President of North and South America
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Magnetic Scans for Reservoir Saturation

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:18

Q: When you present the data you reacquired from CNIH for reprocessing, how do you explain what makes it special?

A: Every oil and gas operator uses seismic studies for exploration but seismic has strengths and weaknesses. One of the weaknesses with seismic is that it is difficult to distinguish between a reservoir with low natural gas saturation and one with commercial saturations. Acoustically, they look the same but from an electromagnetic perspective they look very different. The difference between seismic and a controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) survey is comparable to the way a doctor might prescribe an X-ray or an MRI or both. CSEM is similar to an MRI in the sense that it is very responsive to fluids. Because exploration is all about reducing risk, CSEM is complementary to seismic rather than a replacement.

Q: What common threads can be found between Mexico and other contexts in which EMGS has operated?

A: For this technology to be really valuable, certain coverage is needed to be able to show examples of how the technology responds in different settings. Mexico is now at a very similar stage to that in the Barents Sea about 10 years ago, and this jurisdiction has been our biggest success; it is where we have generated much of our revenue. At one point we had a number of calibration points with which we could show that the technology corroborated certain discoveries and dry holes. Luckily with the data that we acquired for PEMEX and have now licensed for reprocessing from CNH, we have around 20 good calibrations in Mexico. We have a very good track record, especially in the Salinas basin, for example.

Q: What is the difference from a marketing perspective of doing multiclient studies or working for a single client?

A: One obvious difference is that we have to rely on more companies to find out where they are interested in exploring, which is information they will probably not reveal for confidentiality reasons. When dealing with one client, it will tell us where its interest lies. When doing multiclient studies, companies like ours have to come up with excellent ideas, and potential clients may express interest but very seldom will put their cards on the table. This forces us to think more geologically about where we should focus our attention. Since we have a technology that is being adopted, another advantage of multiclient studies for us is that it enables us to generate examples showing how it works. When we worked for PEMEX, we relied on the few publications that PEMEX was comfortable with publishing as it wanted to keep this data to itself because it saw the market was going to open up. When we do multiclient studies we own the data and we can publish whatever we want. That is the big difference. 

Q: How has the rise of multiclient studies changed your sales and marketing strategy?

A: The sector is certainly moving very fast. Here in Mexico our experience in the past has been totally different. We are using the experience of our Houston office because the oil and gas industry in Houston was more open and multiclient studies are common there. Three to four years ago, we were only working for PEMEX and in Mexico so the industry opening has made a huge change. 

Q: What was your impression of the last deepwater round? 

A: There is a lot of potential in Mexico, which is why the results of the last round were so good. At the moment, we have a multiclient project for reprocessing our data with a coverage of 16,000km2. We are considering bringing in a new vessel this summer that will hopefully work for both PEMEX and private companies. But the data that we have for these types of rounds is what PEMEX originally acquired, which was mostly focused on the nonsalt areas. The licensing rounds on the other hand have included many salt areas. For example, Shell has won many deepwater blocks that have salt formations and therefore we do not really have any data for those blocks. Our technology works best in nonsalt areas.