The alarming decline in the number and value of hydrocarbon discoveries suggests that most of the 'traditional' and easy-to-find hydrocarbon traps have been found. Unless new exploration concepts and methods are developed (and supported by management), many hidden traps below unconformities or associated with buried landscapes and structures may never be discovered. The key to discovering these hidden traps is in reconstructing the stratigraphic, paleotectonic, paleogeographic, paleogeomorphic, and paleoenvironmental histories oflikely regions. Examples from the Gulf coastal province illustrate trap situations disclosed by these fundamental geologic studies.

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