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Tulsa Geological Society


Tulsa Geological Society Digest
Vol. 38 (1970-1971), Pages 26-26

Petroleum Potential of the United States: Abstract

Ira H. Cram1


Important oil and gas fields continue to be found in unusual and surprising geological environments. Each discovery improves the petroleum geologist's understanding of the habitat of oil, and sharpens his oil finding ability. An adequate supply of domestic petroleum in the future depends upon such unique discoveries to a greater extent than in the past.

The existence of many more such accumulations and others at customary or greater depths in both the less explored and more thoroughly explored areas is not doubted by the authors of the Association's Memoir 15 "Future Petroleum Provinces of the United States." They have approached the problems of the country's petroleum potential positively, not negatively, and have expressed their opinions qualitatively and usually quantitatively. An enormous amount of oil and new geological and other exploratory data has been assembled which should provoke alternate opinions leading to additional discoveries.

The extent to which the vast petroleum resources are reduced to possession depends on the impact of ever-changing economic and political events upon the rising tide of technological competence and knowledge. The role of the petroleum geologist as earth scientist, explorer and salesman is destined to grow in importance, particularly onshore in the conterminous United States where a significant percentage of the visualized undiscovered crude oil and natural gas is in stratigraphic traps, combination stratigraphic and structural traps, reefs, and complex structural situations.

Clearly a great deal more exploratory drilling is needed, not only to explore such traps, but to provide much needed geological and production data in the large undrilled areas. To the extent industry and government policies militate against expanded exploration, particularly drilling, a large part of the petroleum resources will rest uselessly in the ground.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Consultant, Austin, Texas

April 19, 1971

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