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Departments & Programs



A team of geoscientists has developed a science plan to train students in quantitative modeling of sedimentary basins and petroleum systems through an industrial affiliates program at Stanford University. Starting in 2008, the plan was developed with the cooperation and support of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, including the Department of Geological & Environmental Science and the the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University. Subsequently, a scientist from the Department of Geophysics has joined our program. PetroMod modeling software is donated by our affiliate Schlumberger and technical support is provided by their Aachen Technology Center (AaTC).

The Stanford BPSM program is the only formal university curriculum in the world providing expertise to graduate students in visualization and quantification of the geohistory of sedimentary basins and petroleum systems—our goal is to become a recognized center of excellence for training and research. The primary objectives are to: (1) train the next generation of basin and petroleum system modelers, (2) devise quantitative tools that, in combination with assessment methodology, can be used to rigorously evaluate geologic risk in various exploration settings, and (3) conduct basic and applied energy-focused research.

General research topics include:
    •    Improve links between input structural grids (i.e., seismic, wellbore data) and software to facilitate rapid and effective 4-D modeling.
    •    Develop quantitative, reproducible techniques for seamless transfer of subsurface geologic information to modeling software.
    •    Develop statistical versus deterministic representations of subsurface geology and properties (risk analysis!).
    •    Develop techniques to determine and represent uncertainties in geologic surfaces, volumes, and properties, including consistent incorporation of competing, mutually exclusive interpretations.
    •    Develop more sophisticated models that include episodes of deformation, faults, mineral phase transitions (e.g. opal A-opal CT-quartz), biodegradation, secondary cracking, and prediction of phases and migration fractionation (e.g., PVT studies).
    •    Identify calibration case studies for 4-D modeling assessment of petroleum volumes and detailed hydrocarbon compositions of reservoirs.
    •    Develop sequence stratigraphic frameworks linked to basic elements of the petroleum system that will facilitate evaluation of the potential for reserve growth and undiscovered oil and gas in major worldwide basins.