Promising new technology detects hydrocarbons down to 20,000 feet
A Southern California company has reported completion of a new oil exploration survey using technology that detects natural energy currents created by solar flares and lightning.
Ed Johnson, President of the Orange County based company eField Exploration, said that they completed an aerial survey of over 3,100 miles of existing oil and gas fields and other land in Texas using a developing technology which reveals the location of water and oil down to 20,000 feet or more below the surface.
This new generation of “Electro-Magnetotelluric” technology is mounted on an airborne platform and makes use of advances in computer analysis and systems. The maps and colorful GIS graphics that result provide pictures of geophysical structures deeper than commonly used exploration technologies.
For years now, geoscientists have been focusing efforts using similar electromagnetic technologies on mineral exploration. But recently, with the rise is the price of oil, strategic interests have shifted and a few companies are placing more emphasis on the search for oil close to home.
“We’re getting ready to fly surveys over the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado and Wyoming,” Johnson said.
The eField system detects the presence of hydrocarbons by reading patterns associated with natural electric currents known scientifically as Telluric currents which are induced by solar flares and lightning and penetrate deep to the earth’s core. Charges effects occur at the interface of water and dissolved hydrocarbons – an effect now called NFIP (Natural Field Induced Polarization) in the literature. The accumulation of these charges and their migration to the surface (seep columns) is mapped by the eField Airborne EMT System.
“We’re taking a look at areas with long histories of production where we are able to map against existing supplies of oil and gas and then identify the untouched areas – the greenfields,” Johnson said. “We’re filling in gaps in our knowledge. ”
The chart shows flight line data and Total Electric Field readings, which in the first step of analysis are compared, to the Total Magnetic Field. Computer analysis is used to compute Apparent Resistivity and Natural Field Induced Polarization. The polarization occurs at the water-hydrocarbon interface identifying oil and gas anomalies from surface to 20,000 feet or more. The resulting analysis yields three-dimensional pictures of the underground structures.
The eField system is different than technologies that rely on spectral imaging, gravity or magnetic measurements. These and other indirect measurement systems like seismic geophysical technology, require time consuming interpretation leading to many anomalies or targets that do not contain oil.
Johnson explained that the new development is that this is a “direct detection” technology. “Every mineral has it’s own characteristics and gives special numerical readings,” he said.
Johnson believes this new airborne technology has potential to significantly reduce the lead-time to new discoveries.
“We’re now giving this data to the guys who love to punch holes in the ground,” Johnson said. “It’s a very promising technology and we believe that it can be used to survey in areas previously abandoned by the major oil companies. We can just as easily create new maps of underground cave systems and it has potential uses in uranium and diamond exploration.”
Several US patents cover the technology. The eField Airborne EMT System is the creation of Dr. Anthony Barringer, credited by many as the leading inventor of Airborne Exploration Technology. Other technology developed by Dr. Barringer is now used at every airport worldwide for bomb detection.
For more information visit www.efieldexploration.com
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