The category of ''potential effect'' is inherent to scientific developments in oil geology. This effect is associated with a quantity of labor in the sphere of scientific research which is embodied in the extracted information and stored until its complete use in production. The potential effect can be predicted. It is an indicator of economic effectiveness of scientific research. Distribution of the coefficient of creativity (innovation) for scientific research for geological exploration is suggested. The system of calculating the economic effect contains real stimuli for increasing economic efficiency. The most important of them are: establishment of the most promising trends for geological exploration which guarantee maximum increase in hydrocarbon reserves; decrease in net cost which will guarantee the obtaining of great profit; conducting of research on a higher level, in a large quantity of stages of work. This results in an increase in the percentage of participation of science in the production process, and this means, an increase in its economic effectiveness.