News Article

Exploration and the Boom in Multi-Client Seismic

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 12:00

Moderator: Alma América Porres, Commissioner of CNH
Panelist:  Oscar Roldán, Chief of the National Hydrocarbons Information Center
Panelist: Marco Vázquez, Subdirector of Geophysics Solutions at PEMEX
Panelist: Karim Lassel, Geomarket Director and Country Manager Mexico of CGG
Panelist: Christiaan Vermeijden, CEO of EMGS

The industry knows that it will take time to see production increases as a result of the licensing rounds, but the last year has already delivered incredible results in exploration, said Oscar Roldán, Chief of the National Hydrocarbons Information Center, during the Mexico Oil & Gas Summit 2016 in Mexico City.

Speaking on a panel on “Exploration and the Boom in Multi-Client Seismic,” Roldán said that “the multiclient scheme managed under ARES requires a company to acquire information from others. Many companies will be accessing the same seismic information, creating opportunities to generate a differentiated product. The central information system will be completely available to all companies and is planned to be open in October of this year. Within the ARES scheme, companies will also be able to analyze current data.”

Asked by moderator Alma América Porres, Commissioner of CNH, how multiclient schemes can help corporations, Marco Vázquez, Subdirector of Geophysics Solutions at PEMEX, pointed to the state-owned entity as an example. PEMEX, he said, had only 5.6 petabytes of information in 2014, contrasting with the updated quantity of almost 20 petabytes. Mexico has had access to 2-D seismic data acquisition since the 1990s and there is a huge area of opportunity to increase certainty in the area. “We can focus resources on the famous salt water basins,” he said. PEMEX has invested considerable resources to obtain 3-D seismic data from these areas.

Although Pemex is not prepared to offer this type of service, it is partnering with companies that can support the NOC in data collection. For this reason, multi-client offerings can support industry improvements.

Joining Roldán and Vázquez on the panel were Karim Lassel, Geomarket Director and Country Manager Mexico of CGG, and Christiaan Vermeijden, CEO of EMGS.

Lassel reiterated the need to continue the accelerated growth of the Energy Reform, saying that Mexico was using its experience from the initial bidding rounds to make future capital investments more attractive. Improved legislation, tax regimes and the stimulation of the fiscal environment would encourage investors to trust the country’s industry, he said. It is necessary to put processes in place to retain stability for long-term investors. The focus is on adding to existing information, toward which investments must be targeted, increasing the success rate of exploration processes.

EMGS CEO Vermeijden suggested the acquisition of enormous amounts of data would accelerate exploration in Mexico. “The country holds the world record for gathering such a large amount of data in a surprisingly short time,” he said. This will help companies control decision-making and because the data will expedite exploration.

Vermeijden touched on the need for a skilled workforce that can utilize this data to benefit companies interested in using this information. Exploration activities evolve only with information, he said. “We can have thousands of existing wells but new technologies are the route to successfully investigate new commercial possibilities.”

Amid cuts to exploration budgets, despite demand for more activity, the EMGS executive said that smaller, smarter volumes of exploration activities would be more efficient. “Many new emerging or smart technologies will have to be used together because simply doing more of what we’ve done in the past will not be enough.”

Vermeijden believes that budget cuts, by two-thirds internationally for exploration projects, will demand increased efficiency to achieve the higher targets set by companies. EMGS is investigating new technologies that can increase the success ratio of exploration. “The conventional approach may not work,” he concludes.

Operators are speaking well of the contracts resulting from the Energy Reform, which has led to huge investments from companies that are promoting Mexico to their allies abroad, with the intention of introducing their partner suppliers to the country. The industry will not depend solely on information packages but on how future Rounds use the data going forward.