In recent years, the geophysical industry, fueled by high global activity levels, invested considerably in new equipment and technologies. The capital-intensive marine seismic-acquisition market segment especially experienced a small boom with the introduction of many new vessels and highly advanced sensor technologies. Marine broadband seismic acquisition and processing has quickly become the norm rather than an exception, and seismic-acquisition companies launched several new purpose-built seismic vessels suited for extended operations in remote and harsh environments.
This trend was less pronounced in the land seismic-acquisition market segment, where entry levels for new crew startups are generally lower and where more providers, often with a more regional focus, are active. Nevertheless significant improvements were realized, notably for the high-production and high-channel-count onshore seismic crews operating in desert environments, a niche that is still dominated by the bigger global service companies. For more-challenging terrain, nodal acquisition has matured, enabling smaller crew footprints and increased efficiency.
However, the changing business climate with reduced oil- and gas-production revenues is forcing oil and gas companies worldwide to focus more rigorously on cost efficiency and to reconsider exploration spending, being a stark reminder of the volatility of the oil and gas business and the seismic market in particular. The coming year will be challenging for the global geophysical industry and for seismic-acquisition companies in particular. Integrated geophysical service companies that made timely investments in technology upgrades as well as in operational safety and efficiency should be better positioned to weather the coming period and to offer their technologies at affordable rates.
Seismic, though cost intensive, will remain a pivotal technology. With continued cost pressures, one has to expect, though, that the range of available geophysical tools and technologies will be applied more selectively. This can be achieved only through an early and deeper integration with geology and other relevant subsurface disciplines. Cost-efficient nonseismic technologies such as gravity and magnetics will provide important early information in a staircased exploration-derisking approach before more-costly technologies such as high-end seismic or controlled-source electromagnetic are applied. Solid geophysical expertise and knowledge will remain critical for selecting the appropriate tools for the relevant exploration or development phases and to meet requirements for ever shorter turnaround times.
The articles chosen for this technology review provide examples of the accuracy, efficiency, and business impact of geophysical-technology applications for exploration and production.
SPE 165092 Continuous Land Seismic Reservoir Monitoring of Thermal EOR in the Netherlands by Julien Cotton, CGG, et al.
SPE 170808 Time-Lapse (4D) Seismic for Reservoir Management: Case Studies From Offshore Niger Delta, Nigeria by Sunday Amoyedo, Total, et al.
SPE 171832 3D Geomechanical Models Inverted From Prestack Seismic Data by Leonardo Azevedo, Center for Modeling Petroleum Reservoirs, et al.
Gerd Kleemeyer, SPE, Manager, Integrated Geophysical Services, Shell
01 March 2015
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