Looking Harder and Finding Less—Use of the Computer in Petroleum Exploration

  • John C. Davis
Part of the Computer Applications in the Earth Sciences book series (CAES)


The decade of the 70’s was marked by steady, if unspectacular, progress in the use of computers by the petroleum industry. Digital seismic processing in the field of geophysics was the single most significant development, and promises to alter many basic procedures in exploration. Programs and techniques for computer mapping have improved significantly during the decade; contour mapping now is probably the most important application of computers to geologic aspects of petroleum exploration. Data banks have grown tremendously, and rapid interactive retrieval systems permit display of combined seismic and geologic information as maps and cross sections. Minicomputer systems are promising to bring dramatic changes to log-interpretation procedures and to the making of subsurface lithofacies maps, increasingly valuable exploration tools for defining stratigraphic traps. Computational advances in the area of petroleum resource assessment allow modeling of economic potential for large areas. These techniques include both economic and geologic considerations.

Data banking, log analysis, and contour mapping are extremely basic procedures, routinely required for almost all exploration activities. Aside from the more exciting geophysical applications, the use of computers in petroleum exploration seems to have advanced during the past decade through the determined refinement of such basic techniques.


Acoustic Impedance Stratigraphic Trap Triangular Mesh Petroleum Exploration Seismic Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansas Geological SurveyUSA

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