Petroleum System Modelling

The success of petroleum exploration involves the integration of chemical, geological and physical systems in a basin. Basin and petroleum system modeling allows geoscientists to examine the dynamics of sedimentary basins and their associated fluids to determine where hydrocarbon generation occurred at the location being modelled and its timing and phase.

GES undertake both 1-D and 3-D petroleum system modelling studies depending on the data availability and client requirements. We have experience of using all the different commonly available software packages. Both conventional and unconventional exploration projects have been supported for different clients.

The modelling can use the conventional published methods for the modelling, involving the calibration of any well temperature and maturity data (mainly vitrinite reflectance, although other data are also used such as spore colour, Tmax, etc.) using a thermal model designed to replicate the main thermally significant tectonic events such as rifting, etc.


The predictions for the timing of petroleum generation, phase and volumes of expelled petroleum are calculated using kinetic models. The model used by GES differs from those used by other suppliers in that whilst the GES model forces the reaction to conserve energy the models used elsewhere predict higher volumes than can be sustained by the modelled temperatures and pressures in the source rocks. Petroleum generation in the GES model, therefore, starts earlier as the temperatures are higher. The higher temperatures required for petroleum generation during subsidence occur as a result of the inclusion of the conversion of potential energy into thermal energy during subsidence as required by thermodynamics, something that is not included in the current models derived using the commercially available petroleum system modelling software (see A.D. Carr and N. Carr, AAPG Hedberg Petroleum Systems Modelling Conference, Santa Barbara 2016: in press). These modelling flaws in normal Basin Modelling either partly or fully account for the unexpected drilling of new dry holes or unexpected Gas in locations, contrary to the source kitchen-reservoir-seal systems otherwise predicted.