The Petroleum Systems and Geochemistry Program - University of Houston
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The Petroleum Systems and Geochemistry Program

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The Department of Geosciences at UH is pleased to announce the inauguration of its Petroleum Systems & Geochemistry Program (PS&GI) and the opening of its geochemistry laboratories. Initial outfitting of the laboratories was made possible by donations of instrumentation and equipment from Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Texaco and EX Technology and by matching funds from the office of grants and contracts at UH. The Program's program is directed by Dr. K. K. Bissada, a 30-year veteran of the oil industry, and staffed by three highly experienced geochemists supporting research projects of four Ph.D. and MS candidates and collaborative studies with industry geoscientists. The addition of this unit to the Department of Geosciences enhances the Department's capabilities to conduct applied research and provide professional support to the oil and gas industry worldwide. The program provides research opportunities to both full-time and part-time students and allows them to develop multidisciplinary skills needed for a successful career in the hydrocarbon exploration and production industry.


Establish a Viable Research & Training Program in Petroleum Geochemistry and Petroleum System Analysis to meet Industry Ongoing Needs for:

  • Industry Directed R & D
  • Specialized Technical Support
  • Multidiscipline-trained professionals


Collaborative, industry-driven R & D aimed at:

  1. Decreasing exploration risks
  2. Reducing development and production costs
  3. Assessing Environmental risks
  4. Advanced technical support for industry & academia
  5. Technical consultation & proprietary research
  6. Specialized State-of-the-art analytical support
  7. Technical training
  8. Professional internships, residencies, and "sabbaticals"


  1. Quantitative Hydrocarbon Generation & Migration Analysis
    • Petroleum System Characterization
    • Factors Controlling Natural Gas Generation and Migration
    • Coping with Information Uncertainties in Hydrocarbon Generation Analysis
    • Geochemical Inversion & Hydrocarbon Provenance Analysis
  2. Reservoir Characterization & Production Monitoring
    • Criteria for Fluid Compartmentalization Mapping
    • Zonal Allocation of Multi-pay
    • Commingled Production Streams
    • Monitoring of gas and/or water injection in secondary & tertiary recovery

Residency Programs

  • Opportunities for industry geoscientists to participate in the "Visiting Senior Scientist" Program to pursue joint research.
  • Intellectual environment for collaborative, cost-shared technology development in a neutral setting.
  • Effective Cross-disciplinary research capitalizing on the synergy between Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics and Reservoir Engineering at UH

Professional Support

  • Expert Consulting:
    Custom-design a work program to address your specific problem from data acquisition through recommendations:
    • Designing appropriate geochemical sampling and analytical programs
    • Providing assistance with data synthesis and interpretation
    • Carrying out comprehensive basin evaluation studies from data acquisition, basin modeling, through estimation of reserves within a risk-analysis framework
  • Specialized Analytical support:
    Full Suite of Geochemical Analyses for Characterizing Source Rocks, Crude Oils, and Natural Gas (including exclusive, powerful separation methods)
  • Geochemical training:
    Application Schools, Workshops and Technical Seminars at Your Premises on Demand.

Technical Training

  • Basin Analysis and Basin Evaluation: A comprehensive overview of the exploration process from geological fundamentals through risk analysis.
  • Principles and Practice of Petroleum Geochemistry in Exploration and Exploitation: How to assess exploration risks and maximize exploitation efficiency.
  • Quantitative Hydrocarbon Generation and Migration Analysis for Play Evaluation and Prospect Ranking: A hands-on workshop involving a simulation of an exploration license bid-round where participants learn how to evaluate an exploration opportunity on the basis of statistical probabilities of hydrocarbon charge, reservoir, trap and seal.
  • Application of Petroleum Geochemistry in Reservoir Management & Production Operations.


Our team:

  • K. K. (Adry) Bissada - Director
  • Angel Callejon - Petroleum Systems Modeling & Reservoir Geochemistry
  • L. Mike Darnell - GC, GC-MS; Organic Microscopy
  • Ewa Szymczyk - Source-rock & Crude Oil Analyses
  • Martin Cassidy - Stable Isotope Geochemistry

Our Students and Their Projects:

  • Angel Callejon (Ph.D.): Role of coals and carbonaceous shales in the petroleum systems of Eastern Venezuela.
  • Constantin Sandu (M.S.): Geologic & geochemical constraints on biogenic gas generation.
  • Jonathan Baker (M.S.): Organic facies variability of the Green River Fm. In the Greater Green River Basin.
  • Luis Miguel Bernardo (M.S.): Petroleum generation analysis in the Deltana Platform, Eastern Venezuela Basin

Our Analytical Capabilities:

  • Full suite of analytical instrumentation to address the wide range of basin evaluation or reservoir characterization problems
  • TOC / RockEval Pyrolysis
  • Organic Microscopy (Ro, TAI, TCI, Kerogen type)
  • Bitumen Extraction
  • High Resolution HPLC for SARA and PIN separations
  • High Resolution full range Gas Chromatography
  • Natural Gas GC analysis
  • Biomarkers GC/MS
  • Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry

For more information contact:

Dr. Adry Bissada
Department of Geosciences
University of Houston

4800 Calhoun Rd
Houston, TX 77204
Telephone number: (713)-893-0687