Oil and gas exploration encompasses the methods and processes involved in locating the potential sites for oil and gas extracting and drilling. Traditionally, oil and gas explorers depended on surface signs like natural oil seeps, but things have changed quite a bit over the decades. Science and technology have made oil and gas exploration way more efficient.
Paul Favret points out that today geological surveys are generally conducted using distinctive means like seismic imaging for offshore exploration and testing subsoil for onshore exploration.
Paul Favret offers general insight into the exploration and production of oil and gas
Exploration and production (E&P) is a very specific sector within the oil and gas industry. This sector is associated with the early stage of energy production. An E&P company focuses on finding and extracting the raw materials used in energy businesses. They usually do not refine or produce energy, but rather just find and extract materials that are shipped to other oil companies within the production process. Exploration and production are often referred to as the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry, comprising of search, exploration, drilling, and extraction phases. Companies within this segment majorly put emphasis on locating and extracting commodities from the Earth.
The resource owners and operators involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas tend to work with a number of contractors, which may include oil field service companies, engineering procurement and construction contractors, and joint-venture partners. E&P companies also develop infrastructure and collect an expansive amount of analytical data, in the process of locating and extracting oil and gas.
Exploration and production of oil and gas involve multiple stages, starting with search and exploration. This stage includes the search for hydrocarbons, which essentially are the primary components of petroleum and natural gas. Land surveys are usually performed to help in identifying the areas that seem to be most promising. The ultimate goal is to locate specific minerals underground to estimate the amount of oil and gas reserves prior to drilling. Geologists generally study rock formations and layers of sediment within the soil for the purpose of identifying if oil or natural gas is present.
As per Paul Favret, subsequent to identifying potentially viable fields, a well is drilled for the purpose of testing the findings and determining whether or not there are enough reserves to be commercially viable for sale. This process involves making a hole by drilling or grinding through the rock below the surface.
A steel pipe tends to be inserted into the hole so that the drill can be inserted into the pipe, which allows for exploration at a deeper level. Core samples are taken and studied by paleontologists, engineers, and geologists in order to determine if there is proper quality of natural gas or petroleum in the underground reserve. In case the process shows that both the required quality and quantity are present, the oil well production process starts off. Engineers generally estimate how many wells will be needed, along with the ideal method for extraction.