Survey respondents were mostly geologists, but quite a few geophysicists also participated. More than 65% of the respondents were from North America.

In a recent survey done by Seismic Micro-Technology (SMT) at the annual American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) meeting in Denver, Colo., an interesting pattern arose among the data. With 101 people taking the survey, the sampling was relatively small, but there were still a relatively broad range of answers for most of the questions.

Survey respondents were mostly geologists, but quite a few geophysicists also participated. More than 65% of the respondents were from North America.

The survey asked for predictions regarding the future of the oil and gas industry. When asked when we would reach global peak oil, more than 30% of the participants answered between the next 10 and 20 years. Some believed it had already occurred, while others didn’t think it will happen for another several decades.

Respondents were more bullish on the price of oil. Almost 80% of the participants believed that the price of a barrel of oil will be between $50 and $100 by June 2010. Five years into the future, they seemed less sure of the answer. Almost 50% of the participants said the price of a barrel of oil would be between $100 and $150. But many believe the price will remain the same, somewhere between $50 and $100, five years from now. Only two people thought it would be below $50 for a barrel.

When they were asked “In 2009, which of the following is most likely for your company's overall exploration budget?” two answers were relatively close. 45% believe it that their budget will increase, and 37% believe it will stay the same. Only a small percentage thought that the budget would be decreased.

A hot topic in these times of economic trouble is the discussion of unconventional gas. SMT asked the participants what their company's investment in unconventional gas exploration will be in 2009. About 35% said that it will increase, allowing for more research on this new play concept. But 32% of the respondents don’t have any investment in unconventional gas plays at all.

These results are surprisingly positive for the crisis that is currently engulfing the world. But it is good to see that while it may be hard times right now, people are looking to the future with a positive eye and hoping that things will get better.