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Geological Methods

for Petroleum
Exploration

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Basins: Forces that shape the earths crust

Plate Tectonics

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Basins: Forces that shape the earths crust
Basins form in response to subsidence caused by
movement of the crust and grow due tectonic loading

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Basins: Forces that shape the earths crust
Basins form in response to subsidence of the
crust and grow due loading of sediment deposited in
them

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Basins: Sedimentary rocks accumulate in
basins

Basins may contain petroleum


source rocks, reservoir rocks and
seal rocks

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PetroleumWhere is it found?
Basins are containers for sediment
Earths basins contain sediment/rocks, air, or water

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Geological Methods
Strictly speaking there is nothing like a geological
method, however the following may be grouped
together as geological methods
Surface geological mapping ( the most important
of all )
Coring in a well
Wireline logging ( Geophysics)
All Geophysical methods viz; Gravity,Magnetic,EM
most importantly seismic methods

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Geological Methods

Subsurface maps include the following basic forms:


Structural contour maps: maps composed of lines connecting points
of equal elevation above or below datum (normally sea level)
Isopach maps: maps composed of lines connecting points of
equal bed thickness.
Cross sections: a form of subsurface presentation which depicts the
position and thickness of various strata.

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Geological methods
Look for natural seepages of oil, outcrops
of oil-bearing rocks and various forms of
gas seepages such as mud volcanoes.

However it does not necessarily prove that


oil exists in commercial quantities.

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Geological Methods
Visible surface features such as oil seeps, natural gas
seeps, pockmarks (underwater craters caused by
escaping gas) provide basic evidence of hydrocarbon
generation (be it shallow or deep in the Earth). However,
most exploration depends on highly sophisticated
technology to detect and determine the extent of these
deposits using exploration geophysics. Areas thought to
contain hydrocarbons are initially subjected to a gravity
survey, magnetic survey, passive seismic or regional
seismic reflection surveys to detect large scale features
of the sub-surface geology.

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Geological Methods
Features of interest (known as leads) are subjected to
more detailed seismic surveys which work on the principle
of the time it takes for reflected sound waves to travel
through matter (rock) of varying densities and using the
process of depth conversion to create a profile of the
substructure. Finally, when a prospect has been identified
and evaluated and passes the oil company's selection
criteria, an exploration well is drilled in an attempt to
conclusively determine the presence or absence of oil or
gas.

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Geological Methods
Oil exploration is an expensive, high-risk operation.
Offshore and remote area exploration is generally only
undertaken by very large corporations or national
governments. Typical shallow shelf oil wells (e.g. North
Sea) cost US$10 30 million, while deep water wells
can cost up to US$100 million plus. Hundreds of smaller
companies search for onshore hydrocarbon deposits
worldwide, with some wells costing as little as
US$100,000.

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The Geologist in a new area
Initial Phase
Identification of a sedimentary basin
Interpretation of the type of basin identified, age of the basin
etc.
Is the basin so identified have got a strartigraphic column to
become petroliferous.
Are there any surface evidences like seepages etc.
Any paleontalogical data available.
Structural setting favourable for hydrocarbon accumulation.
With the preliminary assessment turn to logistics and
quantitative considerations including financal, transporation
and other aspects.
Geological Methods Reconnaissance Phase.
The first objective now is the localization of Favourable stratigraphic
trends called plays. One may look at photogeologic reconnaissance
maps for regional control.
Thorough understanding of the regional stratigraphy and of the
configuration of the different strata within the area so identified. This
can be augmented by aerial magnetic and gravity maps which will
give us some idea of the thickness of the sediments etc, run some
regional seismic profiles. This should give us some information the
position of different layers , possible unconfirmities and low and high
areas.
Next the geologist tries to get some idea of the structural styles in
area ,are the detectable structures compressional or extensional,
high or low in amplitudes , if there are outcrops, one should try to
identify specific trends such as shelf, slope, anomolous dips or
topographic features etc
contd
Geological Methods
We can check depending on the budget the intial sratigraphic
and structural interpretation by drilling some low cost wells,
the purpose of this is to identify possible source abd reservoir
facies
From the test well samples, cores, logs one should carefully
study different stratigraphic units for source or reservoir
potential etc.Combination of the above data as determined by
geophysics enables the geologist to evaluate the possible
directions of fluid migration and hence the most favourable
paths and areas in the area for hydrocarbon accumulation.

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Geological Methods:Economic Phase
The objective of this phase is identifying of drillable
structures called prospects. Having fully understood by
this time the stratigraphy, structures are very important
now,The intial wells being drilled now are Wild Cat
Wells , these are very critical especially in offshore
areas.
It is very important now to have few reconnaissance
seismic lines over the identified prospects for more
confidence.
Once the prospect is drilled whether it is dry or not
depending on the results , more integration is required
with a more detailed seismic phase.
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Geologists make maps
A surface geological map is where rocks of the sa
kind intersect the surface of the earth

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Geologists make maps
Aerial photographs show the patterns of how the
geology intersects the earths surface

Sometimes special computer techniques make


these patterns easier to see
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SCHEMATIC CROSS SECTION-EAST GODAVARI
SUB-BASIN

BLOCK KG ONN 2004/1

OIL INDIA LIMITED


Detailed Phase
Once the availability of hydrocarbons are established
conduct a more comprhensive Exploration programme in
the area, viz more seismic prefarably 3D seismic survey,
geochemical, Detailed Gravity & Magnetic and any other
investigation which the explorationist feels will add value
to the technical data base of the area so that it will give
us more confidence before exploratory drilling is taken
up.
Preparation of cross sections showing lithostratigraphic
correlation from the existing well data in the area.
Preparation of prospect maps

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Log Correlation Showing Sand Development at Hinge Margin Area at Pasarlapudi Formation

W E

Kesanakurupalem

Polavaram
What Geologists and Geophysicists Do

Drilling and Maps

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Depth Contour Map Close to Early Cretaceous showing Location 6

L6
OIL INDIA LTD BLOCK

ONGC AREA
Seismic Section IL-2340 passing through Location 6

Gollapalli Prospect
Random Line showing Golapalli Synrift Sequence
Loc 6 _Proj.
Narsapur Fm

Bhimanapalli Lst

Pasarlpudi+ Palakullu Fm

Chintanapalli Fm

Raghavapuram Shale

Golapalli Synrift Sequence

Basement
Seismic Section XL-10705 passing through Location 6

Gollapalli Prospect
Geologists make maps
When wells are drilled we are able map the
subsurface

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Drilling Rig Wells are drilled
to find oil and
gas.

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Drilling

These are some


of the tools we
use to drill wells

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Geologist at the Well Site
Examination of the drill cutting samples, look for
hydrocarbon shows if any during drilling by examing the
shows in the drilling mud, Oil detected by flourecence
under UV light , gas by ignition over a hot wire.
Detailed examination of side wall cores
Examination of Geophysical logs and correlation of the
same with subsurface geology and identification of
formation tops, measuring bed thickness, marking the
zones to be tested etc.

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A natural, yellow-to-black, flammable,
liquid hydrocarbon found beneath the
earths surface

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