Petroleum Geoscience and Subsurface Geology

© 2011-2014 by L. Bruce Railsback
Department of Geology, University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602-2501 USA

This is a website providing informational illustrations about various geoscience aspects of the study of petroleum and about applications of petroleum-well data to subsurface geology.  Most of the documents provided are suitable as slides for educational and public presentations.  All of them were generated by Professor Bruce Railsback, largely for his GEOL 4320/6320 Petroleum Geology course taught in the Department of Geology of the University of Georgia in 2011 and 2013.  They do not collectively make a textbook, but they fill some gaps that Railsback saw as he prepared materials for his course.
        Educators are welcome to use these documents in their lectures and presentations; a message to Railsback acknowledging such use would be appreciated.  Permission from Railsback is required for reproduction of any of these documents.

 

    Topic Format Format
     
The origin and fate of petroleum    
    From marine photosynthesis to petroleum   pdf   jpg
    The natural history of petroleum   pdf   jpg
     
The nature of petroleum    
    Natural carbon-bearing compounds   pdf   jpg
    Some hydrocarbon compounds common in petroleum   pdf   jpg
    Phyiscal properties of alkanes       jpg
    Characteristics of crude petroleum   pdf   jpg
    API gravity of some hydrocarbon compounds   pdf   jpg
    Methane and "natural gas"   pdf   jpg
    Heat of combustion of some hydrocarbon compounds   pdf   jpg
     
Chromatograms of petroleum    
    Chromatograms of petroleum I: the gas chromatograph   pdf   jpg
    Chromatograms of petroleum II: chromatograms of gas and oil   pdf   jpg
    Chromatograms of petroleum III: a whole-oil chromatogram   pdf   jpg
    Chromatograms of petroleum IV: details of a whole-oil chromatogram   pdf   jpg
    Chromatograms of petroleum V: oil through time   pdf   jpg
     
Petroleum accumulations    
    Categories of hydrocarbon accumulations and sources (a text-rich table)   pdf   jpg
    Conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons and reservoirs
       (a graphical alternative to the table above)
  pdf   jpg
    Conventional and unconventional petroleum accumulations I   pdf   jpg
    Conventional and unconventional petroleum accumulations II   pdf   jpg
    Five elements of a (conventional) petroleum accumulation   pdf   jpg
    The fewer-than-five elements of unconventional petroleum accumulations   pdf   jpg
    Conventional/discrete vs. unconventional/continuous
          hydrocarbon accumulations
  pdf   jpg
     
The lithologic and hydrologic (small-scale) environment of petroleum    
    Rocks relevant to petroleum I: hydrology and rheology   pdf   jpg
    Rocks relevant to petroleum II: reservoirs and seals   pdf   jpg
    Rocks relevant to petroleum III: origins of unconventional accumulations   pdf   jpg
    Categorization of pores in sedimentary rocks I   pdf   jpg
    Categorization of pores in sedimentary rocks II   pdf   jpg
    Sand mineralogy and plate tectonics   pdf   jpg
    Wetting surfaces and water saturation in petroleum reservoir rocks   pdf   jpg
    Vertical segregation of an oil reservoir   pdf   jpg
     
Seals, and pathways for migration - two ends of a continuum    
    Migration of petroleum   pdf   jpg
    Buoyancy, seals, and the upward migration of petroleum, Part I   pdf   jpg
    Buoyancy, seals, and the upward migration of petroleum, Part II   pdf   jpg
    Buoyancy, seals, and the upward migration of petroleum, Part III   pdf   jpg
    Faults as seals for traps or as pathways for migration   pdf   jpg
     
The subsurface environment of petroleum    
    Typical pressure and temperature conditions in sedimentary basins     jpg
    Paleogeothermometric indicators, organic diagenesis,
        and siliciclastic diagenesis
  pdf   jpg
    Heat flow, thermal conductivity, geothermal
        gradient, and subsurface temperatures
  pdf   jpg
    Heat flow, geothermal gradient, and
        the thermal conductivity of sedimentary rocks
  pdf   jpg
    Subsalt plays I: basic pros and cons   pdf   jpg
    Subsalt plays II: subsalt vs. presalt   pdf   jpg
     
Petroleum traps    
    Petroleum traps and their tectonic settings   pdf   jpg
    Some simple traps for petroleum     jpg
    Diagenetic traps   pdf   jpg
    Development of a turtle structure between salt diapirs   pdf   jpg
     
The Petroleum System concept    
    The Petroleum System concept   pdf   jpg
    A time-and-space approach to petroleum systems   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems I: Reefal trap I   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems II: Reefal trap II   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems III: Reefal trap III   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems IV: Reefal trap IV   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems V: Reefal trap V   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems VI: Reefal trap VI   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems VII: Source over reservoir I   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems VIII: Source over reservoir II   pdf   jpg
    Petroleum systems IX: a rotated pinchout   pdf   jpg
     
Drilling technology    
    Tubulars and other drilling technology   pdf   jpg
    Driving mechanisms for drilling in the early 2000s   pdf   jpg
    Drilling muds: a table   pdf   jpg
    Drilling muds I   pdf   jpg
    Drilling muds II   pdf   jpg
    Drilling muds III   pdf   jpg
    Drill-stem tests I: the tester   pdf   jpg
    Drill-stem tests II: results   pdf   jpg
    Cuttings from petroleum boreholes   pdf   jpg
     
Subsurface Geology I: Logs from boreholes    
    Logs from oil and gas boreholes   pdf   jpg
    Characteristics of wireline well logs used in the petroleum industry   pdf   jpg
            (a large-format chart)    
    Responses of neutron porosity and density porosity logs   pdf   jpg
    NMR logs I: responses of hydrogen-bearing molecules   pdf   jpg
    NMR logs II: Distributions of relaxation time T2   pdf   jpg
    Appearance of strata in image logs of boreholes I   pdf   jpg
    Appearance of strata in image logs of boreholes II   pdf   jpg
     
Subsurface Geology II: Using logs from boreholes    
    Basic thoughts about wireline logs I: Shale   pdf   jpg
    Basic thoughts about wireline logs II: Correlation   pdf   jpg
    Basic thoughts about wireline logs IIa: Correlation   pdf   jpg
    Basic thoughts about wireline logs III: Correlation and interpretation   pdf   jpg
    Picking tops   pdf   jpg
    Identification and interpretation of missing section, Part I   pdf   jpg
    Identification and interpretation of missing section, Part II   pdf   jpg
    Identification and interpretation of missing section, Part III   pdf   jpg
    Faults and inclined boreholes I: Normal faults   pdf   jpg
    Faults and inclined boreholes II: Reverse faults   pdf   jpg
     
Subsurface Geology III: Cross-sections    
    Structural and stratigraphic cross-sections   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section 0: datums, depths, and elevations   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section I: datum correction   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section II: hanging   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section III: marking tops   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section IV: inferring structure   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section V: a bigger picture   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section VI: correlations   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section VII: missing section   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section VIII: missing section again   pdf   jpg
    Making a structural cross section IX: a finished product   pdf   jpg
    Hanging stratigraphic cross sections   pdf   jpg
    Vertical exaggeration in cross sections   pdf   jpg
    Rheologically reasonable cross sections I   pdf   jpg
    Rheologically reasonable cross sections II   pdf   jpg
    Rheologically reasonable cross sections III   pdf   jpg
    Interpretation of single-well anomalies in cross-sections   pdf   jpg
     
Subsurface Geology IV: Contouring Data    
    Contouring I   pdf   jpg
    Contouring II   pdf   jpg
    Contouring III   pdf   jpg
    Contouring IVa: common problems   pdf   jpg
    Contouring IVb: solutions   pdf   jpg
     
Subsurface Geology V: Maps    
    Penetration maps   pdf   jpg
    Structure maps, Part I: making a structure map   pdf   jpg
    Structural maps, Part II: normal faults   pdf   jpg
    Structural maps, Part III: Intersections of faults and folds   pdf   jpg
    Isopach maps   pdf   jpg
    Predicting tops   pdf   jpg
     
Seismic data    
    Seismic data and earthquake seismology: a comparison   pdf   jpg
    The dimensions of seismic data   pdf   jpg
    Statics corrections for seismic data   pdf   jpg
    Shot gathers, common midpoint gathers, and stacks   pdf   jpg
    Why seismic resolution decreases with depth   pdf   jpg
    Flat spots and bright spots in seismic data   pdf   jpg
     
The petroleum industry    
    Calculation of recoverable oil   pdf   jpg
    The financial context of petroleum exploration and discovery   pdf   jpg
    Depth of giant petroleum discoveries through time   pdf   jpg
    Corporate geoscientists, relative to their academic counterparts   pdf   jpg
    A genealogy of the oil industry   pdf   jpg
     
     

The GEOL 4320/6320 main page
Email to Railsback (rlsbk@gly.uga.edu)
Railsback's main web page
UGA Geology Department web page