Plate tectonics is a topic that is ingrained into the modern geoscientists psyche and accepted as a given. So much so that it is difficult to imagine a time when it wasn’t an accepted truth. However, less than a hundred years ago it was a subject of ridicule and rejected by many a fine geoscientist as an implausibility. In the November’s addition of AAPG Explorer, Henry Edmundsen and Mark Mau published an article entitled “Tectonic Shock Waves in the Oil Industry”, in which they document the history of plate tectonics from the earliest observations and theories, the widespread disregard for plate tectonics and its final acceptance as the “grand unifying theory”. The application of plate tectonic theory has enabled geoscientists to explain many academic curiosities which would otherwise have remained a mystery, and most importantly it has had profound implications on the oil industry. It provides us with an appreciation for the distribution of potential petroleum systems elements, the timing of trap formation and valuable insight into potential analogues. All of which have contributed to our ability to extend plays beyond where we would have thought them to be a viable option. Edmundsen and Mau go on to state how the concept of plate tectonics now form “a core element of software applications such as the Neftex Earth Model”. The Neftex Earth Model is now owned by Neftex, a Halliburton company and the authors provide an excellent summary of what the Neftex Earth Model is and the potential power that holds
A copy of “Tectonic Shocks in the Oil Industry” can be found on the AAPG’s website.