Introduction to Petroleum Exploration (1 day)

Acreage selection through to final discovery of an oil or gas field.


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Target audience

The course is designed for personnel who work in the exploration industry but have little or no exploration-specific technical background. This includes administration staff, technical support staff, and those in management or professional roles whose background is in a field other than Earth Science.

Course objectives

The course provides an overview of the business of petroleum exploration from acreage selection through to final discovery of an oil or gas field. It highlights the multi-disciplinary nature of the business, examines the tools and methods used in exploration, and provides an understanding of the technical terminology.

Course outline

Participants will be exposed to the basic concepts of acreage management, exploration geology, petroleum geophysics, rotary drilling, and economics and risk assessment:

Acreage acquisition and legal aspects
  • How exploration groups are put together (joint ventures, floats, operators, non-operators)
  • How companies acquire exploration acreage (permits, gazettals, open acreage, bidding, work programs, farmins, joint ventures)
  • Legal obligations and moral responsibilities (legislation, environmental controls)
Petroleum geology
  • Why companies explore where they do (rock types and properties, geological models, prospectivity)
  • Where oil and gas come from (source, seal, reservoir, generation, migration, trapping mechanisms)
  • How oil and gas fields are found (basin analysis, regional studies, play concepts, prospect generation)
Petroleum geophysics
  • How explorers determine what it looks like below the surface of the earth (remote sensing)
  • How seismic works (acquisition, processing, 2D and 3D surveys)
  • What seismic tells us (interpretation, mapping, hydrocarbon indicators)
Exploration drilling
  • Types of drilling rigs (land rigs, jackups, drill ships, semi-submersibles)
  • How rotary wells are drilled (hoisting, rotating, circulation, control)
  • Information obtained from wells (cuttings, cores, logs, well seismic)
  • What happens after the well is drilled (abandon, suspend, test)
Economics and risk
  • Why do we drill so many dry holes (outcomes, prospect risking and ranking)
  • Differences between technical success and commercial success (costs, prices, infrastructure)
  • How do we handle the risks involved (geological risk - POS, commercial risk – EMV)
  • The "Exploration Game" An fun opportunity to draw the learnings of the day together