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From Black Magic to Swarms: Hydrocarbon Exploration Using Non-Seismic Technologies

Ed.K. Biegert and Saad J. Saleh
Shell, Houston, TX

“Why don't geochemical hydrocarbon detection methods always work?” Only one third of recent exploration new venture opportunities used surface geochemical hydrocarbon detection methods to calibrate the presence of charge in the system. There are distinct differences between the manifestation of hydrocarbons at surface in these environments, which drive the methods applied and ultimately the way in which we interpret these data. Most commercially-available onshore ground-based techniques are restricted in their application to prospect-scale assessment, primarily because of logistics and costs. Unfortunately, prospect-scale application often results in ambiguous or misleading results. Offshore applications of surface hydrocarbon methods are better calibrated and practiced. Airborne and satellite systems are commonly used in basin-scale applications.

Geochemical and non-seismic geophysical exploration techniques are important strategic components of the exploration toolkit when properly calibrated and applied. In this paper we review non-seismic exploration technologies, indicate recent advances and developments that have enhanced their value, and present real examples and case histories that illustrate the benefits in using combinations of these tools for large scale exploration activities. indicate a meso- to macrotidal system during the maximum Miocene flooding stage. Numerical simulations evaluate how these can be generated considering varying tidal amplitudes and phase as well as atmospheric forcing and freshwater influx. Our numerical simulations showed that it is not possible to generate a mesotidal system by using one incident tidal wave from the Mediterranean, but that two counter-propagating tidal waves at both open gateways are necessary. Without any further forcing terms the calculated sediment transport directions show a complicate pattern of circulation cells and joint half circles, which are likely closed for sediment transport. Applying fresh water influx from the fan delta systems and major rivers at the Swiss and German coastline forces the net transport in the central seaway towards two opposed current branches allowing for significant amounts of sediments to be directed towards the East and West.