrocarbon generation and entrapment; identification areas of potential interest; petroleum potential maps concept. The  2 hours workshop allows to evaluate the petroleum systems in a real basin, to identify prospective areas and evaluate potential reserves.
Well Data Acquisition and Interpretation (3 hours): Rotary drilling method; sampling and samples analyses; technical basis, principles and interpretation of wireline well recordings (logs). Workshop: log interpretation fundamentals (3 hours).
Geophysics (4 hours): taught by Michel COURBE (TPA): Geophysical Methods (Seismic Reflexion) applications to oil industry exploration: acquisition techniques and processing. 
Workshops : the documents used are real case studies in exploration areas.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)


Recommended or required readings

slide presentation, available in PDF format. Paper documents for case study workshops.

Oral control of the course practical understanding, focussing on synthetic knowledge. Three written questions are provided (theoretical geology, workshop exercise and seismic).Time is given for preparation (30 min.).

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Pierre Cornet
Total Professeurs Associés (TPA), maître de conférence and et collaborateur scientifique in  Géology Department, Sedimentary Petrology Unit of ULiège (B20 building).
tél. (personal): +32 (0)497 55 08 28
e-mail : pierrejcornet@gmail.com

Association of one or more MOOCs