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School of Environment, Education and Development

BSc Geography and Geology with a year abroad / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Energy Resources

Unit code EART30201
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The module examines the genesis and distribution and extraction of fossil fuels, and the develiopment of nuclear and renewable energy resources. This applied geology course provides an introduction to methods used for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons. After an overall introduction to the main concepts related to energy resources, a number of more specific topics are covered related to oil/gas exploration. The exploitation of coal and uranium resources are also reviewed.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Planet Earth: Its Climate, History and Processes EART10111 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
EART10131 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


An overview of world energy resources. The course begins by reviewing hydrocarbons in a global context., to understand the philosophy and structure of the oil industry and energy trends To be able to evaluate petroleum systems and sedimentary basins, major petroleum provinces To understand how to use lithological and geophysical data, subsurface correlation and interpretation To be familiar with petroleum types, source rocks, reservoirs, trapping methods and seals. To be aware of subsurface analysis, play/prospect generation and reserves calculations. Undetrtake a review of coal as a major energy resource An introduction to coal petrology and the main macerels and their mode of formation, coal-forming environment. Methods of coal exploration and production and geological hazards in coal mines. Understand the use of uranium in the civil nuclear power course unit Be aware of the nature and origin of uranium, its geochemistry To provide an introduction to mining / processing. A review of solar and other renewable energy and its role in the energy mix. Practical classes include subsurface mapping exercises, analysis of typical oilfield data, including reserve calculations. The description and interpretation of coals. Practicals include integrated subsurface mapping exercise involving wireline log interpretation, subsurface contouring and reserves calculations.

Learning outcomes

  • By the end of this course successful students will understand the:
  • Economic, geographical and political factors governing fossil fuel exploration and exploitation.
  • The context of global oil production and drivers that control availabilty and price of oil and gas
  • Be aware of methods of exploration, evaluation and exploitation of fossil fuels, nuclear energy and other renewable resources.
  • Physical and chemical properties of petroleum hydrocarbons; genesis, maturation and accumulation of hydrocarbon deposits including natural gas, oil, oil sands and oil shales.Physical and chemical properties of coal; coal petrology and classification; environments of coal deposition and coalification.
  • Be aware of methods of exploration, evaluation and exploitation of uranium and its usage in the nuclear energy industry.
  • Be aware of the environmental impact aspects arising from the mining and use of uranium as an energy source.
  • Understand the importance of renewable enenergy and the controls on its economic viabilty


Lectures: 1-2pm 1.45


2 World Oil (JR)

3 Fundamentals of Petroleum Geology (JR)

4 Oil and Gas Source Rocks, Petroleum Geochemistry (JR)

5 Renewable Energy Resources (HC )

6 Nuclear Energy Resources (KM)

7 Geophysical Log Analysis (JR)

8 Coal Resources (Dr Paul Guion)

9 Subsurface Fluids and Pressures (JR)

10 Hydrocarbon Traps and Seals (JR)

11 Petroleum Systems (JR)

Practicals: 2-4pm Williamson 1.45


2 Exploration exercise (JR)

3 Student Presentations (JR)

4 Assessing source rock quality (JR)

5 Renewable Energy Resources (HC )

6 Renewable Energy Resources (KM )

7 Lithology and Facies determination from geophysical logs (JR)

8 Coal Lectures / Practical (Dr Paul Guion)

9 Subsurface temperature and pressure exercises (JR)

10 Hydrocarbon seals and subsurface mapping exercises (JR)

10 Oil reserve calculation exercise (JR)

Assessment methods

Assessment is via assessment of 2 of the practicals and the group presentations (50%) and a 1hour 30 minutes final exam (50%).

Feedback will be given in written form from the marked practicals, and by group marking of the other non assessed practicals. The presentation is also marked and written feedback provided.

Two Practical classes will be marked, from practicals on anallysis of typical oilfield data, wireline logs, subsurface fault mapping exercises, analysis of geochemical data, and finally reserve calculations.

A coal practical is also held to familiarise the students with the different types of coal and associated sediments.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be given in written form from the marked practicals, and by group marking of the other non assessed practicals. The presentation is also marked and written feedback provided.

Recommended reading

Selley R L, Elements of Petroleum Geology, Freeman, 1985.

Gluyaas J and Swarbrick R Petroleum Geoscience, Blackwells, 2003

North F K, Petroleum Geology, Allen and Unwin, 1985.

Scott A C, Coal and Coal-bearing Strata: Recent Advances, Geological Society, Special Publication 32, 1987. Thomas L, Handbook of Practical Coal Geology, Wiley, 1992.

Uranium: Mineralogy, Geochemistry and the Environment (P. C. Burns and R. Finch, eds) Reviews in Mineralogy, Vol 38, Min Soc Amer (1999) Economic Geology

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Practical classes & workshops 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonathan Redfern Unit coordinator

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