A successful explorationist must understand the structure and stratigraphy of exploration targets. We do not generally search for oil or gas directly, but we look for known hydrocarbon traps and assess the probability that they contain hydrocarbon reserves. It is therefore important to understand all the essential ingredients of a petroleum reservoir and to be able to recognize structural and stratigraphic traps, which commonly are searched for in petroleum exploration. Allen and Allen's (1990) detailed discussion of the petroleum play is recommended for further reading.
The essential ingredients of a petroleum system include a source rock, a hydrocarbon migration path, and a reservoir with good porosity, permeability, and a seal. The reservoir and seal form a trap for the hydrocarbons. Oil and gas migrate from a source along porous and permeable pathways until an impermeable barrier seals them in a reservoir. The individual components of the petroleum system are discussed below.
Figures & Tables
Fundamentals of Geophysical Interpretation, SEG Geophysical Monograph Series No. 13, is a practical handbook for the petroleum geophysicist. Fundamental concepts are explained using heuristic descriptions of seismic modeling, deconvolution, depth migration, and tomography. Pitfalls in processing and contouring are described briefly. Applications include petroleum exploration of carbonate reefs, salt intrusions, and overthrust faults. The book includes past, present, and possible future developments in time-lapse seismology, borehole geophysics, multicomponent seismology, and integrated reservoir characterization.