American Association of Petroleum Geologists

AAPG - an International Organization

Petroleum Systems: Modeling the Past, Planning the Future

Information Contacts:
Marie-Christine Cacas-Stentz
IFP Energies nouvelles
1 et 4 avenue de Bois-Preau
92852 Rueil-Malmaison Cedex
Phone: +33-1-47-52-71-46
Fax: +33-1-47-52-71-26 :

1-5 October, 2012
Nice, France

View Abstracts

The goal of the conference was to promote discussion and new ideas in R&D topics that would improve our understanding of hydrocarbon distribution and associated petroleum systems in complex sedimentary basins, and how it will improve exploration success. The common theme was to show how the modeling of basin and petroleum system evolution may affect exploration activities and risk evaluation.

Conference Description

The conference addressed current research lines and applications related to Petroleum System Modeling (PSM), with a focus on geologically and technically challenging modeling aspects of petroleum systems, such as tight rocks, unconventional resources, complex structural settings with geomechanical issues, Arctic latitudes, or deep and hot basins.

In particular, the conference aimed to share ideas and stimulate R&D in the following fields where progress is expected in the future:

  • knowledge and understanding of complex physical processes controlling sedimentary basin evolution and petroleum systems. Those include:
    • the geomechanical control of tectonics and deep burial on petroleum systems,
    • hydrocarbon migration and trapping mechanisms in low porosity rocks
    • extreme climatic conditions as in the circum-Arctic and their impact on petroleum systems
    • the diagenetic processes which have affected porosity and permeability of deeply buried reservoirs
    • new workflows and new calibration methods to characterize and quantify such complex physical processes
  • development of new numerical modeling techniques that will help to quantify and predict distributions of rock properties. Special attention will be given to stratigraphic modeling, diagenesis modeling, and geomechanical modeling
  • application of new workflows and decision methods that will improve exploration risk assessment using petroleum system modeling, especially when new complex physical processes need to be incorporated in the Petroleum System Modeling process. This goal is also related to uncertainty assessment in PSM and how this impacts decision-making.


The technical conference began on Tuesday, October 2, with 3 days of single session oral and poster presentations, and an optional field trip on Friday, October 5. The Conference was held in Nice, France, which combined ease of access, attractive culture and sight-seeing, and proximity to the outstanding basin-wide outcrops of the famous Grès d'Annot. An optional field trip to the Grès d'Annot outcrops was held on the 4th day of the conference. The Grès d'Annot outcrops, located 80km from Nice, offer a unique opportunity for observing the basin-scale sedimentological architecture of a sand-rich turbidite system.


The program was split into 6 sessions corresponding to the different themes listed below:

  1. Modeling structural evolution and associated mechanical effects: this theme includes modeling of basin deformation through time, numerical modeling of petroleum systems in complex structural settings and effects of tectonic stress on rock properties.
  2. Modeling the sedimentologic and petrophysical architecture of a sedimentary basin: this theme includes stratigraphic modeling, rock property assessment and characterization and modeling of diagenesis.
  3. Basin modeling in complex geological settings: high latitudes, high-pressure and high-temperature conditions, deep offshore and salt: this theme includes the impact of complex geological settings on modeling capabilities, and on numerical solver advances (necessary to increase robustness and stability of the modeling results).
  4. Making decisions in E&P using petroleum system modeling: this theme includes new workflows for basin modeling, which bring added value to decision making and reduce risk in exploration.
  5. Modeling unconventional petroleum systems: this theme includes generation, adsorption and retention of hydrocarbons in shale gas, tight gas, tight oil and biogenic gas accumulations.
  6. Looking into the future: What have we learned and how do we apply it?

Session 1 to 5 d include a keynote presentation, 3 oral communications, and poster presentations. Session 6 was limited to two major keynote presentations and consisted mainly of group discussion.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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