An exploration geologist is a person who uses specialized knowledge of the Earth's surface to discover resources of value. Usually, this type of geologist is used for oil exploration. They may also be used for natural gas as well. An exploration geologist may not always meet with success, but there is a better chance of success if a company utilizes the services of such an expert. Otherwise, drilling for oil, or other resources, becomes a significant gamble.
Often, becoming an exploration geologist will require an advanced degree in geology. The most discerning of employers will also require several years of experience. Thus, finding a job on the general market may be hard to do. For those who want to pursue this career, it may be best to develop contacts through internships, and secure an entry-level job while still in college.
An exploration geologist may use a number of different techniques to help detect fossil fuels. The most significant tool at the disposal of such a geologist will be drill samples. These samples will be cored from the Earth's crust. Tests may help a geologist show where the most effective drilling areas may be. In addition to finding the resources needed, the core samples may also show where the easiest places to drill will be. This helps not only find the resources, but to harvest them in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
An exploration geologist may spend nearly as much time outdoors as they will indoors. Outdoor work will include scoping out a sight and looking at rock formations on the surface, and possibly even supervising the drilling process. Once the core has been drilled, it may be taken to a makeshift laboratory for testing and analysis. Even with the tests, which may indicate a strong likelihood of oil, there are times when the oil will not be in sufficient enough quantities, or may prove too hard to get to. Instead of giving up on the general site, the exploration geologist may then recommend another nearby drilling location.
The career of an exploration geologist may be considered by some to be a very difficult lifestyle. It often requires many months spent at very remote locations. Those who have families may not see them very often. The locations are often so remote that the only access is by boat or aircraft. These locations are often not set up for those with families, meaning the only option is to leave them at a nearby village or outpost. The benefit to this harsh lifestyle is a salary well above the average of what many professionals may make.