Robin Ellis
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Sercel
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View from the Top

One Step Ahead in Seismic Acquisition

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 19:00

Q: How can you use new technologies, especially in seismic acquisition, to inform companies of the value of conducting a new study?

A: The new technologies we have developed in recent years are concentrated on the next step forward in seismic acquisition. Industry milestones include the transition from 2D seismic to 3D seismic some 15 years ago. We are once again at the forefront of the next step, which is broadband acquisition, something that we already have considerable experience with in the Middle East and the US. Seismic surveys conducted in recent years have generally been based on a 10-100Hz window, but a lot of energy can be acquired at frequencies out of this range. Doing so results not only in significantly higher quality image resolution but data obtained at frequencies below 5Hz can be used to carry out seismic inversion, thus gaining valuable information about the rock properties within the reservoir. In the last few years, we have introduced several products to facilitate this process, including the Nomad 65 Neo and Nomad 90 Neo seismic vibrators, both of which are capable of delivering stronger low frequency content.

On the receiver side, we have broadband products, such as the DSU1-508, featuring QuietSeis Sensors which are the industry's lowest noise MEMS based sensors. As an alternative, the SG5 is a high-sensitivity analog geophone with a 5Hz natural frequency. We also recently introduced the 508XT, a new generation land seismic acquisition system featuring cross-technology (X-Tech) architecture, which combines the best of cabled and wireless system characteristics to optimize crew productivity and reduce operational downtime. It is a product that we are sure will be ideally suited for high-production vibroseis operations in northern Mexico.

Q: How do you expect your activity to be divided in terms of projects and technologies?

A: Although there is certainly the potential for large-scale multi-client seismic studies in the North, the previous bidding round will undoubtedly generate demand for highdensity albeit smaller surveys. In the marine sector a lot of the older vessels are being laid up at the moment, meaning that the percentage of high-technology vessels is likely to be stable. We would expect our proven technology, which has already had a tremendous amount of success in the US, to be more widely employed on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, CGG has already employed this technology for PEMEX. Furthermore, we have developed a new generation of Sentinel called Sentinel MS, an innovative multi-sensor streamer featuring two additional acceleration components that offers directional measurements for both cross-line and vertical wave fronts, as well as improved noise cancellation. This new version of Sentinel will herald the next leap forward in marine seismic acquisition. There are also several OBC surveys currently up for tender and Sercel's SeaRay428 will surely be offered, having already built a positive reputation with multiple successful ocean bottom surveys completed in Mexico. We also plan to launch the new 508XT in Mexico in the near future, and this should provide a new paradigm in land seismic acquisition by allowing a new level of acquisition flexibility and operational reliability for all types of geographies, climates, and environments. Our successful collaboration with Grupo Núñez remains active and we are currently exploring other partnerships with which to strengthen our position in the country.

Q: To what extent do you believe that there will be an increase in exploration activity, as certain inland blocks in the southern region begin to be reappraised for the rounds and eventual farm-outs?

A: I expect a certain amount of recovery following the success of R1-L03. There is a great deal of legacy seismic available, which was used in the decision-making process of awarding of the blocks. The question becomes whether the new players will drill based on the existing information or whether they will see value in carrying out new studies in order to acquire more detailed pictures of specific areas within the block. In the areas that are already producing, the aim of any new seismic study would be to find ways to increase levels of production, and high resolution seismic can contribute greatly to that. An alternative is downhole seismic, which can generate an extremely high resolution subsurface image of the area close to the well site and allow interpreters to better assess how to enhance recovery