As the demand for oil remains strong, and demand for natural gas hits an all-time high, locating new sources remains a crucial function in the industry.
There are many experts that specialize in oil exploration, including Manjit Singh Sahota, an industry professional in the crude oil market. This type of exploration can be risky and expensive, but the right knowledge and tools can make it much more successful.
Here are some of the methods companies use to find hidden sources of natural gas and oil, which is part of upstream oil and gas operations.
Going Beyond The Surface
In some cases, the land’s surface will give clues that there’s oil or gas hiding underneath. For example, sometimes the oil or gas will actually seep through the earth whether on land or in the ocean. When this occurs, it is obviously easy to know that there is oil and gas there. However, explorers are rarely this lucky — for the most part, it takes a lot more work to locate potential sources of oil and gas, and this is where exploration geophysics comes into play.
Manjit Sahota explains that one method is the seismic method which uses special machinery or explosives to measure vibrations under the earth’s surface to identify trapped oil and gas reserves. When leads are created — basically areas that hold promise — further seismic surveying is performed to upgrade them from a lead to a prospect.
Following Up On Leads
There are certain geological factors to make extraction from a prospect possible. For example, there needs to be a source rock that produces hydrocarbons. They need to be contained in a porous reservoir rock that allows them to flow to the surface, and there also needs to be a structural trap that prevents them from escaping.
Electromagnetic methods can also be used to detect oil and gas deposits by creating profiles of the subsurface, and are particularly useful in offshore sourcing. This approach has increased the potential for data collection in recent years. Manjit Singh Sahota is an expert in 3D reservoir modeling. He uses the data collected to tell a more accurate story of what’s under the surface.
When the exploration company is confident there may be some reserves under the surface, drilling takes place to confirm the lead.
Exploration Spending Remains High
While some of the bigger oil companies pulled back a bit on exploration spending in 2018, the total worldwide investment in sourcing still totaled $37 billion. That number was expected to increase in 2019.
As you can determine by now, finding new sources of oil isn’t as easy as you might’ve thought, and it can take months of planning before the first drill hits the ground. However, there can be high rewards for investors when they partner with companies that specialize in this area such as the one headed by Manjit Singh Sahota.