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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Tulsa Geological Society


Tulsa Geological Society Digest
Vol. 31 (1963), Pages 250-251

The Application of Digital Computers to Exploration Operations: Abstract

James M. Forgotson Jr.1


The use of digital computers in exploration is oriented toward furnishing the geologist an additional tool. The applications presented here are primarily geological and can be used now on current projects as data are being determined.

Data processing is often merely a system for rapid recall of information and as such is being investigated as a means of handling scout information. Regardless of the procedure used to record the data and the completeness of the files, the idea is to record engineering and exploration data in a systematic manner, to store the recorded data on cards or tape and to develop computer filing, sorting and retrieval systems to handle large volumes of data.

Well locations, formation tops, rock type, thicknesses within a stratigraphic interval, and paleontological data obtained in current studies can be recorded in numerical form on cards or tape for computer input. From such input the computer can calculate structure, isopach, and various types of lithofacies, biofacies, and environmental data for map preparation. Card or tape computer output can be printed rapidly on data sheets and then plotted manually on maps or automatic plotting equipment may be used to print the output directly on base maps.

The use of electronic computers makes practical the computations necessary to distinguish between trends, or large-scale effects such as regional dip, influencing an entire region under consideration, and anomalies or small-scale effects influencing only small parts of a region. These computations that would require several months to do manually can be performed in several minutes by a high speed computer.

The use of electronic computers for quantitative electrical log analysis makes the analysis of many horizons in hundreds or even thousands of wells practical. These data may be used for exploration purposes and for more rapid, complete evaluations of well productive potential.

Electronic computers permit rapid and accurate analysis of gravity and aeromagnetic data. The calculation of second derivatives and sophisticated methods for upward and downward continuation of the gravity or magnetic field are amenable to computer solution. The theoretical gravity or magnetic effect resulting from a known, or hypothetical, structure can be determined in detail rapidly by an electronic computer.

Automatic plotters enable large volumes of results to be made immediately available in their most useful form thereby retaining the advantage of the computer's speed.

Computers are available within major companies, and to smaller organizations and independents through service bureaus. Converting large volumes geological data to a form suitable for computer input can be done economically with proper planning by computer-oriented geologists. The exploration geo logists should become sufficiently familiar with computers to recognize problems in which they can be used advantageously. A geologist who wants to use the computer for a particular problem should consult with people trained in the use of computers and preferably with experience in scientific or engineering computing.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Pan American Petroleum Corporation, Tulsa, Oklahoma

January 14, 1963

Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society