The oil industry uses specialized seismic contractors and equipment in their search for hydrocarbons. There are 4 stages of exploration:
1. Seismic Acquisition
To produce a seismic image of the subsurface, a seismic source must be generated and the resulting reflection data recorded by a field crew. In this way, land and marine seismic data is created and recorded all over the world.
2. Seismic Processing
Next the data must be processed, where the raw data is put through many complex procedures using powerful computers and finally a seismic section is produced.
3. Seismic Interpretation
Making sense of the seismic image, identifying and mapping geological structures that can act as oil traps is the final stage of the seismic process.
4. Exploration Drilling
If the results of the interpretation seem favourable, then an exploration borehole will be drilled. A well in a previously unexplored area is called a wildcat.
Recap – the four stages of Seismic Exploration are:
Land and marine seismic data is created and recorded all over the world by field crews
Seismic sections are created from the raw data recorded by the field crew
Horizons and structures are identified and the location of possible hydrocarbon reserves are mapped
Exploration wells are drilled to see if there are hydrocarbons in sufficient quantity to become a reservoir of economic viability