Sedimentary basins and hydrocarbon reservoirs under exploration by the oil and gas industry are increasingly complex in nature. It is vitally important to have a thorough understanding of them in order to achieve high exploration success rates and minimize risks. The use of basin modeling software makes it possible to reconstruct the geological history of temperature, pressure and the nature of fluids via numerical calculations (spatial scales of 100 km x 100 km, time scales of several millions of years). The aim is to model the evolution of geological phenomena occurring over geological periods of time and the evolution of regional flows with associated fluids (hydrocarbons, CO2, H2S, water). The technologies developed by IFPEN address these needs and are validated on real cases via partnerships with industry. Our geoscientific expertise ranges from the understanding of the phenomena involved at the nano and microscopic scale to modeling on a basin scale.

The main challenges facing oil and gas industry players when it comes to basin modeling are:

  • risk reduction (excess pressures, nature of the fluids, sour gases, etc.),
  • more quantitative predictions (multi-physical approaches, integration, etc.),
  • treatment (identification and quantification) of uncertainties,
  • the possibility of having tools that can be easily used by non-experts.
  • This requires increasingly integrated solutions and, in particular, the production of models incorporating as much physics and experimental data as possible.

The exploration-production sector today is undergoing a profound transformation with the contribution of digital technology, both in terms of working tools and methods. Using POC (proof of concepts), IFPEN intends to support industrial players through this transformation. The aim is to be able to build offers that can be integrated into this new environment, focused on data in our partners’ possession.

Around 50%: the share of gas in hydrocarbon volumes discovered since 2016.
45%: the share of gas in the portfolio of oil majors. A percentage that is set to continue to increase up to 2030.

Designing geochemical characterization equipment, software solutions and advanced service offers for basin characterization and modeling aimed at reconstructing the geological history of a sedimentary basin with the evolution of temperature, pressure and nature of fluids via numerical calculations with a view to making it easier to predict, locate and estimate hydrocarbon accumulations and reduce exploration risks.
Physical and numerical modeling in the field of geosciences are integral to a scientific approach aimed at representing and explaining reality, and establishing forecasts. Generally speaking, this modeling of geological processes with associated characterization technologies make it possible to construct a qualitative and quantitative knowledge of the underground environment.


Vincent Richard

  • Program manager: “Basin modeling” and “Energy transition support”