Phase 1: Exploration
Oil exploration typically depends to detect geophysical sophisticated technology and determine the extent of possible structures. Areas thought to contain hydrocarbons are initially gravity survey to identify magnetic survey and regional seismic reflection surveys undergone large-scale features of the geology below the surface. Characteristics of interest are subjected to more seismic surveys to refine the understanding of the subsurface structure. Finally, if a prospect identified and assessed positively, an exploration and drilling in an attempt to clearly identify the presence or absence of oil or gas. Oil and gas exploration is an expensive, high risk with a probability that is not found, or that the hydrocarbons are found in such small quantities that it is not worth making. In the North Sea only about one in eight exploration wells are quantities of oil and gas, to develop economically. It often takes several years from the award of an exploration license for the drilling of the first well.