Consultant shares tips for success in oil field

It wasn’t exactly how to win friends and influence people, but Dan Tearpock offered a crowded room of geologists and engineers tips on finding oil and gas Thursday.

Tearpock, founder of Subsurface Consultants & Associates, described “The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Oil Finders” at a conference sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

It’s not just about finding oil and gas, of course. Tearpock acknowledged that the goal is to find hydrocarbons that can be recovered economically.

The conference, held at the Norris Conference Center in West Houston, offered updates on established plays, including the Bakken, and emerging plays, including the Eaglebine, which is just up Interstate 45 from Houston.

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Some of Tearpock’s tips were reminders of what is often obvious in retrospect: “Poor planning leads to dry holes, and lots of them,” he said.

All require discipline. Taken together, he said the tips will ensure “more accurate estimates of resources and reserves and better than average success rates.”

Tearpock’s list:

1. Make sure interpretations are geologically and geometrically valid in three dimensions.

2. Have a classic background in geology and a thorough knowledge of the region in which you are working. “If you are put into an area of the world about which you know nothing, you better become an expert,” he said.

3. Plan your time and work to ensure accurate interpretation and maps. No calculating the reserves before you have all the data.

4. Use all data to ensure a three-dimensional, valid subsurface geological interpretation.

5. Ensure seismic and well data are loop-tied and correlated.

6. Know what methods, tools and techniques are needed to accurately interpret and map the subsurface.

7. Map all relevant geological horizons.

8. Map multiple horizons to develop reasonably correct three-dimensional interpretations.

9. Document your work. “How do you remember what technique you used?” Tearpock asked.

10. Seek mentors.