Introduction to Basin Modelling

Instructor: Dr Peter Tingate

Who should attend
Exploration geologists and geophysicists who need to get a practical appreciation of the basic concepts and application of basin modelling.

Course Duration
Three days.


Thermal history modelling is the basis for predicting the timing and extent of petroleum generation in sedimentary basins. Initially, the course covers the theory associated with heat flow, followed by an overview of thermal variation associated with different subsurface structures and tectonic settings. Thermal models derived from borehole information (e.g. stratigraphy, bottom hole temperatures, lithology) and theoretical models are discussed. Different thermal maturation indicators are reviewed and their use in calibrating thermal models demonstrated. In the practical sessions students create and interpret models using BasinMod, a package widely used in the exploration industry.

Exploring in sequences with pore pressures greater than hydrostatic values (overpressure) can cause major safety and expenditure problems for the petroleum industry. The causes of overpressure in sedimentary basins are reviewed as well as methods for recognising overpressure during drilling. Simple 1D models are constructed to predict the distribution and magnitude of overpressure.



Day 1 Lectures
Heat flow, thermal conductivity, specific heats, transient and steady state heat flow. Measuring current thermal conditions downhole (heat flow measurements, BHT, corrections, DST, etc.). Estimating palaeotemperatures (vitrinite, fission track analysis, and other methods)

Day 1 Practical Exercise
Make BasinMod models, use palaeothermometers to constrain basin models.

Day 2 Lectures
Vitrinite suppression, petroleum systems, case study, variable heat flow in extensional basins. Extensional models, effect of strain partition on thermal history.

Day 2 Practical Exercise
BasinMod case studies

Day 3 Lectures
Radiogenic isotope applications to basin modelling, Rb/Sr dating of glauconite, K- Ar dating of illite, Sm/Nd dating of sediments, integrating fluid inclusion and thermal modelling. Cooper Basin case study. Overpressure definition, review of mechanism, case study from Barrow Sub-basin.

Day 3 Practical Exercise
Predict timing of oil and gas generation in a traverse across the Barrow Sub-basin. Examine the sensitivity of pore pressure to lithology and sedimentation rate on pore pressure.

Day 3 Question and Answer
Twenty minute quiz covering basic aspects of the course.