Oil Exploration: Uses and Benefits of Geological Survey

Posted: September 27, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Economy

By John Deng Ateny, Perth, Western Australia

September 27, 2016 (SSB) — Geological survey is an integration of location’s geological composition, recording of its structural and stratigraphical formation. The survey investigates mineral endowment, rock composition, hydrological distribution, plate tectonic and other natural hazards. This information are compiled in a geological survey map.

The main purpose of geological survey maps is to create a single source of information relating to resources and natural hazards. These maps assist governments (central and states), local councils and other government agencies in making important decisions.

They are used in land planning, engineering projects, infrastructure planning etcetera. Marking high risk zones on the maps save citizens, organisations and governments from making misguided investments. It also assist land allocation agencies in maximising land use and land value.

Available mineral information from geological survey assist potential explorers with much needed reconnaissance, hence promotes exploration investments. Providing geoscientific data to the exploration industry improves exploration efficiency and help reduces exploration risk. The existing geological maps offer geological understanding of the local tenements to explorers.

Governments and Resource agencies have single source data to showcase the potential mineral endowments in the country. This is an important tool for advertising and attracting potential investors, negotiating and recording device for country’s mineral wealth with interested stakeholders.

In addition to collation of minerals and hydrocarbon distribution, geological survey maps are also use to record natural hazard and are therefore use in risk management plan. The maps are especially essential in land and urban planning, engineer designs, construction industry and in major infrastructure design.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Jebel quarry. Apart from its proximity to the city’s build up areas and Juba CBD, the excavation exposed north south displacement fault which was traced through to the opposite side of Jebel hill. The decision to situate a quarry proximal to the city centre is urban planners’ issue to address. However, continuous blast movement along the fault from quarry, however minor is poor thought and ill-advised decision.

Furthermore, Juba is famously known for its zazal; frequent minor seismic tremors. Such occurrences are identify by carry out geological survey. Geoscientists must investigate and records the causes of these tremors. They also must make recommendations with regards to short and long term impact on the city. The city may be sitting on active plate, fault line or in rare instances on active volcanoes.

Against all economic odds, construction is a booming industry in Juba. Construction estates are propping up everywhere. Erecting permanent buildings in such a major city with no geology survey and geotechnical engineer land testing advice is a major risk. Some multi-millions projects may be situated on sinkholes or on karst environment. Without proper insurances, this will be money down the drain, should disaster occur.

Nevertheless, South Sudan is not alien to sinkhole events. There is a local tale about people swallowed up by land during local festival dance at Magoth in Jonglei or Pibor Administrative Area 150km from Juba. Although this tale is yet to be confirmed. It is analogous to sinkholes events around the world.

The other concerning natural hazards are landslide, Aeolian storm, rockfall, earthquake, flooding, liquefaction, land subsidence, tsunamis and volcanoes. While some hazards are unlikely in South Sudan, some are real threats. Geoscience and geotechnical engineering advices regarding the above hazard are valuable.

Technical recommendations will assist planners make safe decision and adopt scientifically supported building codes. They influence allocation of national reserves, game parks, major roads, airports and settlement sites.

A modern nation state such as South Sudan would use modern knowledge and better geoscientific understanding in planning urban centres to avoid mistakes other country made due to lack of present understandings.

It is cheaper to Plan technically guided settlement than dealing with its inherent cost in the long run. Some of the major cities in the world are force to adopt unconventional more expensive earthquake resistance building code to avert frequent earthquake related cost. The budget of cleaning up after incidences and the ongoing running cost of natural hazard prone cities are exponentially high.

Besides hard minerals and petroleum industry, geoscience service is important and in high demand. Geoscience collaborate with other industries to address national and local benefits as well as hazards and make recommendation where required.

In summary, South Sudan has the skill, technology and the manpower to deliver on this service. Relevant agencies must Engage science, engineering and technological community to achieve this goal.

As you have seen, geological survey is an integral part of country’s development. Acquisition of geoscience data involves multidisciplinary teams. It demand diverse skills to acquire, collate, interpret and compile. It is use in country’s wealth estimate, determination of settlement and in planning country’s major infrastructure.

Disclaimer, the information on this paper is based on author’s knowledge and inference, there is no scientific data use in the production of this information. No part of this paper is claiming any scientifically tested hypothesis.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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