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Quality Data Boosts Interest in the Industry

Robert Hobbs - TGS
Former CEO


Wed, 01/20/2016 - 18:57

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Q: How could your services optimize the purchasing activities of the Mexican market?

A: Our data library is economically compelling, as a multiclient model allows companies to access seismic information in a far less expensive way than paying a geophysical company to acquire proprietary data. Seismic information will be especially important for areas located in the Mexican offshore sector of the Gulf of Mexico as they are just now becoming available to international investors in the oil and gas sector. For companies entering this sector, it would be necessary to access a relatively inexpensive source of seismic data to understand the sub-surface conditions of the area and decide whether they are worth the investment. Having access to accurate seismic data is also beneficial for any government thinking about offering its hydrocarbon resources for bidding or exploration, as national authorities need to create a competitive atmosphere for companies willing to exploit those resources. This is precisely the case of Mexico. One way to assure a competitive environment is to provide companies with the information they need about the basin's potential, as it will boost interest and participation from the industry.

Q: How do you manage to obtain the technology for seismic assessment acquisition in remote areas?

A: The great thing about TGS is that we can access any acquisition technology currently available on the market and optimize the technology to solve a particular geological problem. Traditionally, our biggest competitors are vessel providers. Full service geophysical companies owning the vessels will typically carry out some level of multi-client acquisition. The reason behind this strategy is that they need to keep their vessels operational all the time as they are costly to maintain. Therefore, if they are not generating revenues on that asset they are losing money, and so the motivation for these companies is to keep their vessels operational, and that is how they make their investment decisions. We, on the contrary, make our investment decisions based on the prospective reserves of the basin and we never acquire a project without assurances of the commercial attractiveness for our customers.

Q: How does TGS stand out from its competitors in the Mexican market?

A: In Mexico, we were the first company to announce the development of an offshore seismic program. We decided to undertake what is probably one of the largest single offshore 2D programs in the world. The project comprises 186,000km, covering the entire Mexican offshore sector, from the Perdido fold belt to the coast of Yucatan. The dataset resulting from this project will allow geoscientists to obtain an in-depth overview of the entire basin, and no other company has that. We can make that commitment because we are confident about the potential of the Mexican Gulf, especially considering the prolific exploration that has taken place on the US side. To complete the project we have hired almost the entire fleet of a major 2D seismic company and we currently have four of the company’s 2D vessels working on our project.

Q: How do you balance new and acquired information in your database?

A: All the data we acquire is brand new. Obviously, there is published information in the public domain that is useful for us to plan our activities prior to acquiring a program. Additionally, in our approach, we are not only acquiring seismic data but also looking to acquire complimentary geoscience data sets that will aid exploration companies in assessing the active petroleum systems and reducing drilling risk. Included in our data offering in Mexico are multibeam data and piston core samples. Multibeam data provides detailed mapping of the seafloor and its physiography.

We use this information to locate optimal sites for seafloor coring of potential hydrocarbon seep sites. From the cores we conduct a chemistry-based study that analyzes the hydrocarbons in the sea bottom. The results are a chemical chromatography that helps companies understand the hydrocarbon systems. The most important feature about this information is that it is all integrated with the seismic data. The success of the strategy is confirmed by the level of risk reduction it provides in validating prospects and petroleum systems.

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