All of the efforts of the petroleum landmen, geologists, and geophysicists, and everyone else involved in leasing and exploration activities up to this point must culminate in adecision by the management of the petroleum company to either drill or not drill a well. If the exploration activities conducted thus far have not found encouraging indications for the accumulation ofpetroleum in the area being explored, the leases held in the area will likely be dropped. If exploration activities have been encouraging, however, a decision will likely be made to drill anexploratory well. Such a decision may require the commitment of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the drilling program. In this section we will discuss the activities related to thedrilling of an exploratory well. State regulations regarding drilling, development, and production will be discussed in a subsequent section.
The selection of the drill site isbased largely on the geological evidence indicating the possible accumulation of petroleum. The exploration company will want to drill the well at the most advantageous location for the discovery of oilor gas. Surface conditions, however, must also be taken into consideration when selecting the drill site. There must be a nearly level area of sufficient size on which to erect the drilling rig,excavate reserve pits, and provide storage for all of the materials and equipment that will be required for the drilling program. All of the required legal matters need to have been attended to, such asacquiring a drilling permit, surveying of the drill site, and so on. When all of these matters have been resolved, the work on site preparation will begin.
Once the drill sitehas been selected and surveyed, a contractor or contractors will move in with equipment to prepare the location. If necessary, the site will be cleared and leveled. A large pit will be constructed...