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For decades, the oil industry has employed a working model for hydrocarbon exploration in which large-scale geophysical surveys are undertaken prior to a second phase of intensive, targeted drilling. This latter phase may be conducted in conjunction with further focused geophysical studies. The geophysical surveys provide lateral coverage and continuity that are used to drive placement of drilling locations. The reason for this approach is simple: wells are expensive relative to geophysical surveys. Also, practical limits on lateral coverage preclude optimization of exploration targets based on well information alone.

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This document was originally published by Society of Exploration Geophysicists in The Leading Edge. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1190/tle32070750.1.