Javier Rubio
General Manager
View from the Top

The Mexican Vanguard in Geophysical Data Management

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 16:19

Q: What would you consider to be the most important trends shaping the geological data market?

A: Our work with PEMEX has continued without many changes despite the many shifts in the public sector. It is obvious that PEMEX is pursuing new and different strategies in its approach to geophysical data, but our relationship with the NOC continues to be as healthy as ever. PEMEX has aggressive goals for these next few years, and we are helping it achieve those goals. Geophysical data management continues to be one of our largest areas of business in Mexico. We have been upgrading our technologies so that these services can be offered to PEMEX in a more modern way through a centralized environment where data from multiple clients and assets can be accessed in an easier and faster manner than ever before. Meanwhile, the lack of new bidding rounds has slowed down the multiclient business. As a medium-sized company, we need many new bidding rounds to maintain a healthy market for multi-client data and, consequently, to make the multiclient business division profitable. New operators and major companies in seismic acquisition have been leading the charge in the general industry trend of investing in the generation of new data for the Gulf of Mexico. These new data generation activities are great for the industry but new bidding rounds are needed so that all this new data can be linked to operators turning it into reserves and, eventually, production. Although the multiclient data bought by these new operators usually includes the processing as part of an integrated service, we have found a significant business niche in reprocessing new proprietary data and PEMEX’s old legacy data. Recent results show that updated data makes all the difference to operators and their drilling activities. Working off data from five to eight years ago and doing so with recently-generated data can make the difference between a successful well and a failed well.

Q: What have been the chief areas of technological advancement within your data management workflows?

A: In the last couple of years, we have been aggressive in the development and acquisition of new technologies. We can divide these new technologies into two main categories depending on where they are in the exploration value chain. The first would be seismic acquisition. We are working with what we call ultra-high-resolution seismic for shallow objectives. This new technique allows for the creation of super-high-frequency images for offshore objectives as shallow as 10 meters. This will be a game-changer in some areas. We are also introducing to Mexico, through our partners in Norway, new technologies in ocean bottom seismic that can provide full azimuth information, opening up new opportunities in new and existing Mexico fields through better reservoir characterization and better imaging. The second of these categories would be seismic processing, where we are very proud to be including really new technologies like superhigh-frequency FWI (full-waveform inversion) using a high-performance computing cloud. Access to this degree of computing power represents a big differentiator for us as a local player in the seismic processing industry. It allows us to reduce turnaround time for seismic processing drastically. A final image can take from six to eight months but in the future, that could be reduced to weeks or even days.

Q: What role do all these developments play in helping PEMEX continue its trend of exploration successes?

A: All these discoveries would not have been possible without PEMEX’s significant investments. The next step for PEMEX, in general, is to repeat these offshore successes in the onshore sector. New onshore seismic acquisition has not happened for too many years but a number of technologies exist that can achieve seismic acquisition in ways that can, hypothetically, circumvent these obstacles; for example, through the use of drones and remote sensing information. New onshore acquisitions could very quickly lead to similar discoveries and exploration successes, yielding many rewards with very little investment. Processing would play a key role in achieving this as well, particularly given the enormous volumes of PEMEX legacy seismic data for onshore plays.


Geoprocesados is a geoscientific company with wide experience in land and marine seismic processing, interpretation and characterization studies, as well as data handling of exploration and production information.