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Macroseeps and Microseeps: A History of Unconventional Approach to Exploration Since the Start of the Petroleum Age

Abstract

Oil and gas macro-seeps were the initial exploration tool that started the Petroleum Age. Numerous oil macroseeps had been known to several cultures for centuries around the globe and early development targeted these locations aggressively. Fairly quickly almost all macroseeps in accessible areas were exploited causing new methodologies to be developed. In the 1920s microseepage technologies began developing in various forms to be used in conjunction with other exploration tools such as surface mapping for subsurface structures. With the advent of seismic, microseep methodology took a backseat role. However, in the 1970s to 1990s there was resurgence in the technologies both on land and on sea. The success rate of microseepage methods during this time period increased due to highly sensitive, reliable and accurate laboratory equipment, better understanding of soil chemistry, more rigorous sampling methods and more robust analytical analysis utilizing computers. In the 1990s to present day the shift in the industry from conventional to unconventional reservoirs that covered large areas the use of microseep methods as an exploration tool diminished domestically US and Canada but internationally it is still used extensively in under developed or remote basins. These methods are a tool in a tool box. This paper will present examples of successes, track records of some of the methods and discuss the place of these methods going forward in the industry.