Online well information for Illinois: finding oil at 11:00 p.m.
FAGAN, JOSEPH P., JR.
Centennial Geoscience, Inc., Buffalo, NY
The oil and gas business is a technology-driven one. The amount and types of information that are required to evaluate a prospect are continually expanding, due to the development of new technology. Reserves are regularly being upgraded, as new technology continues to aid in finding new reserves, and to make economic that which was once non-economic. While all this additional information has increased what a geologist has to work with, it has also amplified the difficulty of making a “go / no go” decision on a given prospect. Fortunately, on-line technology is available to retrieve, process, and filter the vast quantity of information that goes into the drilling decision.
Technology is in place to deliver well logs, structure and isopach maps, scout tickets, and geophysical data to your computer at your convenience. It is possible to deliver these data to any geologist—anywhere in the world and at any time of day (or night). The next prospect that you create or review could be done from your own home after traditional business hours.
There is another advantage to creating a central well database that is universally accessible. Illinois is still lagging during a period of generally increased domestic exploration. Many local operators simply lack the financial and technical resources to drill the deeper parts of the stratigraphic section. It is certain that the greatest future successes in the Illinois Basin will not come from the deliberate search for the Cypress and Aux Vases. If exploration in the basin is to accelerate, the driving force will have to come from companies outside the basin. By providing easier access to the information that the State holds, even companies without a physical presence in Illinois will be encouraged to work the basin.
In summary, the present is the most propitious time to create an on-line center for accessing geologic data that will expedite exploration in the state.