Geology/new methods for oil exploration
Hi sir. My question is that
1) what are the new techniques for oil exploration and who developed these new methods?
(2) who design and make the new instruments and machines for exploration ? if they are mechanical engineers than how they know about the exploration?
Thanks for sending me your question.
Oil exploration techniques have been developing since many decades which brought in several good methods to improve exploration, drilling, and production.
Few examples; drilling is possible in deep water in open seas and oceans, from few meters to up to 4 km water depth where successful wells have drilled. Similarly, now drilling is possible in all kind of weathers, rough and torment seas with high tides and waves, extremely cold and extremely hot conditions, thanks to the new technologies. Well completions in the deep water through robotics arms and fully automatic vehicles which can be controlled remotely are possible and are being routinely done in North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Offshore Brazil and South American transform margins.
Horizontal drilling has done marvelous job finding oil and gas from areas once considered impossible to drill due to surface constraints. Now, this technique is so refined and at its peak that a driller can drill highly crooked well several kilometers on so much complex drill path with the help bit, mud motor, measuring while drilling (MWD) and Logging while drilling (LWD) tools through a laptop at his room at the rig floor and reach successfully to the target zone..
On seismic data acquisition side multicomponent 3D seismic data techniques (3C data and also 4C data) have been developed for long time and oil exploration companies around the world routinely have employed it to get the data in which Primary (compressional or P-wave) and Shear waves (S wave) are recorded in order to get improved image of rock properties in subsurface. Seismic data processing have faced several methods of improved to get the true geological subsurface data particularly in tectonically complex data in high dips and frequent faults regions. One set of seismic data is used to derived other data as well by the increasing power of the computer and more complex mathematical algorithms.
Geochemistry has been very supportive in determining source rock in the basin and new technology has given instruments that may yield more accurate and high-resolution analytical results from rock and well-cutting samples.
Lately, another aspect which was not very efficient transformed into a new game-changing technology is the hydraulic fracturing technology which improved oil and gas production from tight reservoirs specially fracturing through shale.
The new techniques are being developed engineers, geologists, geophysicists and software and computer engineers.
Hope, this answer may help