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Basic Principles of Petroleum Exploration For Non-technical Staff

Instructors: Prof John Kaldi and/or Mr. Andy Mitchell

Who Should Attend

The course is designed for those associated with, or interested in the petroleum exploration and production side of the business, who want an understanding of geology and exploration, but who have little or no technical training in the field. Technical and non-technical personnel who have limited geological training, but would like to become more familiar with petroleum exploration concepts and procedures will benefit from the clear insights presented. This course is particularly suitable for administrative personnel, clerical officers, legal, accounting and IT staff who would benefit from a short but informative review of the geotechnical aspects of the petroleum industry.

Course Objectives

The course aims to provide a summary of important geological concepts and processes, and cover the main techniques used by geologists and geophysicists in the search for, and development of, oil and gas fields. The course also introduces the principle tools used in the understanding of the subsurface, including seismic methods and wireline logs. All materials are presented within the context of how geological understanding 'fits' into the bigger picture of the oil and gas business

Course Leaders

John Kaldi holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Geology from Queens College , City University of New York and Ph.D degree from Cambridge University in the UK . Since obtaining his Ph.D, he has spent over 20 years working in the oil and gas industry with Shell in Canada , with ARCO in the USA and Indonesia , and with VICO in Indonesia . Since 1998 he has held the position of Director, National Centre for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, in Adelaide , Australia . Dr. Kaldi specializes in Reservoir Geology and Seal Evaluation and is a frequent contributor to international publications. He has presented courses to petroleum companies, universities and professional societies around the world.

Andy Mitchell graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in geophysics from the University of Adelaide in 1974. He worked with Esso Australia Ltd in Sydney for eight years as a petroleum geophysicist, mainly in seismic interpretation, production geology and computer applications. He joined the National Centre for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics at the University of Adelaide upon its inception. Andy teaches courses in interpretation and processing of seismic data in the NCPGG Honours/Master of Science program, which he coordinates. He also lectures on basic petroleum geology in a course on reservoir engineering for chemical engineering students. He has presented courses on petroleum geology and geophysics for a number of Australian exploration companies.

Course Content


  • Purpose and Objectives
  • Units and quantities
  • Cubic feet, square metres and BOE's
  • Dealing with geological scales (How old is 'old'? How big is 'big'?)

Basic geology

  • Structure and plate tectonics
  • The dynamic Earth: moving continents through space and time
  • Rocks and minerals
  • The building blocks
  • Sedimentary basins
  • Site of oil and gas accumulations

Petroleum Systems

  • The Source:
  • Ingredients in organic soup
  • The Kitchen:
  • Cooking the soup to make oil and gas
  • Migration
  • The tortuous path from source to trap
  • The Trap
  • Folds and faults; seals and leaks
  • The Reservoir
  • Rocks: good, bad and sometimes ugly

Searching for the 'Prize'

  • The exploration team
  • Role of geologist, geophysicist, petrophysicist and engineer
  • Role of economic / commercial analysts
  • The tools to find it
  • Seismic and other geophysical techniques
  • Geological models
  • The tools to confirm what's there
  • Wireline logs, D.S.T.'s

Summary and Conclusions

  • What we have learned
  • The way forward
Australian School of Petroleum



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F: +61 8 8313 8030