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Total 3D seismic onshore - a disruptive transition!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The Geological Society

2nd Finding Petroleum event on onshore seismic

Offshore, 3D and 4D seismic have transformed the way we approach both exploration and reservoir management.

Onshore, we are 20 years behind. The key question is: can we escape from the high Costs and Safety risks of cable-based seismic onshore?

There now seem to be at least 3 promising avenues:

  • "Smart" use of sources - for example, the approaches pioneered by BP in North Africa.
  • Wireless seismic - for example, the initiatives of Shell/HP, Wireless Seismic, iSeis
  • Passive seismic - using nodes, as offered for example by Spectraseis.

that promise a 'disruptive transition'.
As you will gather, we forsee major changes in the world of onshore seismic: in particular, we are advancing the notion of "Total Seismic" in which conventional 3D and 4D, permanent monitoring, passive seismic and the recording of micro-seismic data are integrated to yield a sub-surface image.

This Forum is designed for oil & gas companies looking to find out how they can transform their onshore operations - and for seismic and technology companies with new ideas, new approaches, new technologies to explain what they have.


9:00 Arrivals and Registration
9:30 David Bamford -
New Eyes Exploration

Welcome & Introduction

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David Bamford is well known around the oil & gas industry both as an explorer and a geophysicist. He holds a Physics degree from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Birmingham.

Since 2004, he has been a non-executive director at Tullow Oil plc, being recruited for this position especially for his exploration knowledge. He serves on the Nominations and Remuneration Committees, and was chairman of the latter, and Senior Independent Director, for 3 years prior to his retire from the board at the end of April 2014.

He was on the board of Premier Oil from May 2014 to May 2016.

He retired from BP plc in 2003, his last four positions being Chief Geophysicist (1990-1995), Business Unit Leader (General Manager) for first West Africa and then Norway (1995-1999), and finally Head of Exploration until 2003.

He has served on the boards of Paras Ltd, a small exploration and IS/IT consulting company in which he held 22% equity, until its sale to RPS Energy in 2008 and Welltec a/s, a Danish well engineering company, as the nominee of the private equity investor Riverside.
From 2012 to 201 he was on the board of ASX-quoted Australia Oriental Energy as a non-executive director.

He was a founder of Richmond Energy Partners, a small oil & gas research house, and several media companies that focus on the oil & gas sector, and has served as an advisor to Alliance Bernstein, Opus Executive, the Parkmead Group plc, and Kimmeridge Energy LLP. Since retiring from BP, he has undertaken asset and company valuation projects for investment banks, hedge funds and small oil companies.

New Eyes Exploration
New Eyes Exploration, founded by David Bamford, explores new ways to discover Oil and Gas.
9:40 Bob Heath - Technical Marketing Manager

Future-seismic: how universal hardware will improve our ability to find oil

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Talk Description
If one were to judge the science of geophysics by its demonstrated ability to keep the planet topped up with new hydrocarbon reserves, then it would receive high marks and rank as one of the most successful practical branches of science known to man. However, in terms of reflection seismology at least, if one were to examine the field by how intelligently it has used the wide array of technologies that has been at its disposal for the last few decades, then it would receive a “could do better”. The exciting news is that there are signs that it is indeed now getting round to doing better and will do even better in the future.

Whereas, previously, technologies tended to be classified in well-defined compartments of operational capability with little overlap, the modern era sees that more flexibility is both necessary and possible. Thus, old hardware which previously was good just for one of two types of operation is now being replaced by products which can be used over a spectrum of requirements. Ever more new systems are being given a chance to prove their worth, and there are no signs that the industry will revert to its narrow and semi-monopolist ways.

One area which helped get this era into full swing was the realisation that large numbers of independent sources operating under some form of smart programmable rule based control could give improvements in productivity and data quality not dreamed of before. The next logical step was to give similar independence to recording channels as well, so as not to be restricted by cable, forced geometry or minimal functionality. This not only started to make active acquisition more efficient but also allowed the newer but rapidly growing markets for passive and microseismic monitoring to benefit from advances in other areas of instrumentation.

All such inter-linking technologies are part of what is being called "future-seismic". It is an approach where solving problems of geophysical acquisition is now far less restricted by the weakness of some single subsystem. But even more, it is where items of new versatile hardware can be used for tasks which were not even thought of at the time of their design.

If we actively learn how to embrace these less restrictive technologies, it may be that at some time in the future, the industry will come to consider this period as a true Renaissance in exploration; the point when the generation of novel ideas and products was at its zenith. Geophysicists will no longer be limited by hardware, just their imaginations.

This opening talk investigates the technologies that got us this far, and those likely to take us much further.
Professional Qualification: Previous Vice Chairman SEG Technical Standards Committee, SEG Silver Medal. Member of EAGE, SEG, PESGB. BSc (Hons) Physics, University of Southampton.

Experience & Organization: Involved in land seismic acquisition techniques, engineering and marketing since 1976. Written large number of articles and papers, given talks, on modern land acquisition. Probably given more talks/articles on cablefree acquisition and future land recording instrumentation than any other.

Accomplishments: Involved in the start up of large number of new seismic instrumentation companies, research and marketing of new seismic systems and techniques. At forefront internationally of bringing new technologies to improve land seismic.

iSeis is part of the Seismic Source Company, established about ten years ago to research and design
10:15 Sandeep Gulati -

Convergence of 3D-Seismic and Surface Microseismic

ViaLogy was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA
10:50 Coffee & Tea
11:15 Michael Lambert - President and Chief Operating Officer
Wireless Seismic

Wireless Progresses!

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Talk Description
“Wireless Progresses!” Roy Kligfield (CEO)& Mick Lambert (COO)--Wireless Seismic, Inc.

The application of wireless technology to the oil industry has substantially lagged behind its adoption in the cellular telecommunications industry. Wireless technology is best known to consumers through the success of GSM and CDMA air interface protocols and networks to serve hundreds of millions of users throughout the world with a reliable and scalable service offering. Land seismic acquisition, however, has traditionally relied on the use of cables to power the acquisition instruments, and to transport the seismic data to a central location through cabled telemetry protocols. Land seismic acquisition has long been handicapped by the logistical issues relating to the use of cables to connect acquisition instruments. The problems of deploying and maintaining cabled networks, re-locating cables in order to move the spread, repairing cables—have acted as constraints on the growth in size and scope of land seismic acquisition projects worldwide.

In the recent past, two approaches are being adapted in order to overcome these barriers: First, instruments are being deployed as “dumb” nodes whose data has to be collected, harvested and transcribed in order to make it ready for processing; and second, instruments are being deployed with the capability to wirelessly transport the seismic data to a central location in real time. Whereas the nodal approach has been successful at eliminating the use of cables, it unfortunately introduces the need to visit the instruments physically, to collect (harvest) the data from the instruments, and to prepare the downloaded data (transcription) for input into industry standard formats. And most notable of all, the nodal approach precludes any chance of viewing the seismic data itself (not just the quality control parameters of the data) in real time—one of the major advantages of using a cabled system.

Wireless Seismic has introduced a solution to the marketplace that both eliminates the cables while preserving the real-time nature of the seismic data collection, and doing so with an architecture that is designed to scale-up to very high channel count systems. This presentation reviews the initial results of field deployments using this architecture in both remote and urban environments. A review of some of the system capabilities and limitations in terms of network throughputs, radio interference issues in urban environments, and the use of different sources will be given. Based on its initial deployments, it is believed that the solution is entirely capable of being scaled up in the near future to support the large channel counts demanded in land seismic operations.
Mr. Lambert joined Wireless Seismic in December 2010 after serving as President for Ikon Science Americas Inc. Before serving with Ikon, Mr. Lambert spent 16 years as President and CEO of GX Technology Corporation (GXT), building GXT into a top-tier provider of advanced subsurface imaging services and basin-scale, multi-client, seismic surveys. Mick's seismic experience before GXT included nine years with Seiscom Delta and four years with CogniSeis Development.

Wireless Seismic
Wireless Seismic, Inc. was founded in 2006 with a single purpose: to design and develop a wireless r
11:50 Denis Mougenot - Chief Geophysicist

3D seismic onshore: should the transition be disruptive?

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Talk Description
3D seismic onshore: should the transition be disruptive?

Over the last ten years cable systems have improved tremendously to provide all the necessary tools for cost-effective land acquisition in most environments. Compared to the systems of the past century, the weight of field equipment has been divided by ten and its power consumption by three. The heavy strings of geophones are being gradually replaced by single digital sensors based on tiny MEMS accelerometers. In open areas, data from large spread (up to 200 km²) and very high channel-count (up to 100,000) configurations are recorded and quality controlled in real-time via multi-path cable telemetry. With the advent of GPS timing, cableless systems have been developed to complement or replace cable systems in difficult-to-access or environmentally sensitive areas. Today, a compact PC-based central unit is able to manage from the recorder a hybrid cable and cableless spread. On a day-to-day basis, it will complete a single shot-point file (SegD) combining data from both systems in a consistent manner. On the source side, multiple fleets made up of a single vibrator (up to 18) are managed simultaneously, providing an enormous increase in productivity (up to 45,000 records per day). All these shots can be used to acquire at the same time as the surface seismic program 3D VSP’s using long-array borehole tools (100 x 3C levels, 1.5 km).
As a result of these constant improvements, land acquisition has overtaken marine acquisition in terms of productivity, data density and azimuthal distribution. More sources can be used thanks to signal coding (sweep) and to the lower price of vibrators compared to vessels. On the receiver side, active spreads may encompass up to ten times the amount of channels than the typical high-capacity configuration of towed streamers. With the sources shooting at the middle of a high aspect ratio onshore receiver template a regular full-azimuth distribution of the ray paths can easily be obtained. The total wavefield (PP + PS waves) is often recorded using affordable 3C accelerometers. As a result, the daily record productivity on land (more than 200 million traces and 2TB of data) is getting significantly higher than in marine and the cost by trace is getting lower (e.g. $0.0045 vs. $0.0068 for comparable large land and marine wide azimuth surveys). However, due to complex terrain and heterogeneous weathering zone, the signal-to-noise ratio of land data is highly degraded requiring many more traces per surface unit to obtain comparable image quality to marine data. This explains why the cost per square kilometer on land can be 10 times or even 70 times (depending on terrain conditions) more expensive than at sea.
Could a “disruptive transition” make a dramatic cost reduction possible for land seismic when acquisition equipment and methodology are already more efficient than in marine? At both ends of a highly segmented onshore market signs are more or less encouraging. The many benefits of cableless systems have been demonstrated, for example in the sweet spot delineation of unconventional reservoirs in populated areas where often radio systems were previously used. However, these advantages do not necessarily apply to the high-end market for which clients require very dense datasets (up to 50 million traces per km²) over large areas. This segment requires moving spreads with high channel count to image the complex subsurface, illuminate deep targets or to improve the frequency content at the reservoir levels. Handling so many independent cableless stations (several tens of thousands), each one connected to a battery and requiring specific data harvesting and QC, is not yet convenient. Looking forward, only advanced cable systems can pave the way towards the one million channel acquisition system as required by some clients in a near future (10 years?). However, this will not be at the same price, with the same weight and manpower as today’s surveys. Due to the physical barriers specific to the onshore environment, we should not expect the same quality on land to be available for the same price as at sea.

Denis Mougenot has been Sercel’s Chief Geophysicist since 2002, when he moved from Saudi Arabia to France. He is responsible for promoting new acquisition systems for high-productivity Vibroseis and high-density 3D surveys. Denis has a special interest in low-frequency recording and 3C MEMS accelerometers.

Prior to joining Sercel, he was Area Geophysicist for ARGAS, working for the Geophysical R&D Division of Saudi Aramco. Previously, he was Head of the former CGG’s Seismic Imaging Group in France involved with depth imaging, reservoir characterization and seismic monitoring. Denis holds a PhD in Geodynamics from the University of Paris. He has authored over 75 articles in Geology and Geophysics. He is an active member of the EAGE, SEG, SGF and AAPG.

As a worldwide leader in the seismic acquisition industry for over 50 years, Sercel continues to des
12:25 Jean-Jacques Postel - Senior Vice President

Dukhan 3D: An ultra high density, full wide azimuth seismic survey for the future

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Talk Description
This paper presents a case study on the logistics and acquisition of an ultra high density and full wide azimuth 3D seismic survey across the Dukhan field in Qatar. This survey represents a step change in seismic data acquisition with greatly enhanced data quality by full wide azimuth and very dense spatial sampling. It is expected that this survey will set an industry standard for seismic acquisition leading to improved field redevelopment.

The Dukhan field is a large oil field in Qatar established in 1941, it contains over 700 wells producing from 4 major reservoirs. It has a rather complex history of production & development strategies; starting with natural pressure depletion for more than 20 years, followed by power water injection since 1989 and gas cap cycling since 1998. As other large mature Middle East oil fields, Dukhan also witnessed large changes in technology over the last 60 years.

In order to maximize the long term economic recovery from the field, QP is committed to applying leading edge but fit for purpose technologies. New, state of the art, 3D seismic data combined with updated reservoir models will enable QP to continue the development of Dukhan field for many years to come.
Jean-Jacques Postel is currently Senior Vice President in charge of Technology and Engineering for the Land Division at CGGVeritas. He graduated as a Civil Engineer from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in 1978. He joined CGG in 1980, spending five years in the field as Party Manager and Party Chief in the US and Argentina. In 1986, he moved to processing and occupied several positions from group leader to Processing Center Manager in China, and then Northern Europe Processing Manager at CGG’s Massy Processing Center in France. He has been involved in R&D Land Seismic Acquisition projects for the past 10 years. Jean-Jacques' professional interests are seismic acquisition methods, equipment and seismic processing applied to 3D, 3C/4C and 4D. He is a member of the SEG, EAGE and AFTP

CGGVeritas is the world's leading international pure-play geophysical company delivering a wide rang
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