Physical and Organic Chemistry related to Oil and Gas (PhysOrgOilGas)

Course content

Organic chemistry is given an extremely underplayed role in the petroleum engineering departments of oil companies.  It is a bit of a puzzle as oil is a complex mixture of hundreds of millions organic molecules in all shapes and sizes and thus its properties is a reflection of its composition of organic molecules and their function.  The functionality of the molecules in reactions between rock surfaces, additives and internally in the oil is key to be able to understand the associated mechanisms, such an understanding is necessary, e.g., to propose methods for enhanced oil recovery or to understand challenging phenomena such as emulsification.  In this course the focus is on the traditional mechanistic aspects of select organic molecules to illustrate the interactions that are most relevant in an oil context.  The course will dive into the tools for describing organic reactions from a physical angle, these are primarily centered on transition state theory and on structure-property relationships.  Processes in oils are heavily impacted by the effects of the surrounding media so the course will also focus on providing a thorough understanding of solvent effects in organic reactions. 


Bacheloruddannelsen i kemi

Learning outcome

The course objective is to acquire an understanding of the physical aspects of organic reactions and physical-chemical processes that are relevant to the oil and gas sector.  This includes solvent effects on key properties such as reactivity, absorption and acidity in oils. 

The aim is for students to be able to apply physical and physical organic chemistry tools on central problems in organic chemistry in general and in oil and gas in particular. After completing the course the student should be able suggest the mechanisms for reactions that are central to the oil and gas sector and to suggest the effects a given molecule may have on for example EOR processes or more macromolecular based processes such as emulsification based on its structure.     



• Proficiency in physical organic chemistry concepts, such as applications of TS theory

• Insight into the detailed organic composition of oil

• Physical phenomena controlling oil and gas relevant processes



• Pin point important aspects of organic structure 

• Ability to assess structure property relationships   

• Layout the effects of solvents



• Being able to suggest mechanisms for organic reactions

• Provide rationales of the influence of solvents and solutes

• Apply physical tools on organic process and address their relevance in oil and gas production


Lectures and theory exercises will be conducted and as inquiry teaching and it will not make sense to attend without prior preparation. During the course of a lecture or theory section stop gates will have to be passed for quality assurance, maximum gain and quality dialogue.

It is expected that the students are familiar with the content of the courses KemiO, KemiU1, KemiU2, MatIntroKem, AnvMatKem, KemiBin, AnvSpek, FysKem1, FysKem2, Geokemi, IntroOilGas

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min (no preparation time)
Oral examination
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Flere interne bedømmere
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 21
  • Exercises
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 128,5
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • English
  • 206,0