ENG490 - Introduction to Petroleum Engineering

The Portfolio for this unit consists of two elements and carrys 50% of the total unit mark

Element 1: HSE Case study executive summary 20% of the total unit mark

Element 2: “Non-conventional resources” 20% for the essay and 10% for the poster of the total unit mark which consists of 500 word essay and a poster on your topic as listed in table 2.

  • Element 1
    • Executive summary of your case study
  • Element 2
    • Individual essays
    • A3 coloured paper copy of the Poster

Work that is wholly plagiarized will receive a mark of zero.

The course work is worth 50% of the final unit mark; All work should conform to the submission guidelines in the Student Handbook. In particular, your essay should be word-processed and printed on A4 paper, using a 12-point font and 1.5 spacing. You should include a title page with your student number, the name of your instructor  and of course name as well as the title of your Critical Review of Sources (CROS.

Marking and feedback for the portfolio

The unit team aim to achieve reliable, consistent and reproducible judgements on your work. In accordance with University regulations, each assessment is marked against a scheme that distinguishes between different levels of achievement.

You can expect the following feedback on assessments undertaken for this unit.

If you use any indented quotations, these should be single-spaced.

  • A mark. Marks are normally expressed as a percentage.
  • The major shortcomings of your work.
  • Ways in which that mark can be improved.

You will also receive feedback during classes and through the Moodle site, and additional opportunities to receive feedback are available from the unit team.

Your assessments are evaluated relative to the criteria outlined below. These provide a consistent reference point to distinguish between different levels of achievement. You should always take these criteria into consideration when preparing for any assessment on this unit.

Element 1 HSE Case study

Conduct research to find a case study demonstrating a disaster in the oil and gas sector such as Piper Alpha, BP Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico.  Analyse the case study for what happened, what lessons can be learned from them and produce a 2-4 page executive summary covering some or all of the following topics

“Risk assessments of oil industry, HSEQ common principles, Health, Safety, Environmental, Security Risk Management Critical safety behaviours, HSEQ observation and intervention, Incident reporting and investigation, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)”

Element 2 “Non-conventional resources”

The overall theme of this year’s coursework will be non-conventional resources, related to the Oil and Gas sector such as, Shale Gas,, Shale Oil, Cole Bed Methane, Tight Gas, Heavy Oil, Tar Sands and etc.  You will explore these issues by researching suitable sources (written, audio, and video), but more importantly by means of comparing them to conventional resources and highlighting the limitation in the life cycle from exploration to production, storage and economics as a commodity. You will write up your findings in short paragraphs essay as well as a poster. You can create these posters using PowerPoint or Microsoft Publisher; we encourage you to make them as colourful and attractive as possible by including tables, diagrams, and pictures.

The writing assessment will be called the Critical Review of Sources (CROS). This is a kind of essay in which you discuss and summarize the reading (plus listening and video sources) you have done in preparation for an assignment. You may be familiar with the term ‘literature review’, which has a very similar meaning.

Your CROS will have the same title as your poster on a non-conventional topic. However, the CROS and poster are individual assignment for your topic see table 2 page 4.

Imagine someone has seen your poster, is interested by the topic, and wants to know more about it. Your CROS will tell them which books and articles they should read, plus what they should listen to or view online – and why. You can also be critical by telling them what they should not read (listen to or view) – and why.

You must refer to at least 10 different sources, of which at least 8 should be academic no older than 2012. If you are not sure if a source is academic, try to find it from the University library page. You can make use of readings you have discussed in your classes. All sources should be in English, and referenced according to the APA 6th Edition system. You must include a final reference list (bibliography). You should aim to write (1.5-2 Pages), excluding the reference list, tables and figures. Divide your work into paragraphs and pay particular attention to accuracy in grammar and vocabulary; if you are not sure of something, check it in a grammar book or dictionary.

Table 2 topics for Essay and poster


Project 1 – Coalbed Methane Reservoir Engineering Fundamentals I

1. Dual Porosity Structure of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

2. Coalbed Methane Storage Mechanisms

3. Langmuir Isotherms in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs (do not discuss binary Langmuir isotherms)

4. Transport Mechanisms in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

5. Matrix Shrinkage/Compaction, Coal Permeability and Coal Relative Permeability


Project 2 – Coalbed Methane Reservoir Engineering Fundamentals II

1. Binary Langmuir Isotherms in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

2. Volumetric Gas in Place Calculations in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

3. Gas Content in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

4. Inflow Performance Relationship in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

5. Decline Curve Analysis in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs


Project 3 - Shale Gas Hydraulic Fracturing

1. Effect of Hydraulic Fracture Spacing in Shale Gas Production

2. Effect of Horizontal Well Length in Shale Gas Production

3. Effect of Number of Fractures in Shale Gas Production

4. Effect of Proppant Number and Type on Shale Gas Production

5. Effect of Brittle and Ductile Shales on Hydraulic Fracturing


Project 4 - Shale Gas Evaluation

1. Measurement of Total Organic Carbon using Filter Acidification Method

2. Measurement of Total Organic Carbon using Nonfilter Acidification Method

3. Measurement of Total Organic Carbon using Bulk Density Log Method

4. Measurement of Total Organic Carbon using Gamma Ray Log

5. Measurement of Total Organic Carbon using Rock Eval Method


Project 5 – Shale Gas Fundamentals

1. Differences between Shale Gas and Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

2. Differences between Shale Gas and Conventional Sandstone Reservoirs

3. Thermal Maturity in Shale Gas and Oil Gas Reservoirs

4. Gas in Place in Shale Gas Reservoirs

5. Slick Water Fracturing in Shale Gas Reservoirs


Project 6 - Shale Gas Asset Life Cycle

1. Exploratory Phase Stage of the Asset Life Cycle

2. Appraisal Phase Stage of the Asset Life Cycle

3. Development Phase Stage of the Asset Life Cycle

4. Production Phase Stage of the Asset Life Cycle

5. Rejuvenation Phase Stage of the Asset Life Cycle

Project 7 - Oil Shale Fundamentals


1. Energy Potential of Oil Shale around the World

2. Shale Oil and Oil Shale

3. Surface Retorting and In-Situ Retorting of Oil Shale

4. Social and Economic Impact of Oil Shale Development

5. Determining the Grade of Oil Shale


Project 8 - Tight Gas Sandstones Reservoirs

1. Energy Potential of Tight Gas Sandstones around the World

2. Tight Gas Reservoir Characterisation (Geology, and Rock Properties)

3. Petro physical Characterisation of Tight Gas Reservoirs

4. Drilling and Completion and Development Strategy in Tight Gas Sandstones compared to Conventional Sandstones

5. Comparison of Tight Gas Sandstones to Shale Gas Reservoirs


Project 9 – Gas Hydrates

1. Energy Potential of Gas Hydrates

2. Nature and Formation of Gas Hydrates

3. Applications of Gas Hydrates

4. Gas Hydrates Exploitation Method

5. Gas Hydrates Problems in Drilling and Production Engineering


Project 10 – Heavy Oil/Oil Sands

1. Energy Potential of Oil Sands

2. Heavy Oil and Oil Sands

3. Alkali Surfactant Polymer Flooding of Heavy Oil Reservoirs

4. Cyclic Steam Flooding and Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage

5. Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand


Project 11 – Shale Oil Production Analysis

1. Linear, Bilinear and Boundary Dominated Flow Regimes

2. Material Balance Time Plot and its use in Shale Reservoirs

3. Square Root Time Plot and its use in Shale Reservoirs

4. Flowing Material Balance and its use in Shale Reservoirs

5. Arp’s decline curve analysis in Shale Reservoirs


Project 12 – Barnett Shale

1. Geological description of the Barnett Shale

2. Reservoir Description of the Barnett Shale

3. Production Development of the Barnett Shale

4. Production Performance of the Barnett Shale

5. Fiscal Regime and Economics of the Barnett Shale


Project 13 – Hydraulic Fracturing Developments


1. History of Hydraulic Fracturing in the US and UK


2. Social Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing in the UK


3. Social Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing in the US

4. Regulations regarding Hydraulic Fracturing in the UK and US

5. New Technologies in Hydraulic Fracturing Developments


Project 14 – Bowland Shale, Weald Basin and Midland Valley Shales

1. Unconventional Shale wells and fields in the UK

2. Reservoir and Geological Properties of Bowland Shale

3. Reservoir and Geological Properties of Weald Basin Shales

4. Reservoir and Geological Properties of Midland Valley Shales

Some tips on structure and content of element 2 unconventional essay 

  • Your work should begin with an introduction, in which you explain your topic, why it is interesting or important, and how your CROS is structured. You can also refer to your research findings.
  • Try to cover several different sources in the same paragraph. In each paragraph, all the sources mentioned should have something in common, for example they all offer an easy introduction to the topic, they are all based on surveys or questionnaires and they are all recent newspaper or academic articles.
  • Try to begin with sources that cover the topic in very general way, before continuing with sources that deal with specific aspects.
  • Try to link sources together by comparing or contrasting. You will get extra marks if you do this well.

You can comment on how reliable a source is from an academic point of view. Is it, for example, out of date, or written by someone with strong views that might affect their judgement?

Tips for Writing an Executive Summary

An Executive Summary summarizes the key points of a lengthy research report or publication. Although research reports are often highly technical in nature, the goal of an Executive Summary is to communicate in a simple manner so that the information can be understood by all readers, regardless of their knowledge or expertise. The Executive Summary is used by managers to understand the broader policy context of research and make decisions about changes to policies, programs, or investment decisions.

Typically, an Executive Summary is 3-4 pages in length. A longer summary is often used when it contains charts or other illustrations. The Executive Summary should be organized according to the following categories – Project Summary, Background, Process, Finding and Conclusions and Recommendations for Action. Following is a description of the type of information to consider for each of these categories. It is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of the type of information that is Appropriate to convey—these are examples to help you think about key items that should be communicated.


  • What is the research project and why was it conducted?
  • Provide a brief (2-3 sentence) description of the project.
  • What is the problem or issue?
  • What is the purpose of the research?


  • What is the history of the research?
  • Did a specific event or issue provide the impetus for the research?
  • Is this a second or third phase to earlier research conducted by us or someone else?
  • Is this a “first-of-its-kind” research project?

Who was involved?

  • Was this research done as part of a national research program?
  • Was this a partnership with other states? Which states?
  • Was this a pool-funded project?
  • Was it done in cooperation with a university? Which?
  • Was it done in cooperation with local units of government? Which?
  • Was it done in partnership with private organizations? Name them.


  • What process was used to conduct the research?
  • Provide a brief (2-3 sentence) description of the research process.
  • What was the length of the research – number of months or years?
  • Was the process designed to be compatible with other research?
  • What type of data was collected?
  • How was the data collected?
  • Did it involve surveys? Describe.
  • Did it involve sampling? Describe.
  • Did it involve test sections? Describe type and location.
  • Where was the data collected? Name the specific counties or highways.
  • Were any unusual collection techniques or equipment used?


  • What were the major findings or results?
  • Provide a brief (2-3 sentence) description of the most significant findings. Was a cost/benefit analysis conducted?
  • Is there a simple way to quantify the results?
  • Does the research provide a snapshot of before and after comparisons?
  • What are the practical benefits of this research for industry and regulation?
  • Does the research provide a way to reduce costs? Explain.
  • Does the research improve safety? Explain.
  • Does the research increase productivity? Explain.
  • Does the research improve operational efficiencies? Explain.
  • Does the research improve customer service? Explain.
  • Does the research reduce congestion or travel times? Explain.
  • Does the research provide a smoother ride? Explain.
  • Does the research provide better information to make policy-based decisions?
  • Is the new practice worth the investment? Explain how you measured the trade-offs?
  • Does the research indicate what NOT to do?
  • What are the policy implications?
  • Do the findings impact existing regulations?
  • Do the findings impact other states?
  • Do the findings impact local units of government?
  • Can the findings be used as a national model?
  • Do the findings indicate a new best practice?
  • Do the findings identify emerging new issues or trends?


  • What future steps are needed in both the short-term and long-term?
  • Explain how the findings will be transferred into actual policy or program changes.
  • What needs to be done before the research results can be implemented?
  • Is additional study needed?
  • Are additional resources needed?
  • Are there unresolved issues?
  • Do manuals or guidelines need to be changed?
  • Are legislative changes needed?
  • Are changes needed to existing specifications or procedures?
  • Does the research point to the need for new technology investments?
  • Who is responsible for implementation?
  • Does it require action by management?
  • Will implementation depend on new or existing partnerships? With whom?
  • Will it depend on legislative or Congressional action?
  • Will it depend on federal regulatory changes?
  • Who is the contact for more information?
  • How will the results of the research be communicated?
  • Should there be a workshop or training?
  • Will there be information in newsletters?


When writing the Executive Summary it is best to keep the writing and style simple and concise.

Following are a few reminders for good communications:

  • Use simple short words unless only the long words fit your needs.
  • Keep sentences short (15-20 words).
  • Avoid technical jargon and acronyms. If a technical word is absolutely necessary, define it

for the reader. For instance if the research involves rubblization – explain it.

  • Keep numbers simple. Round them off when possible ($8.4 million instead of $8,421,500).
  • Use charts to show comparisons or trends.
  • Weed out unnecessary words, clichés and overused buzzwords.
  • Substitute active verbs for “to be” verbs. For instance, “the program achieved its goals”

instead of “program goals were achieved.”

  • Write as you talk, use everyday language. Avoid stuffy, halting sentences.
  • Keep the tone friendly, informal, matter-of-fact.
  • Use examples that are familiar to the reader.
  • Always proofread and spell check the document.