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Super Basins 3: Petroleum Systems

....understanding Petroleum Systems is how we'll find the next Super Basins!
Andrew Pepper
» Director & Founder
» This !s Petroleum Systems LLC

Full Agenda

Friday, November 12, 2021

Two or three of our recent Friday webinars* have asked the question “W(h)ither Exploration?” and we would now like to pursue the concept of Super Basins more vigorously – not so much where is the next one but what do we have to do to find them?
With this in mind, here’s our route map for the Autumn:

#1: Advantaged Exploration (8thOctober 2021)
#2: Giant Fields of the World (22nd October 2021)
#3: Petroleum Systems (12th November 2021)
#4: Guyana & Suriname as a Case Study (26th November 2021)

with a single presentation for each one, so 30mins plus 15+ for Q&A.

Today we’ll hear from Andrew Pepper of This is Petroleum Systems, LLC on "Petroleum Systems".

*And here are the links if you want to catch up:


13:00 Karl Jeffery - editor
Finding Petroleum

Welcome & Introduction

Talk Description
Whether seeking to exploit prolific source rocks for unconventional resources or assessing new 'candidate' Super Basins, a deep understanding of petroleum systems is vital.

This has been a much neglected aspect of most explorers' armouries, for example in comparison with the use of (3D) seismic to predict reservoir or seal, and directly detect hydrocarbons. Unhelpful generalisations such as 'world class source rock' are far too common!
Karl Jeffery is editor and co-founder of Digital Energy Journal, and conference producer of Finding Petroleum. He is also publisher of Carbon Capture Journal and Tanker Operator, and co-founder of Digital Ship, a publishing and events company covering digital technology for the deep sea maritime industry. He has a BEng in chemical engineering from Nottingham University

Finding Petroleum
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13:10 Andrew Pepper - Director & Founder
This !s Petroleum Systems LLC

Ultimate expellable potentials of source rocks from selected super basins: What does “world class” look like?

Talk Description
An important step in the evaluation of a play or prospect is to consider the potential supply of petroleum charge, which is ultimately
constrained by masses and volumes supplied by the source bed. The two factors limiting the mass of petroleum expelled from the organic matter in the source bed are (1) its initial expulsion potential and (2) the cumulative fraction of potential that has been expelled up to its maximum state of maturation. To evaluate the initial expulsion potential, we introduce a workflow to estimate the ultimate expellable potential(UEP), divided into an oil potential (UEO) and a gas potential (UEG), which represent the cumulative masses of oil and gas that can be expelled upon complete maturation of the source rock. For use in resource estimation, these masses can be converted to
surface volumes of oil and gas per unit area (million stock tank barrels per square kilometer and billion standard cubic feet per
square kilometer or million barrels of oil equivalent per square kilometer, respectively).

The UEP (UEO, UEG) can be mapped across the depositional extent of the source bed, just as a reservoir depositional system is mapped. These potentials per unit area constitute the first level of quantitative resource estimation in the evaluation of a play or prospect.

We show examples of UEP (UEO, UEG) mapping based on available public data. Three of the example source rocks are aquatic organofacies that have charged major conventional petroleum
systems: the Callovian to Oxfordian marine organofacies of the Arabian Basin, Saudi Arabia; the Volgian marine organofacies
Bazhenov Formation of the West Siberian Basin,
Russia; and the Eocene–Oligocene lacustrine freshwater organofacies Shahejie Formation of the Bohai Basin, China. We also include an unconventional system: the uppermost Devonian–lowermost Mississippian marine organofacies Bakken Formation of North Dakota, United States. The UEPs of the studied source rocks in
the Arabian Basin and West Siberian Basin, with tens of millions of barrels of oil equivalent per kilometer over large areas, define world class in marine source rocks since these basins are ranked number one and number two in the world by oil endowment.

Until more data are available on other lacustrine basins, we offer the UEP of the studied Bohai Basin source rock as an example. In contrast, the UEP of the Bakken Formation source rocks (combined Upper and Lower Members) is relatively modest despite its world class unconventional oil endowment. The Bakken’s effectiveness, despite its relatively low UEP, reflects the negligible migration saturation losses involved in charging the Middle reservoir Member.

This illustrates that the commonly touted term
world class can be rather meaningless.

It needs to be considered in context given the task in hand: the greater the (vertical) migration losses incurred in charging reservoirs, the higher the UEP needed to create the charge needed to overcome them.
Andrew Pepper has 39 years of experience in
petroleum geology and petroleum systems
analysis (geochemistry and basin modeling).

He is currently director of This !s Petroleum
Systems LLC, based in Fredericksburg, Texas.
He is a geologist, formerly holding positions as petroleum systems network leader at BP, chief geologist and director of new ventures at Hess Corporation, and vice president of geoscience and vice president of unconventional
exploration at BHP Petroleum.

Andrew’s interests are in regional geology, petroleum systems analysis, and unconventional
reservoirs. He has a bachelor’s degree, first
class, in geological sciences from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, where he is currently a visiting academic.

This !s Petroleum Systems LLC

13:40 David Bamford - Director
Finding Petroleum

Review and Q&A followed by Close no later than 14:15

David Bamford is well known around the oil & gas industry both as an explorer and a geophysicist. He holds a Physics degree from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Birmingham.

Since 2004, he has been a non-executive director at Tullow Oil plc, being recruited for this position especially for his exploration knowledge. He serves on the Nominations and Remuneration Committees, and was chairman of the latter, and Senior Independent Director, for 3 years prior to his retire from the board at the end of April 2014.

He was on the board of Premier Oil from May 2014 to May 2016.

He retired from BP plc in 2003, his last four positions being Chief Geophysicist (1990-1995), Business Unit Leader (General Manager) for first West Africa and then Norway (1995-1999), and finally Head of Exploration until 2003.

He has served on the boards of Paras Ltd, a small exploration and IS/IT consulting company in which he held 22% equity, until its sale to RPS Energy in 2008 and Welltec a/s, a Danish well engineering company, as the nominee of the private equity investor Riverside.

From 2012 to 201 he was on the board of ASX-quoted Australia Oriental Energy as a non-executive director.

He was a founder of Richmond Energy Partners, a small oil & gas research house, and several media companies that focus on the oil & gas sector, and has served as an advisor to Alliance Bernstein, Opus Executive, the Parkmead Group plc, and Kimmeridge Energy LLP. Since retiring from BP, he has undertaken asset and company valuation projects for investment banks, hedge funds and small oil companies.

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“Pressure regimes in Deep Water areas: Cost and exploration significance”
by Richard Swarbrick from Ikon Science

"Interesting technical presentations, chance to network."

Bryan Moseley (Geologist)


We are planning a further webinars program for 2024 -
If you may have an interesting story to share, please contact
Karl Jeffery on