As natural gas becomes an increasingly popular resource for baseload electrical power, experts have debated the extent and availability of American supply.

In this video, one of Chevron’s seismic specialist Julia Baggs explains how the company uses technology to locate underground stores of natural gas and oil and decide where to drill exploration wells.

Shale rock, she explains, is more like a sponge than a solid rock. Pore spaces have stored tiny hydrocarbon molecules for thousands of years. And although the technology is quite advanced, even the experts sometimes make mistakes, she says in this video.

“We don’t know what’s really down there till we drill that well,” Baggs says.

In Finding Natural Gas Takes Science, And Luck, Margaret Ryan describes some of the most advanced 3-D Seismic tools that are now being used to find underground pockets of hydrocarbons. Hear her describe the technology in this podcast.