A prospect is developed by a geologist acquiring a base map and collecting the well logs that are local to the area. By correlating and making interpretations from the well logs, the geoscientist can create maps and cross-sections that show the different layers in the subsurface and the structure that is associated with the area. From this information, he can select areas to explore based on science and his knowledge of the area.

There are two types of traps that create accumulations of oil and gas. These are structural traps and stratigraphic traps. It is very common for these two types to form combination traps.

Oil Hydrocarbo traps

Courtesy of Fettes College

After the boundaries of the prospect are delineated by mapping out the area, seismic data may be obtained to support the prospect.


Structural Fault Trap (on the flank of a salt dome) Indicating Possible Accumulation of Oil or Gas.


Complex Structural Trap


1 – Combination Structural-Stratigraphic Trap (high side fault and shale out)

2 – Structural Trap (between 2 faults)


Seismic Line