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Structural Geology in Petroleum Exploration - Essay Example

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Structural Geology in Petroleum Exploration

These techniques constitute petroleum exploration, which in turn has several definitions. In one instance, oil exploration is defined as the process of searching for oil, among other petroleum related resources like gas, in the sedimentary basins of the earth. The mentioned exploration process depends on systematic utilization of technology based methods by innovative geoscientists (Larsen et al 52). It is this combination that paves way for viable drilling prospects and actual appraisal of oil zones or wells. In a different definition, petroleum exploration is considered to be a fundamental competency that should be carried out by qualified geoscientists for a prominent oil and gas organization. Evidently, there appears to be a general agreement in all definitions that geologists play a significant role in the oil exploration process. Another crucial factor to note is that, just like other exploratory studies oil searching is laden with uncertainties. It is difficult to tell whether gas or oil is present in a given place until drilling takes place. Prominent oil and gas companies usually spread the risks posed by the uncertainty over a collection of prospects, in order to manage the situation. This strategy is better than investing all capital, in terms of geology experts and equipment, in one oil drilling prospect. This paper seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of oil exploration, by examining geological aspects, historical development t of exploration techniques and other petroleum related subjects. Background Crude oil is a derivative of living things’ remnants, which contain a material referred to as kerogen and compressed over many years. The kerogen from dead organic materials usually matures over time to form a wide variety of hydrocarbon molecules, of different molecular weight and size. The smallest of these hydrocarbon molecules usually escape in gaseous form, hence natural gas, while those with large molecular weight form a dense oily substance beneath the earth’s surface. It is this viscous liquid substance that is extracted and refined to form petroleum oil and it’s diverse by products. Rocks from which petroleum is derived could be of marine or terrestrial origin. Usually, terrestrial petroleum rocks are found in river basins, lakes and deltas, which have organic materials, and algae, among other dead matter. On the other hand, source rocks for petroleum that are found in the marine environment may contain algae and dead plankton, among other organic remnants. In both environments, the organic remains get buried under pressure from overlying disintegrated materials. This implies that, for oil to be formed organic matter must be compressed under high pressure and in absence of oxygen, conditions referred to anaerobic (Larsen et al 100-152). It is under conditions devoid of oxygen that, the kerogen in dead matter changes to an easily ignited substance known as bitumen. This is made possible by the high prevailing temperatures, natural catalysts and microbial activity in the earth sediments. The greater portion of the bitumen formed gradually transforms into asphalt, discharging molecules of hydrocarbon, in addition to carbon dioxide and water. The viscous and dense oils get formed first, while light oils are formed as the process progresses. High subsurface temperatures lead to production of gas, and since petroleum is lighter than surrounding rocks, it rises upwards through pores and faults in the crust. The ...Show more

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Name: Course: College: Tutor: Date: Structural Geology in Petroleum Exploration Introduction Petroleum is currently one of the world’s most important resources. Also known as crude oil, this crucial resource is actually ranked second to coal, among the most utilized energy resources…
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Structural Geology in Petroleum Exploration essay example
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