AG-334 Arctic Basins and Petroleum Provinces (10 ECTS)

AG-334/834 fieldwork. Photo: Snorre Olaussen/UNIS.

Spring semester (April–May), every second year. Next course: 2024.
10 ECTS overlap with AG-834
Letter grade (A through F)
Articles and compendium; Ca. 450 pages
Fieldwork; NOK 800 (4 nights x NOK 200 per night)
5/25 students (AG-334/834 in total)
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue


Snorre Olaussen
Snorre Olaussen
Professor Emeritus

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a master programme in geology or solid earth geophysics.

Academic content:

The exposed strata and basins in Svalbard will enable the students to aquire advanced knowledge on petroleum provinces in the Arctic. Excellent outcrops of Upper Palaeozoic and Mesozoic basin fill will be used to illustrate the main principles of source, reservoir and traps within a hydrocarbon play. After introduction to petroleum geology, students will be introduced to the geological evolution and regional geology of the main Mesozoic and Cenozoic petroleum provinces within the Arctic. An updated introduction to Arctic plate tectonics and evolution will also be provided.

Based on regional seismic reflection lines, well data and onshore field analogs the students will be able to construct the major T/R cycles (first- and second-order sequences) and their related depositional sequences. Case-studies from the major Arctic oil and gas producing fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf will be used in applied methodology exercises for calculation of hydrocarbon reserves. This will be combined with an introduction to the exploration history of the various basins, providing: the exploration process of oil and gas from a regional perspective; use of geophysical and geological data; knowledge, visions and ideas of source, reservoir and trap leading through an initial definition of a play, then to leads and finally to risked prospects in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.

Mesozoic and Cenozoic outcropping strata on Spitsbergen will be used to demonstrate successful hydrocarbon play-models to producing oil and gas fields. The link between onshore and offshore geology will be focused. This link will be used to demonstrate the exploration process from the use of data and G&G knowledge to generation of play concepts, leads and prospects.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completing the course, the students will have:
Comprehensive understanding of Arctic Basins and their development, using subsurface data from Barents Sea and exposed onshore strata from Svalbard. Insight into the exploration process and large scale regional overview of the Upper Palaeozoic to Neogene. Acquired a basic understanding of how to use modern research methods for development play concepts and resource estimation.

Upon completing the course, the students will have:
Skills in using geological observation and available data for interpretation of the basins. Training in the ability to combine theory with logging of outcrop and core data to evaluate resource potential. Ability to analyse and evaluate data to fit theories. Hands-on experience of the workflow on modern works stations in the industry, combining data from wire line logs, core data and onshore/offshore seismic.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will have:
Ability to search for needed knowledge to critical evaluate the scientific reliability of available collected data and show the importance of specific data sets. A capability of analysing old and new knowledge and applying the acquired knowledge for solving scientific problems.

Learning activities:

The course extends over 4.5 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AG-834.

The course will have a theoretical part with lectures and seminars, and a practical part with excursions and fieldwork. The practical part will emphasize geological fieldwork as logging of outcrop and core data. There will be field excursions to the classical Festningen profile; Isfjorden which cover Upper Carboniferous to base Paleocene. The logging section will include both reservoir and source. The fieldwork and excursions may be subject to changes, depending upon the weather conditions.

Total lecture hours: 28 hours.
Seminar hours: 32 hours.
Fieldwork: 7 days.

Compulsory learning activities:

Fieldwork and exercises.

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.


Method Time
Percentage of final grade
Written report 40%
Written exam 3 hours 60%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Only the final grade will be reported, based on an average of the grades from the examination parts.


Application deadline:

AG-334/834 fieldwork. Photo: Snorre Olaussen/UNIS.

AG-334/834 fieldwork. Photo: Snorre Olaussen/UNIS.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Student inquiries:
E-mail: /
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454


UNIS logo
Arctic Education and Research for Global Challenges

Newsletter signup

Mobile menu toggle