New company, techniques highlight seismic survey

Eldon Ball • Houston

This year’s annual Seismic Vessel Survey includes the entrance of a new company -- Polarcus -- and brings the list of new vessels for 2009 and beyond to eight, according to the survey by Gene Kliewer, Technology Editor, Subsea & Seismic.

Polarcus has three new vessels scheduled for delivery this year and three for 2010, while WesternGeco has two scheduled for this year. Additions and deletions of vessels to the list bring the total to 173, compared with 169 for 2008.

The nature of the surveys undertaken today is changing. New acquisition geometries such as wide-azimuth, multi-azimuth, rich-azimuth, and Coil Shooting single-vessel full azimuth acquisition increase illumination of the subsurface from a wider range of angles and azimuths. These techniques enhance the accuracy of the inversion of seismic data for Earth properties. In addition, increasing the frequency bandwidth by lowering the minimum frequency of seismic sources has improved steep-dip imaging and overall resolution. Kliewer’s full report begins on page 32.

Subsea processing alive, well and growing

Operators continue to initiate and to fund studies into subsea boosting, separation, compression, and power delivery and distribution when developing new fields, as our report from Michael Padilla of INTECSEA in this month’s issue reflects.

In an attempt to capture the full value of subsea processing’s technical and economic advantages, operators address these options early in field development, Padilla reports. An increase in overall confidence toward subsea processing packages is the result of ongoing development and the success of current systems. See Padilla’s in-depth report beginning on page 46. And don’t miss the bound-in wall-size poster on Subsea Processing.

Port Fourchon thrives despite the economy

Buoyed by deepwater activity that shows no sign of drying up anytime soon, Port Fourchon is sidestepping the economic malaise gripping most of the nation and is not just coping, but flourishing, as Contributing Editor Jim Redden reports this month.

While cash-strapped independents operating on the shelf have pulled back appreciably, the bread and butter for Port Fourchon is the deepwater, where it functions as the primary support base for more than 90% of existing projects, Redden notes. “According to a recent Minerals Management Service (MMS) study, that bread and butter is in no danger of going off the shelves in the foreseeable future,” he reports. “In early 2009, the federal agency listed 59 “pending” deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico, which is in addition to the 33 wells currently being drilled in deep and ultra deepwater. Factoring in the 135 deepwater fields already developed, there are nearly 230 deepwater projects in need of products and services flowing from the port.”

Read his full report on Port Fourchon beginning on page 50.

Gas find off Israel spurs renewed interest

Test results from a gas discovery in the Levantine basin point to an emerging subsalt play offshore Israel. The deepwater well on the Tamar structure, 90 km (56 mi) offshore Haifa, encountered three productive reservoirs with thick sands in the Lower Miocene and net pay of more than 460 ft (140 m).Offshore’s Jeremy Beckman, Editor-Europe, gives a full report on activity there in this month’s issue.

Gas flowed at a constrained rate of 30 MMcf/d over a limited section of the lowest reservoir, and operator Noble Energy believes a production rate of over 150 MMcf/d could be feasible. Noble and its partners are set to retain the rig, the Atwood Hunter, for two more wells. Beckman’s article begins on page 42.

To respond to articles in Offshore, or to offer articles for publication, contact the editor by email (eldonb@pennwell.com) or fax (1-713-963-6296).

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