Explorationthe Search for Petroleum
in the petroleum industryincluding geologists, geophysicists, geochemists and paleontologistsstudy what has happened to rocks that may be buried thousands
of metres below the surface, how those rocks were formed and affected by events
stretching back millions of years, and how to identify traps where oil and gas
have accumulated within rock formations.
explorationist may have a well-developed theory or intuition why an area should
contain oil and gas. A first-hand look at outcrop geology and surface features
sometimes helps to confirm the basic requirementsthat there must be sedimentary rocks, potential reservoirs and hydrocarbon-bearing source rocks in
a sedimentary basin.
Within a basin,
the explorer's first step is to examine all the information already known about
the area. This might include academic papers, surface geology observations, any
wells drilled, data from agencies, such as the Geological Survey of Canada or
provincial government departments, and previous exploration results from nearby
or similar areas. In Canada, government regulations ensure that much of the
information obtained during exploration is recorded and eventually released
publicly. This is often not the case in the United States and elsewhere around
can identify the structure, configuration, thickness and depth of new
sedimentary basins by measuring slight variations in the Earth's gravitational
and magnetic fields, and by measuring the time taken for seismic energy waves to
pass through and be reflected from sedimentary layers.
Petroleum Communication Foundation. Our Petroleum Challenge Exploring Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, Sixth Edition. Calgary: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 1999. With permission from the Centre for Energy.