Opinion

Exploration is a Business!

Posted by David Bamford

12-Dec-2016

petromall.org


This is a commentary on the US shale revolution, by a participant: “Geology is a science. Geophysics is a science. Exploration is a Business”

Given that, where do we go from here, what happens next?

This quotation is usually attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!”

…'..so let's agree that a lot has to change?

Here are a few ideas:

Short-term (2-3 years)

Based on what the Majors appear to be saying, the focus will be on:
  • Existing provinces, many of them offshore
  • Exploiting discovered, or extremely low risk accumulations
  • Closeness to Infrastructure
  • Short times to 1st Oil/Gas
We might call this “Infrastructure-Led Exploration” but a more honest term might be “Infrastructure-Led Exploration Exploitation” or even “Infrastructure-Controlled Exploitation”……………which will not work for everyone.

And so…..

Longer-term (>3-4 years)

I predict that some companies (Majors) and NOCs will need new resources/reserves, requiring:
  • New Ideas
  • Low Cost Oil (we don't need any more Gas!)
  • Not Deep Water, not Arctic
  • Onshore
  • “Regional” approach
We might call this “Regional-scale Exploration”

How to do “Infrastructure-Controlled Exploitation”?
  • Geoscientists as part of Exploitation team(s)
  • Low overheads, low G&A; exploit cost leverage
  • Technology Innovation: Multi-component seismic; 4D when producing; Machine Learning - applied to subsurface interpretation; Production Analytics
How to do “regional-scale Exploration”?
  • Low overheads (especially Executive management!)
  • Low G&A; exploit outsourcing
  • Portfolio of opportunities (not just one play!)
  • Technology Innovation: Satellites; UAVs - manned aircraft only if no alternative!; “Boots on the ground”*; Wireless seismic; Integration: seeps, gravity (FTG), “The Rocks”*, seismic - preferably 3D
* I mean the ‘classics' = stratigraphy, sedimentology, structural geology, geochemistry, petrophysics 


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