Paul Mann

Teaching at the University of Houston

Fall semester basin analysis course: In the fall semester, I co-teach one graduate level course called: “Basin analysis for petroleum exploration" (GEO 6397). The lecture part of the course uses the Allen and Allen Basin Analysis textbook to review information on key basin environments.  The lab part of the course requires students to use Petrel software to make their own subsurface maps using 2D and 3D seismic data from rift, passive margin, foreland, strike-slip, and inverted block settings. The students also need to present their map results as a powerpoint presentation for the class at the end of the course.  

This course addresses most aspects of basin analysis, structure, petroleum geology, and tectonics taught from both the traditional textbook approach combined with the hands on workstation and mapmaking approach. This course is ideal for entering students with some background in geology, geophysics, and basin analysis but with no previous experience in subsurface geology.  Many of the methodologies can be applied directly to your own thesis data set.  Students will finish the course with confidence in interpretating and mapping structures in a variety of tectonic settings. 

Undergrads are welcome to take the course with permission of the instructor and the undergraduate advisor.  

Spring semester petroleum prospecting course and AAPG IBA competition.  A follow-on course to the fall basin analysis course co-taught by myself and Dr. John Castagna in the spring semester is called Petroleum Prospecting Workshop (GEOL 6384).  This course is linked to the Annual AAPG Imperial Barrel Competition held in the spring of each year.  Each year UH graduate students taking this course will be given data from AAPG with instructions on putting together a petroleum evaluation that is judged in regional and international competitions.  The IBA competition team of five will be selected from the class based on the eligibility requirements of the competition. The rest of the team not eligible or selected for the team will compose two or more other teams of five that will work on the same data.  This course is a very steep learning curve for those students with gaps in their backgrounds. For that reason, we recommend that all Petroleum Prospecting students take the Basin Analysis course in the fall semester. 

A student could enter UH in the fall with little knowledge of subsurface petroleum geology and exit the second semester with a high level of skill and confidence for mapmaking and oral presentations as needed for exploration jobs in the oil industry. 

Dr. John Castagna at UH:

Fall semester course on Petroleum Geology of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Circum-Atlantic Margins (GEOL 6383).  This course will provide an integrated tectonic, stratigraphic, paleogeographic, and structural framework for the entire region and will require students to read and present to the class the latest publications and research from their areas. Geology and geophysics students including those seeking undergraduate honors, MS and PhD  are welcome to participate.  The key is to have a specific research topic and research focus in this region as that will determine what you will develop over the course of the semester.   The idea of the course is to mature a research topic from the background information to something new and original and for that reason is helpful for students starting a thesis project. 

Fall and spring semester tectonics seminar course (GEOL 6396).  This informal seminar team-taught by several UH faculty consists of graduate and undergraduate student oral presentations on starting and mentoring undergraduate honors theses and graduate MS and PhD projects on structure, tectonic, and petroleum topics. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.