Geology

Exploring for Energy

One of our key strengths is our demonstrated ability to find new resources. Continually striving to be at the forefront of reservoir prediction and characterization, as well as advanced seismic and drilling enhancements enable the company to identify and better characterize commercially viable resource deposits. Our scientists use sophisticated and proven technologies to locate and gain access to these resources deep beneath the earth’s surface.

Across geographies and geologies our commitment is the same: use our proven track record and expertise to safely and responsibly find oil and gas.

 

 

Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Petroleum generally refers to any naturally occurring hydrocarbons found beneath the surface of the Earth. They can be in the form of a solid, liquid or gas. Solid and semisolid forms of petroleum are called asphalt, bitumen and tar. Liquid petroleum is called crude oil if it is dark and viscous or condensate if it is clear and volatile. Natural gas, which can be found with oil or entirely by itself, is exactly that a Gas.
Finding petroleum hydrocarbons and safely extracting them from the Earth takes a great deal of skill and knowledge in geology, geophysics and reservoir management.
Several geologic elements are necessary for oil and gas to accumulate in a pool large enough to be worth producing. These elements include an organic-rich source rock to generate the oil or gas, a porous reservoir rock to store the petroleum in and some sort of sealed trap to prevent the oil and gas from leaking away. Geoscientists and engineers use their skills and available cutting-edge technologies to explore for these geological features deep within the Earth’s crust.
These large pools of hydrocarbons are called conventional or traditional discoveries. Oil and gas hydrocarbons that do not accumulate in large pools are called unconventional because methods needed to extract them go beyond conventional or traditional drilling techniques. These can include gas deposits trapped in shale rock formations or heavy crude oil mixed within sand deposits. Technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are used to extract hydrocarbons trapped in shale. Steam-assisted gravity drainage or SAGD is used to free and extract heavy oil from sand.

Surface Geology

Locating the presence of all the geological elements required for a commercial accumulation of oil and gas requires a careful blend of science and skill. To discover the shape and composition of rock deep underground, our geologists first examine and study rock formations exposed above ground in surface outcrops. They also examine aerial photographs and satellite images. By studying the above ground formations, our geologists try to determine the direction and depth they continue to go underground to predict the likelihood of a geological structure that might contain hydrocarbons. Once our geologists locate an area that looks promising, they work with our geophysicists to acquire seismic data that provides an image of the subsurface that allows the geology to be mapped in greater detail.

Subsurface Geology

When a geological feature that has a high chance of containing hydrocarbons is identified, a well is drilled into that structure. Once a well is drilled to the depth at which the hydrocarbons are expected, a well log is created. A well log provides electronic data about the types of rock present in the well and what, if any, fluids (oil, gas, water) these rocks contain. Well logs are usually made by lowering a measuring device, called a logging tool, to the bottom of the hole and then measuring the reservoir properties as the device is raised to the surface. In addition to a well log, a core sample is taken from the well. The core sample provides a piece of the reservoir rock that can be analysed to describe the characteristics of the rock in the well. The information gained from the well log and core sample helps determine whether a well should be completed to produce oil and gas or if it should be filled with cement and abandoned as a dry hole.