Oil and Gas-finding is an art that requires a creative flair. Modern theory says that creativity is a skill that can be learned and developed
through attention and practice. If oil is "first found in the mind" as Wallace Pratt taught us, then developing skills that enhance creativity should
be a goal of all explorationists.
What characterizes effective explorers? Are they creative? A study conducted by Norman Foster and myself
showed that effective explorationists are creative.
How is creativity related to petroleum exploration? Finding significant oil and gas accumulations involves creating new ideas. Parke Dickey
put it best when he said, “We usually find oil in a new place with an
old idea, sometimes we find oil with an old place with a new idea, but we
seldom find much oil in an oil place with an old idea. Several times in the past we thought we were running out of oil whereas actually we were
only running out of ideas.”
Is creativity all that characterizes effective explorers? No, besides creativity, there are many other personal traits
that they seem to possess such as persistence, resourcefulness, and enthusiasm.
Most of us don’t possess all of the traits of effective explorer
s and therefore being part of teams whose members have professional and personal
skills which complement our skills is an effective strategy. The lone explorationist who finds lots of oil or gas by themselves, without help, is a
Creative exploration is a skill. With attention and practice it can be learned and applied by anyone. Exposure to the theory and practice of
creativity in petroleum exploration gives explorationists a start toward the ultimate goal of being "oil finders".
Everyone needs to find their own
path to creativity. Some techniques are more effective for certain individuals than others.