Muhammad Hassaan has in April 2018 joined the ARCEx WP1 team at the University of Oslo as a PhD student. In this text he introduces himself, his background and the project he is about to undertake.

My fundamental scientific interest is in trying to comprehend the complexities of the geological evolution of planet earth.  The general consensus is that the ‘easy’ resources have largely been found and future exploration must search for deeper resources in more complex geological environments. I am particularly interested in exploration for energy resources and how an understanding of geological processes and the geological environment can help us to locate these increasingly scarce resources.

In October 2015, I completed a Master of Science in Petroleum Geoscience majoring in “Basin and Petroleum System Dynamics / Modeling (BPSD / BPSM)” at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia (PETRONAS Postgraduate Scholarship). During the MSc, my research topic was “Subsidence analysis and thermal history of the south western offshore Malay Basin”. I developed a basin model for part of the basin utilizing subsidence and the paleo-heat flow calculations and analysis. Through my research, I was able to answer several prevalent questions, such as the link between paleo-heat flow and subsidence, and the effect of anomalous heat pulses on petroleum generation and migration. I analyzed the subsidence of seismic units and its relation to regional tectonic stresses and structural architecture and also proposed a new approach to modeling basement metamorphism by using basement characteristics coupled with vitrinite reflectance data. In September 2011, I completed my Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Applied Geology majoring in “Structural Geology and Applied Geophysics” with First Class Honours at the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Paksitan (UAJK Provincial Scholarship). My dissertation was titled “Preliminary geological modeling of the Muzaffarabad city to Peerchanasi (Batlian) area based on gravity data”. I believe my previous work experience (More than 5 years) as a Geologist (Basin Analyst) / Researcher (Basin Modeling) / Geologist (Basin Modeling Support) with various National and International Oil Companies will be of immediate value for the completion of the designed research project. During this time, I built and simulated Basin models (1D, 2D, 3D, 4D) based on the well, seismic and field data, for future exploration strategies.

UiO is one of the top ranking universities and a prestigious research place in the world. The Department of Geosciences at UiO has an international reputation with excellent links with the local industry and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. The opportunity at ARCEx-UiO will not only enlighten me about integrated basin analysis, numerical modeling, tectonics, structure geology, basin evolution and resource exploration through collaborating and sharing of ideas working in a world class research team, but also provide me with a chance to participate in meetings of industry professional societies and exchange ideas with the many experienced professional geoscientists who live in Oslo, Norway. The opportunity at ARCEx-UiO is an opportunity to be immersed in both world class academic and industry environments.

The research project, I would like to pursue under the umbrella of “Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration / ARCEx” is about basin analysis and numerical modeling of selected areas in the Barents Sea to achieve several objectives, such as (1) Contractional and inverted structures in the great Barents Sea area, and (2) Basin formation and syn-breakup structuring along the western Barents Sea margin for the future exploration and drilling strategies in this region. This is an exciting opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary research team from both national collaborators and industry. Since 1980, 130 wildcat and appraisal wells have been drilled in the Barents Sea region and to date, a total of 4 Bboe of oil and gas have been discovered across the province, of which 1.8 Bbbl are liquids. However, in recent past huge discoveries made by major operators in the waters of the Barents Sea led a renewed phase of exploration. The timely completion of the research project related to basin development and inversion will have significant impact on these exploration campaigns in search for the giant oil and gas discoveries in the Barents Sea, Offshore North Norway. Timing of source rock maturity and fluid migration in response to basin evolution mechanisms and trap formation is very critical to identify the possible location and prospect generation for the future hydrocarbon exploration in the frontier regions.