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The 3D-Seismic Exploration Wheel and Treatments for Economic Pain along the Learning Curve

By

MARLIN, DONALD J.

Marlin Geophysical Associates, Houston, TX

 

Exploration technology has changed dramatically with the advent of the personal computer of the past 20 years. With this change has come a dramatic increase in the number of exploration programs, size and cost of exploration projects, enhancement in seismic acquisition techniques, visualization of subsurface reservoirs, and an adjustment in joint operation agreements and relationships that can be viewed as a 3D Exploration Wheel over time. One must recognize wheel imbalances, wheel placement, and the impact of first, second, and third-order derivatives on the wheel to treat or prevent economic pain in any 3D exploration program. This pain is due to a reduction in reserve expectation accompanied by several magnitudes of derivative issues and change in wheel shape that exist over time. Recognizing wheel shape and where it resides in time will aid all exploration disciplines in understanding expectations of any project.