The same basic fundamentals for hydrocarbon accumulation apply for small accumulations as they do for large accumulations, and those basic principles should always be applied. However, hydrocarbon exploration has become more challenging as larger discoveries are less prolific and smaller accumulations, as well as unconventional resources, require more technological advancements in order to be economically feasible. Due to these challenges, it is essential to discover and evaluate new methods and standards in petroleum geology. This topic explores these methods and standards, such as the classification of different basin types and the requirements involved with the five phases of hydrocarbon exploration. This topic further evaluates the processes involved with maturation, the categorization of organic matter and how it relates to the anticipated hydrocarbon type, and the migration of hydrocarbons and their relationship to porosity and permeability of different rock types. Types of trapping mechanisms involved with hydrocarbon accumulation and both technical and economic risks involved in petroleum geology are also identified. By exploring these methods and standards, perhaps future challenges and risks can be minimized in the field of petroleum exploration.