Feature Reports

Exploring for Oil and Gas Deposits

Exploring for oil in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. © L. Zylberman / TOTAL

Locating oil and gas deposits is a lengthy process. The steps include obtaining a license, locating the reservoirs, and performing a host of measurements to determine whether they can be developed. And the appraisal work continues during drilling to enable the development decision to be made.

fr - Obtention license d'exploration

Before they can prospectA potential hydrocarbon deposit. Explorationists seek to locate prospects, determine their configuration and size... an area, oil companies must be awarded an exploration license by the relevant authorities. The license covers a very specific area and stipulates very specific terms and conditions. Oil companies compete in international licensing rounds to be allowed to explore sedimentary basins.

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fr - localisation gisement

To locate a potential depositThe potential hydrocarbon reserves that could be extracted from a deposit. , technicians use techniques to scan the subsurface and produce a 2D or 3D image. Introduced in the 1930s, seismic reflectionGround waves (vibrations) caused by an explosion or weight drop are sent from a transmitter..., which analyzes sound waves sent deep beneath the surface, has becoming increasingly precise, especially thanks to significant strides in information technology.

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fr - La difficile décision de lancer un forage

It costs several million euros to drill an exploration well, with a one in three chance of success. A host of technical and economic studies of the prospectA potential hydrocarbon deposit. Explorationists seek to locate prospects, determine their configuration and size...’s potential have to be conducted before work can begin.

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fr - deroulement forage

DrillingThe process of boring a hole into the ground using special equipment... consists of sinking a drill string into the ground while injecting a special mud. This allows fragments of rock and samples of gas to be brought back to the surface. Boreholes have to be drilled at several locations to delineate the potential depositThe potential hydrocarbon reserves that could be extracted from a deposit. .

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Carothèque située à Pau

The purpose of drillingThe process of boring a hole into the ground using special equipment... is to confirm the presence of oil and/or gas in a prospectA potential hydrocarbon deposit. Explorationists seek to locate prospects, determine their configuration and size.... This can be done continuously, by using various qualitative and quantitative methods that range from direct observations of drill cuttings to more elaborate measurements.

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fr - synthese exploration

Exploring for oil and gas deposits is a lengthy, complex, expensive process performed by multidisciplinary teams of specialists: geologists, engineers, technicians, economists and advisors in international negotiations.

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