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Accompanying Exploration in the New Market

Karim Lassel - CGG
Geomarket Director & Country Manager Mexico


Wed, 01/20/2016 - 18:41

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Service companies have several ways to demonstrate an outstanding track record, and one of CGG’s flagship projects is the high-res, broadband wide-azimuth marine seismic survey it completed for PEMEX in 2014. In the words of CGG’s Director & Country Manager for Mexico, Karim Lassel, “this survey was one the most high-profile projects in terms of volume of data that the industry has seen, both inside and outside Mexico. CGG supplied PEMEX with an end-product of high added value that was beneficial for the NOC in proceeding with its exploration program, particularly in Centauro.”

Exploration activities look set to accelerate in the country due to the development of a new multi-client market. Additionally, the licensing rounds generate the need to revisit existing data and integrate different data types and vintages where possible; interested companies will most likely have to use their internal resources as well as call for external services. CGG has been granted several permits by CNH that allows the geoscience expert to acquire and process data in Mexican waters. Lassel expects the company to acquire and process approximately 240,000km of high-resolution, airborne magnetic and gravity data over six large areas. CGG already has the backing of a number of investors who have expressed interest in participating in this venture and is looking for more clients. In addition, CGG has initiated a multi-client reprocessing project for the Centauro deepwater. This is the only reprocessing project CGG has decided to do in Mexico for the moment.

The industry in Mexico is reinventing itself, and Lassel points out that the trend in acquisition technology is moving away from 2D seismic, as Mexico is already well covered, and focusing more on high-tech broadband wide-azimuth acquisition that can image deep structures combined with the latest advanced processing, interpretation, and analysis techniques to support the exploration and drilling phases.

“The name of the game is imaging, and the more a company can provide accurate and reliable images, the better positioned it will be.” In this sense, CGG will conduct high-end, wide-azimuth acquisition, supported by a host of advanced processing technologies, to offer the very highest-resolution subsurface images. Lassel is also confident that CGG’s team, made up of an imaging center in Villahermosa and offices in Houston, which has gained unique experience in deepwater processing techniques by working on the US side of the Gulf, will provide the company a distinct advantage. Lassel comments that CGG’s acquisition of Fugro’s Geoscience Division back in 2013 brought world-renowned geoscience brands to the company’s existing portfolio, which means that CGG now has high-end products and services that have not been fully deployed in Mexico yet and is in the process of making them better known to transform data into more valuable, actionable information.

In Lassel’s view, the opening up of Mexico’s oil and gas sector has provided a new landscape for the industry in the unconventionals and deepwater sectors, in addition to shallow water. Even though CGG is renowned for its expertise in Mexican offshore projects, the onshore segment has some appeal for analysis and reinterpretation. The company has gained plenty of knowledge in the US on how to process onshore data for sweet spot identification and unconventional reservoir characterization, which will be helpful for operators in R1-L01. Lassel comments that his company intends to play a role in the development of these potential reserves by importing cutting-edge technology and processes developed mainly in the US into Mexico. Although CGG is well positioned, Lassel is aware that competition will be fierce and his company is not protected from the industry’s downturn. Nevertheless, CGG will benefit from its reputation as a strategic partner, and as a technology leader and high-quality service provider. “Every survey we have conducted puts us in a very strong position in terms of service performance, HSE, social responsibility, and innovation. I see great windows of opportunity, as the market will be driven by more than just one operator, although PEMEX will definitely remain our main client in Mexico.”

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