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Unit information: Basins and Reservoirs in 2020/21

Unit name Basins and Reservoirs
Unit code EASC30072
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1B (weeks 7 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Whitaker
Open unit status Not open

Mandatory units in Year 1 and Year 2 of the relevant degree programme.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit draws upon the skills and knowledge gained from Year 1 Dynamic Surface teaching in EASC10001, and the units EASC20007 Sedimentology and EASC20042 Applied Geophysics. It enables students to apply their knowledge of sedimentology and geophysics to sedimentary basins to develop an understanding of basin-fill architecture and of the storage and movement of fluids through reservoir systems, and implications for fossil and renewable energy sources (hydrocarbons, geothermal energy and water) and underground storage (carbon storage and sequestration, energy and waste water).

The unit includes a compulsory fieldwork element that will be consolidated via an open notebook test worth 20% of the marks for the unit. Failure to attend the field trip, unless valid documentation is presented, will result in loss of credit points for the unit and may lead to a requirement to withdraw from the degree programme.

Case studies from a number of different industrial and geological settings will be used to expand knowledge of a range of regional geologies, including examples from across the UK and other examples from across the World.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to

  • Understand the distribution of temperature and the characteristics of fluids in sedimentary basins, including the provenance and geochemical history of hydrocarbon reserves.
  • Characterise reservoirs and seals in terms of their origin and porosity and permeability and understand the scale-dependence of these properties.
  • Describe the characteristics of reservoirs that influence the storage and flow of fluids and energy in the subsurface.
  • Relate and account for facies changes in modern and ancient basins in relation to depositional environments and diagenetic processes, and variations in reservoir properties.
  • Understand and apply the basic techniques of basin- and reservoir-scale geophysics and petrophysics from seismic stratigraphy to downhole logging.
  • Understand the basics of reservoir modelling.
  • Evaluate and map reservoirs and calculate reserves, energy yield and storage/sequestration potential for different geological reservoirs.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials and, if subsequently possible, synchronous face-to-face lectures
  • synchronous office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative activities and exercises
  • guided, structured reading
  • practical work in the laboratory
  • fieldwork

Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete laboratory or field work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment: End-of-unit, timed, open-book examination, comprising a mix of data analysis and interpretation, calculation and essay-style question types based on lecture, practical and field trip material. (100%)

Formative assessment: (1) feedback on practical classes will be provided at the end of each class. (2) Poster session - working in small groups, students will choose a relevant scientific question, from a list prepared by staff, then research and prepare a scientific poster. The poster will be presented in a conference-style session with staff and peers asking questions. Assessment will be based on visual presentation and quality of research.

Reading and References

There are no specific texts for this unit.