Geology of Finding Oil & Natural Gas

Weatherby Energy is knowledgeable and skilled in the use of geology principles to find oil and natural gas. Investors to Weatherby Energy can rest assured that scientific principles have made investing in oil drilling less risky than ever before. To better understand what Weatherby Energy does and how science can be used in drilling, it is helpful to have a background in exactly what the geology of finding oil and natural gas is.

Using Geology to Find Oil and Natural Gas

Geology is the study of rocks including one important type of rock called sedimentary rock. River, lake, and ocean bottoms have layers of sand, silt, small rocks, and organic matter that build up over time to make layers of sediment. With the right temperatures and pressures, organic matter like sediment turns into petroleum. Eventually the hydrocarbons will migrate to porous rock and become trapped there. Rocks with a high concentration of hydrocarbons are what geologists are looking for.

Petroleum geology, therefore, is the study of rock formations that contain hydrocarbons, many of which are used as forms of energy and in high demand. Hydrocarbons that are sought after by the petroleum industry and its geologists can be solid, liquid, or gas. Solid forms include asphalt and tar, while the liquid form is crude oil, and the gas form is natural gas. Natural gas is sometimes found with crude oil and is sometimes discovered alone.

Because these hydrocarbons are in high demand, Weatherby Energy and other drillers in the exploration of these hydrocarbons apply petroleum geology principles.

Understanding Petroleum Geology

When oil and gas forms, it is less dense than the surrounding rock and will move up into porous rock or even seep out onto the land surface. If it gets trapped along the way by a seal or trap, like shale or cemented sandstone, it will stay there and accumulate and potentially for a reservoir.

For a geologist to have a prospect of this trap, there must have been source rock where the oil and gas was formed, porous rock for the oil and gas to be stored in (reservoir rock), and a trap to keep it there. There also must be a seal that cannot be penetrated that keeps the petroleum in the reservoir. Typical places for reservoirs are beside faults, the top of anticlines, or under an eroded surface called an unconformity.

Tools Used

Geologists have many tools to help them find petroleum and Weatherby Energy can put many these tools and principles to work.

• Examine the surface area where rock outcroppings are exposed.
• Study aerial photographs of the area of interest.
• Collect seismic data.

This is accomplished by sending shock waves into the ground and having geophones on the surface that will measure the waves that are reflected off of various rock formations and make their way to the surface. Shock waves are generated by huge vibrator trucks now and were made by dynamite in the old days. For many years 2-D seismic data was all that was available but now 3-D models are used.

Even with all the tools, geologists still have trouble pinpointing the location of petroleum rich reservoirs. Only one in ten wildcat wells that are drilled at least a mile from an existing well will find petroleum or will not have enough to be economically feasible. The odds are much worse for wells drilled where no other wells are producing. However, drilling has become less risky than ever before and as technology improves, the chances of finding large pools of petroleum will increase and Weatherby Energy remains on the forefront of embracing new technologies.


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