Topaz Energy Exploration, Ltd.

 

Topaz Homepage

Topaz Technology

Surface Exploration

Exploration Success

Contact Topaz

 

Copyright 2001-2009
Hectori, Inc.


Statistics Show Surface Exploration Enhances Success and Reduces Finding Costs

Key to the success of any surface exploration methods is the vitally important mathematical and statistical concepts involved in collecting, presenting and interpreting geochemical data. Lack of knowledge of these concepts, has in the past, often led to the confusion, ambiguity and irreproducibility of geochemical surveys, and therefore the failure to gain acceptance for their use by industry. A detailed description of the many surface exploration methods in current use is beyond the scope of this website; however, such information is available in Klusman (1993), Tedesco (1995), Schumacher and Abrams (1996), Schumacher (1999), and Jones et al. (2000).

Surface geochemical exploration methods are not new. The science that underpins these methods is not new. The Blaus, Davidsons, Donovans, Footes, Horvitzs, Pirsons, Rosaires, Saunders and Sikkas of this world, all knowledgeable geoscientists, knew decades ago that hydrocarbon reservoirs leaked and the effects of this leakage could be used to detect those reservoirs.

What is new is that there currently is a critical mass of exploration geoscientists who, by dint of luck, persuasive abilities, or having been in the right place at the right time, have put their geological, geochemical, and geophysical knowledge to the ultimate test: they, or someone they convinced, drilled a well and found the predicted hydrocarbons. All their modeling, hypothesizing, and hand waving could be, and were challenged. The results of thousands of successful wells drilled in areas explored by surface geochemical methods that geoscientists have reported, however, cannot be challenged or dismissed. Using surface geochemical exploration methods in conjunction with classical exploration, these exploration geoscientists have at least doubled the odds for success while halving the finding costs.

The best documented published case history to compare pre-drilling geochemical surveys with post-survey drilling results is that of Potter et al. (1996). Their exploration program involved geochemical surveys of 139 prospects located in both mature basins and frontier basins, onshore and offshore, in a wide variety of environments. Targets ranged in depth from 305-4,572m (1,000-15,000 ft) and covered the full spectrum of trap styles. The 139 surveys led to the drilling of 141 wells in previously undrilled prospects. A total of 43 wells were drilled on prospects with no associated geochemical anomalies, and 41 of these encountered no hydrocarbons. Of the 98 wells drilled in positive geochemical anomalies, 92% encountered reservoired hydrocarbons and 76% were completed as producers.

A recent review by Schumacher (2000) of more than 850 wildcat wells - all drilled after completion of surface geochemical surveys - finds that 79% of wells drilled on prospects associated with positive geochemical anomalies resulted in commercial oil or gas discoveries; in contrast, only 13% of wells drilled on prospects without an associated geochemical anomaly resulted in commercial discoveries.

From the above it can be seen that percentages of success vary with the surface exploration method used, as well as with the criteria established for what defines "success."  However, from the numerous surface exploration case histories published in the above-mentioned AAPG-SEG book, it is clear that the typical range for exploration success is between 70% and 90%, based on integrating surface exploration survey methods with conventional geological and seismic exploration.

It is pointless to ask why, with all the supporting evidence gathered over the years, surface geochemical exploration technologies have not been adopted sooner, if they are as good as we believe them to be. The answer to that lies largely on our understanding of the human condition. New ideas of any sort take a long time to enter the mainstream consciousness. However, at this point, overwhelming evidence gathered by senior and respected exploration professionals has been assembled, and the time has come to say explicitly to our colleagues in the industry, that surface geochemical exploration technologies work, and can work for you. By properly acquiring and integrating surface geochemical exploration data with conventional geologic and seismic data, exploration and production risk will be significantly reduced.

Additional References Cited in this Web site.



Topaz Homepage

Topaz Technology

Surface Exploration

Exploration Success

Contact Topaz

setstats1