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When the government awards an operating company a licence to explore for oil and gas within a specified area of the North Sea, the company gathers data to determine whether there are likely to be any oil and/or gas deposits deep below the seabed. The initial stages of surveying the area will focus on building up a picture of the areas above and beneath the seabed. Later in the process of exploration, more detailed and precise data will be required of the potential site.

There are many methods of surveying, all of which help to build up the picture of the rock formations below the seabed. Magnetic surveying examines the force of gravity along the seabed, satellite surveying provides aerial pictures, and seismic surveying gives more detailed views of the buried rock formations by the use of sound waves that reflect off the different rock layers.


The geologist will use the seismic data to reconstruct the subsurface configuration to locate possible sites of oil traps. As the oil is found within porous rock they will also calculate the percentage of oil that could possibly be extracted from the reservoir. The geologist will work closely with the geophysicist.


The geophysicist will interpret the seismic data and build up the picture of the subsurface by using his or her knowledge of the past changes in the earth's structure. The geophysicist will work closely with the geologist.

Current geoscience jobs
Current geophysics jobs
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