Philip Neri
Vice President of Product Strategy and Marketing
IKON Science

Leading Geoprediction Tools Backed by Global Experience

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 09:15

Complex subsurface characteristics and the need for state-of-the-art reservoir understanding paved the way to the foundation of Ikon Science. Since 2001, the company began developing and promoting the scientific application of rock physics to well and seismic data, in order to derive rock and fluid properties. In its early years, the company’s footprint expanded considerably, going beyond its initial rock physics expertise to encompassing all areas associated with seismic inversion, reservoir characterization, 4D studies, and integration of seismic data and rock fluid properties. Essentially, the company is now able to incorporate the main aspects that allow for the prediction of a given reservoir’s content in terms of water, oil, and gas. All of these factors combined describe the geological prediction process of the subsurface, where these technologies become critical to spot commercial discoveries, and Ikon Science is no stranger to this key to success in the global oil and gas industry

In a bid to deliver a more extensive solution portfolio to oil and gas operators in 2006, Ikon Science extended the scope of its activities by purchasing an established leader in the field, GeoPressure. After consolidating itself in the prediction of the lithology and fluids, by adding pore pressure prediction, the company was now able to provide a comprehensive picture to its clients. Understanding pressure in the subsurface is an essential component to be mastered in deepwater, where drilling down to an objective requires companies to understand the risks of encountering overpressure. In 2012, Ikon Science yet again added another arrow to its quiver by entering the complex field of geomechanics. As a result, the company is now able to predict stress regimes that can affect borehole stability and reservoir performance. This essentially entails looking at how the stress imposed by different rock units can potentially make the borehole collapse. Philip Neri, Vice-President of Product Strategy and Marketing at Ikon Science, explains the importance of taking on this new line in order to excel in the subsurface prediction market. “Adding geomechanics to our portfolio makes it the last piece to fit in the entire mosaic of our capabilities. Additionally, by analyzing the impact of geomechanics on long-term production, we can provide our clients with indepth solutions for their operational success.”

Considering the broad nature of services that the company now offers across multiple disciplines, Ikon Science decided to sum up its entire portfolio into geoprediction, an integrated solution encompassing rock physics, seismic inversion, geopressure, and geomechanics. Neri highlights the critical importance of these factors in the pre-drilling process, where Ikon Science can provide companies with a holistic look at the subsurface before committing to the actual drilling operations. “Regional geopressure maps and bespoke geoprediction studies buy a lot of safety for a reasonable price. This is of paramount importance in deeper waters and with very deep wells where an out-of-control situation can result in very costly and damaging consequences,” explains Neri. In addition, non-exclusive regional studies throughout the world’s main basins have boosted the firm’s presence in the subsurface prediction market. A number of energy companies active in a particular area and even national energy commissions have subscribed to these studies. The reports Ikon Science generates do not only use existing data from 50-100 individual wells, but also develop regional trends, formulas, and algorithms that help people predict what sort of conditions they might encounter in areas where no drilling has taken place. The combination of these solutions makes any energy operator readily understand the value and the importance of such studies. “Currently, we have a Gulf of Mexico study that analyzes 149 wells in the Wilcox deep offshore waters off Texas and Louisiana. This study is the most obvious one that could be extended to the Mexican part of the Gulf of Mexico,” Neri explains. On another note, as a medium-sized private company, Ikon Science has the flexibility to offer various ways of delivering its services to energy companies, national agencies, or partner companies. “We are in dialogue with CNH about doing regional studies. CNH is aware that our Wilcox study in the Gulf of Mexico is directly related to the exploration acreage that is opening up in the country. As a result, we see a lot of interest from many players in extending the study into Mexican territory.” The funding process of these studies varies across the world. According to Neri, most of the other studies were funded directly by private operators. However, the company’s business model is variable and it is open to work with all parties in Mexico in order to reach a successful outcome.

The company’s greatest competitive advantage lies in the fact that it is a medium-sized firm with a global footprint. “Our size allows us to adopt new business models and bring together disciplines that traditionally are seen as separate entities in larger corporations,” Neri boasts. “We can actually do subsurface modelling, geopressure, and geomechanics within our single software platform called RokDoc, which is it the most flexible geoprediction software platform in the market,” he states. The flexible nature of RokDoc and its application to case by case scenarios have made it a popular tool for clients. For instance, if a single specialty department in any company, whether PEMEX or a smaller operator, has an interest in pressure prediction software, Ikon Science can offer a software package focusing on geopressure. In the case of an asset manager, a broader picture is required where an integrated platform with consistent data is integrated across all four disciplines. “For example, we can use the elastic properties from rock physics, derived by tying well and seismic data, and apply these to the geomechanics package, all integrated in one platform,” Neri reveals. In other software solutions, operators have to transfer the data from one package to another, which is time consuming and leads to duplicates, misaligned values, and misconfigurations. Ikon Science’s subsurface models, elastic properties, pressure profiles, and all other components are maintained as a whole in the RokDoc platform, instead of being spread out across a set of different software products.

Ikon Science currently has offices to cater to international demand in Calgary, Houston, Rio de Janeiro, London, Aberdeen, Kuala Lumpur, and Perth. Moreover, the company has worked with every type of reservoir, be it deepwater, onshore, or unconventional, as well as in high pressure and high temperature conditions. “We have seen a lot of things and the way that we apply our work is very much by leveraging our experience. That is where our customers see a lot of value as, instead of just dealing with local problems, we bring in knowledge from other basins. None are ever exactly identical but bringing in that information provides insight. We can definitely apply our expertise globally to Mexico’s reservoirs,” Neri explains.