Gil Howell
Multi-Client Sales Manager
Dolphin Geophysical

Preparing Seismic Imaging for Future Bidding Rounds

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 09:14

Experts claim that seismic exploration is scaling down as a result of the current depressed oil prices. However, Gil Howell, Multi-Client Sales Manager of Dolphin Geophysical (Dolphin), says Mexico presents an excellent opportunity for Dolphin because, as part of the world is scaling down, the country is ramping up. “Marine operations will enable Dolphin to use its fleet of high capacity vessels,” he explains. Furthermore, Howell sees a high potential for his company’s multi-client services. The main challenge in a multi-client market, notes Howell, is uncertainty. The terms for the shallow water rounds have been issued, but players are still waiting for the conditions of the deepwater rounds. Howell finds the Mexican legal framework favorable for carrying out geophysical studies. He compliments the work of CNH in collaborating with seismic companies and other participants in the oil and gas market and in helping them understand the laws and regulations. Although Mexico has certain limitations and restrictions on data ownership, Howell does not think these are as stringent as in other countries. In fact, he believes Mexico achieved a fine balance in this area. “We would definitely like longer terms, but knowing the models that CNH looked at, I think it did a good job in thoroughly studying the restrictions.”

Howell sees 2D programs as a useful initial tool to help set the framework. The company will then move to 3D imaging, and eventually evolve to wide azimuth and full azimuth programs. Just as seismic technologies and surveys have progressed on the US side of the Gulf of Mexico, Howell expects the same to happen on the Mexican side, but in a shorter timeframe. While Dolphin is new to the Gulf of Mexico, it has already had great success with its wide tow 3D technology in other places. This can be combined with the Sharp broadband technique, which enables towing the streamer at a greater depth. In addition, Dolphin has an imaging team based in Houston, staffed by very experienced geophysicists, capable of providing detailed images of the complicated sub-salt structures found in the Gulf of Mexico. This reduces risks for clients, enabling them to move forward their exploration efforts.

Currently, Dolphin is launching two projects in Mexico. The first one consists of a long offset, broadband 2D program in the east bay of Campeche, including a number of the wells included by CNH in the shallow waters data package. The program encompasses an area slightly over 16,000 linear kilometers and uses the Dolphin Sharp broadband technology to enhance frequency spectra and produce broadband data. Howell says he is also launching a wide tow 3D narrow Azimuth program. Dolphin’s powerful vessels allow the company to tow wider spreads with longer streamers, which enhances operational efficiency and enables the company to deliver data to its clients in a timely fashion. “What sets us apart is the speed at which we provide our services, our downtimes are minimal when gathering data, and our Open CPS software produces superior quality images,” asserts Howell. Dolphin is not looking at Round One only. As Howell says the company is in Mexico for the long run, it is also looking to collect data that will be used for future rounds. For Howell, a great outcome would be for the data gathered by the company to be used in the nomination of blocks that will be tendered in future rounds. “We are certainly not going to neglect Round One. In fact, we will produce data on the blocks that were postponed. However, our strategy is to develop valuable and useful data on the blocks that will be tendered in Round Two and subsequent rounds,” he comments.