Petrophysics - Rock Physics

Reservoir Geochemistry



  Dr Kenneth Peters (Schlumberger, California, United States)


  2 to 3 days


  Geology – Geochemistry






  10 to 15 CPD points




Course description

This course focuses on methods and applications of petroleum reservoir geochemistry, including unconventional reservoirs (e.g., gas shale). It is designed for production and development geologists but could also benefit geochemists, geochemical coordinators and managers. The course provides guidelines for sample collection and project initiation, how to predict oil quality from inexpensive wellbore measurements, how to identify reservoir compartments and de-convolute commingled petroleum and how to assess completion problems. Case studies and many exercises illustrate how geochemistry can be used to solve production and development problems while minimizing cost. The lectures and discussions are designed to improve basic understanding of the processes that control petroleum quality in reservoir rocks and the bulk, molecular and isotopic tools that facilitate that understanding. Some examples of topics include: water analysis, gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) of oil and gas, compound-specific isotope analyses (CSIA) of light hydrocarbons, biomarkers and diamondoids and chemometrics to classify oil families, identify compartments and de-convolute mixed oils.


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of water analysis;
  • Understand various geochemical measurements, e.g., GC, GC-MS, GC-MS-MS and CSIA, including interpretive pitfalls;
  • Learn how downhole formation testing can provide in situ measures of fluid properties;
  • Learn how to collect water, oil and rock samples and evaluate data quality;
  • Learn how light hydrocarbons, biomarkers, diamondoids and isotopes are used to correlate oils and assess thermal maturity, thermochemical sulphate reduction, evaporative fractionation, biodegradation and other reservoir processes;
  • Learn how to assess reservoir compartmentalization; identify gas, oil, and water contacts, leakage behind casing; predict oil quality from sidewall cores;
  • Learn how to assess commingled production and contamination of oil samples;
  • Learn how to rapidly and inexpensively predict oil properties from core extracts;
  • Learn various chemometric (multivariate statistics) methods to interpret large volumes of reservoir geochemistry data;
  • Gain geochemical expertise based on case studies and exercises to allow better communication with colleagues and clients.


Course outline

Module 1. Objectives, Samples, Migration

  • Objectives, Terms, Nomenclature
  • Migration and Compartments
  • Migration Mechanisms: Diffusion, Solution, Gas-Phase, Oil-Phase
  • Sample Collection/Water Chemistry
  • Exercises

Module 2. Reservoir Processes

  • Gravity Segregation
  • Biodegradation/Water Washing
  • Phase Changes: Deasphalting, Wax Crystallization
  • Phase Changes: Retrograde Condensation, Evaporative Fractionation
  • Thermal Maturation, Reactive Polar Precipitation
  • Thermochemical Sulfate Reduction
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises

Module 3. Oil Fingerprinting, Production Allocation

  • Gas Chromatography, Stable Isotopes
  • Oil Fingerprinting: Reservoir Compartments
  • Leaky Casing, Production Allocation
  • Interpretive Pitfalls; Exercises

Module 4. Gas Reservoirs, Gas Shale, Case Studies

  • Gases
  • Gas Shale/Unconventionals
  • Reservoir Geochemistry Case Studies


Participants' profile

The course is designed for development or production geologists, but could also benefit geochemical coordinators, managers, and exploration geologists.



Participants should have knowledge of basic chemistry. Experience in exploration or production will also be helpful.


About the instructor

Dr Kenneth Peters

Kenneth Peters is Science Advisor for Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) where he uses geochemistry and numerical modeling to study petroleum systems. He has more than 33 years of experience working for Chevron, Mobil, ExxonMobil, USGS, and Schlumberger and has taught petroleum geochemistry and basin modeling at Chevron, Mobil, ExxonMobil, Oil & Gas Consultants International, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University. Ken is principal author of The Biomarker Guide (2005, Cambridge U. Press) and Consulting Professor in the Geological & Environmental Sciences Department at Stanford University where he leads the Basin and Petroleum System Modeling Industrial Affiliates Program. He was Chair of the AAPG Research Committee (2007-2010), AAPG Distinguished Lecturer for 2009 and 2010, and editor for the 2009 AAPG compact disk “Getting Started in Basin and Petroleum System Modeling”. He is Associate Editor for AAPG Bulletin and Organic Geochemistry. In 2009, he received the Schlumberger Henri Doll Prize for Innovation and the Alfred E. Treibs Award presented on behalf of the Organic Geochemistry Division of the Geochemical Society to scientists who have had a major impact on the field of organic geochemistry through long-standing contributions. Ken has B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from UCSB and a Ph.D. in geochemistry from UCLA.


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