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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Tulsa Geological Society


Tulsa Geological Society Digest
Vol. 38 (1970-1971), Pages 27-27

Petroleum Exploration: Abstract

William C. Gussow1


Recent studies in petroleum exploration have been concerned with the application of reservoir and production engineering to the problems of migration and accumulation of gas and oil underground. The law of gravity explains the distribution of gas, oil, and water in a reservoir, but the principle of differential entrapment explains why many good traps are dry while adjacent structures are prolific oil fields. This simple principle explains why some traps are gas fields and contain no oil and why gas is trapped down-dip in some areas while synclinal oil occurs in others. In reality, the principle of differential entrapment carries the structural theory to its logical conclusion. Whenever two or more fluids of different gravities accumulate in a trap, the heavier fluid is displaced. This is a fundamental law and is the basis of differential entrapment. Every oil accumulation owes its origin to the fact that a lighter fluid (oil) displaces a heavier fluid (water). Without differential entrapment, there would be no oil fields.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Union Oil Company, La Brea, California

November 9, 1970

Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society