Petrophysics Summer School

Training Course - 21603The Petrophysics Summer School is a UK IODP initiative that was started in 2016 to provide an accessible and affordable training opportunity to aspiring petrophysicists.  It was hoped that it might help address an industry-acknowledged skills shortage in petrophysics, and also a similar shortage of expertise in downhole logging and core physical properties in the world of IODP! The summer school became CPD-accredited in 2017, giving participants 36 hours of CPD-accredited training during the week-long course.  To date 4 summer schools have run, training 110 participants from over 56 institutions/organisations across 14 countries.  Participants from all career stages have attended and >30 nationalities have been represented. On average there is an even split of male/female participants, though in 2018 it was >70% women.  Instructors come from across IODP, academia and industry.  Hosted at the University of Leicester by the European Petrophysics Consortium, it is hoped this initiative will continue for years to come. Watch this space!

“The course was phenomenal, I feel infinitely more prepared for my time on the JR…” 

“The instructors were fantastic!”      “….my expectations were exceeded”

“Definitely keep this program going! An amazing experience with much educational value.”

 “This was one of the best experiences in my entire academic life.”

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Petrophysics is the study of the physical (and chemical) properties of rocks and their interactions with fluids, and integrates downhole in situ data from logs with core and seismic data.  This has significant applications in the hydrocarbon industry in terms of both exploration for, and production of, oil and gas.  It is also an important component of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) in helping to answer the many and varied questions posed by scientific ocean research drilling expeditions around the world.  The Petrophysics Summer School brings together experts from both academia and industry to provide training in the theory and practice of petrophysics and, notably its applications across both IODP and industry.  There are few opportunities for training in petrophysics, especially for non-industry researchers, and with significant skills shortages in the hydrocarbon sector, the workshop hopes to attract a variety of participants including those who might not normally engage with the IODP community.  In addition, the summer school strengthens links between IODP and industry, increases the visibility of IODP, provides essential training to the next generation of petrophysicists and, importantly, enables future expedition participants to best utilise these data in their investigations of the subseafloor.

Scholarships & Funding

The Petrophysics Summer School has received generous sponsorship from ECORD (2016, 2017, 2018), the Aberdeen Formation Evaluation Society (2016, 2017, 2018), the London Petrophysical Society (2016, 2017, 2018) and the Marine Studies Group of the Geological Society, London (2016).  These contributions mean that the cost transferred to participants can be minimised.

Historically US affiliated students and researchers have been able to apply to USSSP for partial travel support, with a limited number of travel grants available.

Annually ECORD provide a number of scholarships for early career researchers and graduate students to support their attendance at summer schools sponsored by ECORD. More information about eligibility and how to apply for these scholarships is available on the ECORD website.

Applicants from IODP member countries are also encouraged to seek travel support directly from their Program Member Office  or local Society for Petrophysicists & Well Log Analysts (SPWLA) chapter.

Research topics

The main research focus is downhole logging where in situ continuous measurements are made in the borehole, these are supplemented by continuous and discrete core physical properties data, thus enabling integration of datasets to maximise their potential use in addressing scientific problems.  The Petrophysics Summer School not only focuses on the interpretation of these data types acquired during IODP expeditions, but also the rationale behind those measurements, the methodologies associated with their acquisition, and their application beyond IODP, in an industry context.

Downhole logging measurements acquired on IODP expeditions can be used to determine the physical, chemical, and structural properties of the formation penetrated by a borehole. These data can be used to aid interpretation of stratigraphy, lithology and mineralogy as well as providing information about formation stress, or drilling-induced deformation.  In the event of incomplete core recovery, these continuous datasets may provide the only means of fully characterising the geological formations encountered.  Intermediate in scale between core sample measurements and geophysical surveys, downhole logs are particularly useful in the calibration and ground-truthing of geophysical surveys.  Downhole measurements therefore play a critical role in understanding physical properties across a range of scales.

A variety of physical properties measurements are undertaken on the core material recovered during IODP projects including, density, velocity, resistivity, magnetic susceptibility, natural gamma radiation, porosity and colour reflectance datasets. These high-resolution, non-destructive measurements are valuable in characterising lithological units and formation properties.  They can also be used to facilitate hole-to-hole correlation and in the construction of synthetic seismograms.


The Petrophysics Summer School focuses on the application of downhole logging and core physical properties data to scientific questions.  The workshop includes lectures, and practical sessions on the different elements and data types used in petrophysical analysis.  In addition, basic training in an industry-standard software package, Schlumberger’s Techlog, forms a core part of the summer school.  Sessions within the summer school fall into one of three categories: those which explain and describe the principles behind petrophysical measurements; those which demonstrate the methods by which petrophysical measurements are acquired; and those which reveal the ways in which petrophysical data can be used in the pursuit of scientific objectives through integration and interpretation.

Following a more general introduction to IODP and ocean drilling, a series of introductory interactive lectures set the scene, with experts from both IODP and industry providing information on the various petrophysical measurements and methodologies used. Sessions focus on real-world examples with case studies from IODP and industry. Practical sessions throughout the week may include: demonstrations of physical properties data acquisition; the generation and use of synthetic seismograms; the use of stratigraphic correlation for hole-hole and site-site correlation; and the integration of borehole images with core.

An off-site day is divided between: a visit centred on downhole logging activities, including the development, testing, calibration and deployment of downhole logging tools (Reeves Wireline Technologies, Weatherford); and a session at the British Geological Survey (BGS) National Core Repository where participants will have the opportunity to compare a set of cores with the corresponding downhole logging data.

Learning Outcomes

The central goal of the summer school is to equip participants with a working knowledge of downhole logging and core physical properties data acquisition and application, for participation in IODP expeditions and also for use more widely, including within industry. By the end of the workshop the participants:

  • have a working knowledge of petrophysics, including a basic understanding backed by a consistent vocabulary that enable good communication between discipline specialists;
  • are familiar with the principles and limitations of the different measurements, and how data are acquired;
  • are aware of the ways in which petrophysical data can be useful in addressing the scientific objectives of a wide variety of projects;
  • have an understanding of the ways in which industry utilise petrophysical data;
  • appreciate how a multi-sensor core logger can provide continuous core data;
  • have an understanding of how continuous downhole logging data is acquired;
  • are able to use an industry-standard software package, and undertake basic tasks such as data loading and data analysis;
  • are familiar with the concept of core-log integration;
  • are able to apply knowledge to design a logging plan for an expedition.

Location & Organisation

The Petrophysics Summer Schools have been hosted in the School of Geography, Geology & the Environment at the University of Leicester, UK.  The UK IODP and European Petrophysics Consortium, together with their collaborators have offered this unique training opportunity for a summer school through the provision of technical and scientific expertise in the fields of downhole logging and core petrophysics.  The majority of the workshop takes place on the main campus of the University of Leicester.  There is also a local, off-site component.

On the first the day there is typically a mini-conference during which participants present their work in short presentations and a poster session.


  • Nearest airport East Midlands, (53 minute bus transfer to Leicester).
  • Good train links ~1-1.5 hrs to London (including all airports) and other major UK cities.


  • The workshop typically takes place in late June/early July
  • An icebreaker event typically marks the start of the school.


  • For participants, affordable bed & breakfast accommodation is typically offered at the University of Leicester Halls of Residence in Oadby.

Course fee:

  • Historically <£200
  • The course fee includes: all teaching-related activities and materials; coffee breaks; icebreaker event; and conference dinner.
  • The course fee does not include: travel; meals; or accommodation.



Additional Information

Previous Petrophysics Summer School webpages:

Petrophysics Summer School 2016

Petrophysics Summer School 2017

Petrophysics Summer School 2018

Blogs/articles about the Petrophysics Summer Schools:

PSS16: ECORD Newsletter article #27 p15-16

PSS16: Scientific Drilling news item p56

PSS16: University of Leicester news article

PSS16: blog

PSS16: PetrophysicsWorld blog

PSS17: blog

PSS17: ECORD Newsletter articles #29 p18-20

PSS17: Scientific Drilling news item  p65

PSS17: PetrophysicsWorld blog

PSS18: blog