Petroleum Engineering [BEng] Year 3

During your third year you will deepen your understanding of Petroleum Engineering. You will learn the principles of hydrocarbon production and field development strategies, including petroleum economics. The methods by which downhole geophysical measurements and drilling data can be used to calculate in-place volumes and assess hydrocarbon recovery efficiency will be advanced. 

Training in drilling, production and surface facilities engineering will allow you to investigate how hydrocarbon production is optimised and brought to the surface. A key component of your study in Year 3 is a group-based Design Project in which you will simulate flow within a reservoir, develop a field development plan and design well placement. 

During this final year of the BEng, we aim to teach students to cope with a demanding work schedule and to be aware of the level of expectation and planning required for success in final year assessments. Teaching styles will become more diverse and will allow you to ensure that you understand how to develop scientific arguments and communicate scientific ideas using written and oral methods.

During your third year you will be advised of forthcoming career opportunities and have time to meet and discuss graduate recruitment with representatives of major energy companies and technical service providers.

Field course to: Dorset

Year 3 Aims

In Year 3 we will build upon your knowledge from Years 1 and 2. We will discuss the origin and economics of energy resources on the Earth, with particularly emphasis on hydrocarbon systems. We will review the controls on low temperature mineral fluid reactions near to the Earth's surface. We will discuss the interaction of sediment supply, relative sea-level change, tectonics and compaction on large-scale stratigraphic geometries produced as basins fill. We will also introduce you to reservoir modelling and well-testing techniques.

We will show you how sub-surface reservoir geometries can be modelled using programs such as Petrel, and how fluid flow through these systems can be modelled using programs such as Eclipse. We will discuss with you how to determine the petrophysical properties (particularly porosity, permeability and composition) of different sediment types using seismic and wireline log methods. We will review how reservoirs respond to fluid flow during development and discuss how these processes might be managed to maximize recovery. We will comment on the main methods used to measure the properties of the well-bore environment and teach you how to integrate different types of data to test scientific arguments, and critically analyse models in the light of existing data.

Year 3 Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of Year 3 you will:

  • be familiar with the main elements of a petroleum system and be able to interpret typical oilfield data;
  • be aware of the economics of exploration / development of oil and gas fields;
  • understand the geological controls on reservoir properties, particularly porosity and permeability;
  • appreciate the importance of mineralogy and rock fabric to formation evaluation and rock physics;
  • have a detailed understanding of the impact of geological heterogeneities within hydrocarbon reservoirs and their impact on reservoir performance;
  • understand the effects of faulting and folding on the petroleum system and reservoir connectivity;
  • appreciate the impact of variability in rock strength on drilling and production methods;
  • be able to construct a three dimensional geocellular model of a hydrocarbon reservoir using multiple data types, and understand how to upscale that model for flow simulation using industry standard software (Petrel and Eclipse);
  • appreciate the fundamental controls on fluid transport in sub-surface environments and how this can be described, monitored and simulated;
  • understand the fundamental concepts of production, drilling and surface facilities engineering and design;
  • understand how to effectively integrate different types of data to test scientific arguments, critically analyse these data in the light of existing reservoir engineering models, and produce a competent dissertation.


You must do all of the mandatory course units:

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