Ignacio Orozco
Director General
Geokinetics Mexico

Seismic for Field Development

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 13:03

By providing thorough information about the physical structure of the reservoir and its geological characteristics, seismic data acquisition plays an important role in the field development process, both to shorten the time to first oil and optimize oil production over the field’s life. The data obtained from seismic reflections is processed and interpreted to obtain a coherent geological picture of the reservoir, which is then extrapolated into a geological model. However, according to Ignacio Orozco, Geokinetics’ Mexico CEO, the seismic business is no longer just about having the best technology, since in so many areas leading companies have reached parity: the key to success is also about integrating the concept of service along with the technologies and the endogenous factors in each region.

“All technologies can be acquired,” Orozco explains. “The thing that actually provides added value in seismic operations is to be able to integrate every factor into one equation. The service that we offer is tailored. We call it ‘seismic for field development’, and it consists in talking to geologists, interpreters, and the region’s inhabitants, to understand better their concerns, the background of the fields, and the studies previously made. This way we address all the circumstantial factors surrounding the project, and provide targeted seismic that varies from region to region.”

This does not mean that the importance of technology is minimized; rather that there are other factors that are as important in the equation that are often overlooked. The ability to take them into consideration, and combine them with expertise in geological services is what makes Geokinetics one of the market leaders, both in transitional zones and onshore. “Managing the social component and complying with social sustainability has allowed us to perform well, and in a timely fashion,” Orozco proudly comments. “If you do not have a good relationship with the local communities, your project will probably fail.” This creates a distinct advantage for geophysical service companies with a strong domestic presence and experience in working effectively with local communities across Mexico’s oil rich states. “Local companies that understand the rules and regulations, the local customs, and can interact with the local community are far more successful,” David Pring, Country Manager Mexico at Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), explains. “Those people can get to the field and achieve a survey in a far more efficient way than most companies coming from outside.” Once the social component is tackled, there are two other steps to be addressed to accomplish integrated seismic for field development. The first relates to technology. “Data acquisition is progressing quickly. We have tested new autonomous or nodal equipment, which is able to record data wirelessly. This technology can be applied at both shallow and deepwater projects,” Orozco explains.

An example of how Geokinetics is facing new technological challenges and integrating their results into their unique formula is the San Luis-3D project Tamaulipas. “In this project, Geokinetics is currently recording 6,000 channels, which is something that has never been done in Mexico,” remarks Orozco. “Before getting started, we faced challenging social complications, due to the agricultural projects that already exist in the area.” The company drew on both its social management capabilities and the technologies required to execute project successfully.

The final step to be taken into account in the seismic for field development formula is the interaction with the field experts. “Geokinetics works with operators in order to better understand their needs and gain access to the existing data they already have on the fields in question. That way, we can apply the different processing tools needed to achieve both their objectives and ours,” Orozco explains. “In this way, Geokinetics has been developing feasibility study programs with Pemex, which involves analyzing the NOC’s historical field data, from records and regional experts. After doing this, we perform various analyses on the fields, and finally present our recommendations, given Pemex’s needs, local concerns, and the perspectives of the regional experts.”

The integrated equation that Geokinetics uses for seismic services is a good formula that takes every single aspect of a project into consideration. Combining the various factors that are at play in a field is an important way of understanding the way the oil business should interact with its surroundings, and maintaining a win-win relationship.