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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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PipelinersGeologists are scientists who study both the present structure of the earth and how it came to be that way. Typically, students must receive at least an undergraduate degree, with coursework in chemistry, physics, mathematics, hydrology, rock and mineral formations. Extension courses in mapping and global information systems are also important. Most companies advertising for a geologist can also require a masters or doctorate in any Earth Science or Petroleum Engineering. Many students also secure work experience in co-op or summer internships working in the field. The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) regulate the practice of these professions in Alberta.

In any sort of petroleum excavations, including oil sands, geologists are brought in to provide a better picture of the earth being excavated. As a geologist working for a petroleum company, the objective is to locate rock formations that may hold reservoirs of oil and gas. They examine the fossils, chemistry, and structure of surface and core samples from drilling. Central to these studies is the understanding of how over millions of years these rock formations developed. The geologist studies many core samples and well logs to determine the structure of the rock beds, providing a cross section of the area. The geologist will then use this information to create a map and predict the best place to excavate in an area. Another branch of geology is geophysics. The geophysicist uses instruments to measure properties such as density and radioactivity of rocks. They interpret the seismic data that was collected in the field, and locate possible reservoirs where the companies can drill. These efforts cut down on the amount of dry wells and increase the chances of hitting an oil or a gas reservoir.



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