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Geology/Structural Geology: Is it really that important?


Is it true that if you're not very good at structural geology, then you won't make it into the oil and gas industry? I'm not very good at it, I kind of get the theory part but the labs are hard, it's not that I don't try, I really do. I'm still taking the course anyways. What other college courses can/should I take or be better at to minimize my shortcomings?


There are a myriad of jobs in the O&G industry that do not require a working knowledge of structural geology.  It IS necessary that you have a conceptual understanding of structure and that you can visualize structures in 3D space.

Working with 2D seismic sections it is important that you can visualize in the 3rd dimension what the structure is doing, for instance a body of sand or a fracture zone.

Structural calculations are not that important unless you are a geologist who is working up a reservoir volume.  Then again, geology and geophysics exploration software now does that for you.

So don't fret if you don't ace the class, (I didn't).   What you do need is a good working knowledge of the various software packages (Landmark, Kingdom, or Petrel).  If you don't have any of those at your university, ask your faculty to look into getting them, they are usually free to universities, since they want students to know about and how to use them so when they graduate they will be advocates for them in the industry.  Usually just contacting and filling out an application will get a license for the university.

Stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, invertebrate paleontology, seismic interpretation, well log analysis (a very important class for O&G work, a lot of the unconventional resource plays are just exploited using well log data and not seismic.  A lot of those classes are probably basic requirements in a good traditional geology degree curriculum.  You will need a masters degree.  A BS only makes you a geotech.  


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.


I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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