Published:January 01, 1993
Petroleum exploration has relied historically on the identification of structural anomalies through the use of geologic mapping combined with various geophysical methods (e.g., wire-line logging, seismic, magnetic and gravity). An exploration program of this type is viable when exploratory costs are low and numerous large structural features are untested. However, costs associated with exploration are increasing and most large structural anomalies have been tested so this strategy is no longer as viable.
A more viable exploration program in these times requires an examination of the diverse elements necessary for hydrocarbon accumulations to exist. In addition to an evaluation of the area under structural closure, necessary information includes hydrocarbon source rock quality and quantity, reservoir porosity and permeability, seal, migration network, and level of thermal maturity impacting both generation and preservation. These geologic elements must be evaluated in light of their temporal and spatial distributions (Magoon, 1988). Unfortunately, although many of these elements are considered, qualitative information all too often is presented independently of any geologic framework. Commonly, large volumes of data are gathered and are presented as only a mean value and/or range of values. Such information is of only limited usefulness, however, because it provides no insight into either the spatial or the stratigraphic distribution of geologic features. Recently there has been a major emphasis on assessment of quantitative data within a sequence stratigraphic framework. This integrated approach permits a better understanding of the net versus gross source and reservoir thickness in a given sampling locality. A more realistic