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Heuristic processing is a more efficient and relatively automatic mode of processing, but more often than not confers less judgmental confidence. Systematic processing confers more confidence but is relatively effortful and time consuming. 


The objective of a heuristic algorithm is to apply a rule of thumb approach to produce a solution in a reasonable time frame that is good enough for solving the problem at hand. technique designed for solving a problem more quickly when classic methods are too slow, or for finding an approximate solution when classic methods fail to find any exact solution. 

At Running Foxes we have learned over 41 years in the business that using a heuristic approach, to resource exploration, rather than a systematic one, pays out the most.  The word heuristic originates from the ancient Greek word ‘eurisko’, meaning to ‘find’, ‘search’ or ‘discover’. It is about employing a practical method that focuses on salient and easily comprehended cues that activate well-learned judgmental shortcuts. Such practical methods include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgement, guesstimate, stereotyping, profiling, or common sense. Instead of undertaking an intensive, time-consuming evaluation practice that seeks to find an optimal location and drilling solution, we recognize that such pursuits are inherently impossible to achieve in a continuous landscape. This is evidenced by the fact no single Oil & Gas exploration and production company can claim to hit their targets 100%  of the time.  

As scientists, we are motivated to gain the full knowledge of a reservoirs properties and behavior, but as business men, we are motivated to learn exactly what we need to know and no more to arrive at a sufficient solution in the shortest amount of time. 


For instance, the constrained additive model postulates no order in which attributes are looked at and assumes exhaustive search for attributes. Yet a person that uses a lexicographic heuristic looks up attributes in order, and employs limited rather than exhaustive search. Although both procedures arrive at the same choice, the processes differ: The heuristic is faster and ignores information. Underlying the prevalent routine of modeling consumers’ preferences with an additive model are implicit assumptions about the purpose of modeling and the form that models should take in the social sciences.



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Determine Areas of Surface Microbial Anomalies 

Surface Geochemistry

The application of surface geochemical methods to finding petroleum is based on the detection of hydrocarbons in the soil that have leaked from a petroleum reservoir at depth. While the seal over the deposit was once considered impermeable, surface geochemistry data now show that such leakage is a common occurrence. Using iodine to detect hydrocarbons at the surface is the first step to decrease dryhole risk and justify more expensive studies. 

Determine Areas of Coherent Structure

Measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field gathered from aircraft. Magnetometers towed by an airplane or helicopter can measure the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field. The differences between actual measurements and  values indicate anomalies in the magnetic field, which in turn represent changes in rock type or in thickness of rock units. Gravity and magnetic methods can assist in tectonics and structural mapping, depth-to-basement, identification of salt diapirs, identification of volcanics, determination of sediment thickness, delineation of sediment fairways, and the mapping of intra-sedimentary anomalies. Gravity and magnetic data can assist in seismic modeling and in the determination of seismic processing parameters



Determine Areas of Structural Activity


Seismic exploration is the search for oil and gas bearing formations by the recording, processing, and interpretation of artificially induced shock waves. The travel times of the returned seismic energy, integrated with existing borehole well information, help to estimate the structure (folding and faulting) and stratigraphy (rock type, depositional environment, and fluid content) of subsurface formations. Running Foxes conducts both 2D and 3D seismic surveys. In unexplored areas, 2D seismic is sufficient for identifying the gross structural elements. In areas of known hydrocarbons, especially where nearby wells exist, the more sophisticated and expensive 3D seismic is preferred for its finer resolution of structure element detail. 


Wichita, Kansas 67205
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Determine Areas of Greatest Saturation


Pioneered by Gary Hainke in 2008, HMPA is the study of electrical pulses that are produced when natural energy at the earth’s subsurface interacts with fluids at depth, primarily oil and salt water, and produce unique electrical pulses. Unlike seismic that looks for structure HMPA identifies where the thickest columns of oil exist, how much water, and where the approximate reservoir boundaries are.  

Determine Subsurface Formation Characteristics


Well logging, also known as borehole logging is the practice of making a detailed record (a well log) of the subsurface geologic formations penetrated by a borehole: their depths and events encountered while drilling. The log may be based either on visual inspection of samples brought to the surface (geological logs) or on physical measurements made by instruments lowered into the hole (geophysical logs).

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Delineate Risk Segments and Sweet Spots

gis VISUALIZATION & modeling

A data model structures and harmonizes data gathered from all other surveys, logs, & studies. It sets the level of detail of the data content and demands precise definitions, which thereby set the data’s standard of quality. It also shows the relationships and dependencies among the data. Using ArcGIS Pro & the Exploration Analyst, we can perform play fairway analysis and risk mapping, calculate basin & field statistics, and get a 3D interpretation of the results


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Dr. Steven Tedesco


Surface Geochemistry can be an integral part in finding conventional petroleum reservoirs when used in conjunction with subsurface and seismic data

September 15-18, 2019 – AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Posted: January 16, 2020

Dr. Steven Tedesco
PhD, Petroleum Geology, Colorado School of Mines

American Association of Petroleum Geologists

38 Articles

Society of Petroleum Engineers

10 Articles