Robert J. Weimer1
(1) Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
ABSTRACT: Evolution of Ideas and Technology: Impact on Petroleum Exploration and Production
Sedimentary rocks are a vast storehouse of energy and other minerals needed to sustain life in today's society. Ideas and the technology for their implementation, funded by industry for exploration and production of oil and gas, have advanced knowledge about the origin of sedimentary sequences.
The petroleum system concept integrates ideas about source rocks, generation and migration of fluids (the charge), reservoirs, seals, traps, temperatures, pressures and hydrodynamics, and other factors that explain petroleum accumulations. Each component appeared simple in early usuage, but became progressively more complex as knowledge was integrated and advanced to solve problems. Economic incentives in a competitive environment have spanned ideas, inventions and instrumentation to lower risk for discovery, and to improve efficiency and productivity.
Over the 140-year history of exploration, ideas and technology drastically improved drilling, downhole tools and measurements, and new suburface mapping by use of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and engineering. Two of the great technological successes have been the evolution of 2-D and 3-D seismic and the wide array of borehole logging. Sequence Stratigraphy integrates new concepts and obervations about the most important subject of reservoir quality and distribution, the most factor in economic considerations.
The continued development and integration of all ideas and technology from the geosciences is essential to reach future goals. But capital formulation to explore and produce in new and old areas, personnel stability by employers to overcome bust-boom cycles and mergers, and governments favorable to resource development will remain essential ingredients for future success in global replacement of reserves.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado