Skip to main content

How to Find Oil on Your Land

Initial searches for oil on land usually require the skills of geologists and geophysicists. These searches are often conducted by small exploration companies called wildcats.


  • Step 1: Look for surface indications of oil Look for obvious signs of oil on the surface of your land.
  • TIP: Surface indications might include oil seeps or petroleum residue in soil samples.
  • Step 2: Look for correlations Look for correlations on your land with the sites of other wells, matching fossils, rock properties, and electrical and radioactivity data. These correlations may predict where oil-bearing strata begin on your property.
  • Step 3: Study gravitational variations Study variations in the earth's gravitational field on your land. If very light oil-bearing rocks are found near the surface, the gravitational force they exert will be less than that for heavy rocks.
  • Step 4: Study the magnetic properties Study the magnetic properties of the underlying rocks on the property. Most rocks that contain oil are non-magnetic.
  • Step 5: Study sound transmission Study the way sound travels through the earth on your land. The time it takes sound to travel through underlying rocks is characteristic of the types of rocks involved.
  • TIP: Don't forget to acquire the mineral rights on your land if you have not done so already. Doing so will ensure that if you find oil, it's legally yours.
  • Step 6: Drill a small test well Drill a small test well if the results of your studies are promising. Now you can sell your oil-rich land and move to Beverly Hills.
  • FACT: John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870, the country's first oil company.

You Will Need

  • Surface indications
  • Geological correlations
  • Gravitational field variations
  • Magnetic properties
  • Sound wave velocities
  • Test well

Popular Categories