Oil and gas supply chain consists of four main phases: 1) Extraction and Exploration, 2) Refining, 3) Transportation, and 4) Distribution and Marketing. In the context of cost reduction, exploration is the act of minimizing the expenses associated with finding commercial oil and gas deposits. These expenses increases from the mentioned main elementary activities satellite Infrared /Radar/Microwave Surveying, Aerial Imaging, Geo Botany prospecting and Geochemical Exploration; Aerial magnetic, Electromagnetic & Gravity Surveying, Seismic Surveying and Exploratory wells.
The technology applied in oil and gas exploration is Data Mining that can create cost reductions and bring about considerable financial benefits. By applying the advanced techniques, such as pattern recognition, and particular identification to a more comprehensive set of data collected during seismic acquisition, Geologists may be able to identify potentially productive seismic trace signatures that have been overlooked in newly acquired or archived data. Application of data mining in oil and gas exploration is in the experimental stage with much of the efforts focused on data-intensive computing. Oil and Gas Companies, Business Analytics service providers and Academic institutions are working on various applications. The categories are: structural geology and reservoir property-issues.
In oil and gas exploration process, Structural Geology is accurately surveying the top, bottom and lateral extent of geological structures is important as these structures might produce hydrocarbons. This locating, in presence of oil and gas, assists in determining the thickness of the hydrocarbon bearing (rock) layers and consequentially in deciding the economic viability of the reserve. Furthermore, using accurate mapping, by the optimal placement of the wells, production in multi-layered reservoirs, where shale and sand layers are laminated, can be carried out from and combined into a single well, and, therefore, result in cost savings.
Reservoir Property-Issues The earliest discoveries of oil and gas deposits were based on determining the structural traps. But now a different type of trap became important, that is stratigraphic traps. Stratigraphic traps are one must go beyond the structure and deduce possible lithology (identifying rock layers in the subsurface) and probable presence of oil and gas. Horizontal lithological analysis is known as lithofacies analysis.