March 1, 1999
New input devices for virtual reality allow flexibility in image control (Images courtesy of GMD/IMK, Fakespace, Inc.). Figure 2 [7,747 bytes]. Fugro-Geoteam completed processing of the Manet Ridge 2D survey in the Norwegian North Sea [7,732 bytes].
Victor Schmidt
New input devices for virtual reality allow flexibility in image control (Images courtesy of GMD/IMK, Fakespace, Inc.).

Lasmo, Shell, NIOC survey Iran sector

Lasmo, Shell, and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will carry out a US$19 million exploration project in the Iranian sector of the Caspian Sea. During the 18-month study around 10,000 km of 2D seismic will be gathered and both geological and geophysical studies will be conducted. After completion the partners will have preferential rights to select up to four blocks for development. Service agreements will be negotiated over the following 12 months.

Nigerian deepwater survey

Schlumberger Geco-Prakla completed a 1,775 sq km 3D survey in OPL 246 offshore Nigeria. The survey was gathered for Star Atlantic Petroleum by the S/V Geco Diamond. Star Atlantic has two partners in OPL 246, Total Upstream Nigeria (20%) and Braspetro (20%).

VR produces gains in multiple disciplines

The brain devotes 35% of its resources to sight and 30% more to understanding visual stimuli. Thus, it makes sense to leverage the brain's natural abilities with 3D visualization systems, explains Linda Jacobson of Silicon Graphics. But, there are even more practical reasons.

Silicon Graphics, Inc (SGI) hosted a major visualization meeting in Galveston, Texas entitled "High Performance Visualization and Computing Summit." The summit brought together experts from the software, hardware and operational worlds of oil field visualization to examine the latest advances, and prepare for the future.

Mike Zeitlin, Visualization Manager for Texaco, and Geoffery Dorn, Director of Visualization for Arco, detailed work changes and major benefits of the new technology. Use of the visualization centers creates a completely different work environment where ideas flow quickly between professionals of different disciplines, thereby developing solutions faster.

Virtual reality (VR) has cost advantages for very large projects. A first generation visualization center cost about US$3 million to build. Those costs have dropped by at least two thirds. A marine 3D seismic program can cost around US$15 million with a deepwater exploration test costing up to US$50 million. In many cases, only 10% of the 3D seismic data is used to image a prospect area due to time and computing constraints. Proper use of the complete 3D survey in a visualization center can greatly reduce exploration risk and properly place wells.

Manet Ridge survey

Fugro-Geoteam AS of Oslo, Norway has completed the processing of the Manet Ridge Regional non-exclusive survey off Norway. The R/V Geolog Nalivkin gathered the 2,407 km grid over parts of Norwegian Quads 6201, 6202, and 6302. The survey extends into the UK sector, ties all local wells, and provides a link between the North Shetlands Basin and the More Basin while avoiding the southern limit of the volcanics.

Aeromag survey continues over Gippsland Basin

The Australian Geological Survey Organization (AGSO) announced the continuation of its aeromagnetic survey over the Gippsland Basin offshore. The 10-week survey will complete the collection phase of the program. The survey is being gathered with AGSO's Aero Commander aircraft using a satellite global positioning system and a cesium mangetometer. Up to 80,000 line-km of data will be collected.

Image control newest interface device

Two new interface devices were demonstrated at the VR summit. T.A.N. Projektions technologie of Germany demonstrated its software and imaging system, driven by a "volume slicer" or "cubic mouse." The device is the invention of Germany's GMD National Research Center for Information Technology. It is a hand-sized physical cube representing the seismic volume. Rods project in the x, y, and z directions allowing the operator to controls image-plane movement. Rotating the device alters the orientation of the image.

Viewing is done with standard "active" goggles. Data are displayed on a cylindrical projection wall by either three or six projectors depending on the installation size (T.A.N., Dusseldorf, Germany, Tel: 0211-417929-0, Fax: 0211-417929-5 or Email:[email protected]).

Another new device introduced the Mini Workbench (TM), by Fakespace of Canton, Michigan. The unit is a portable desk-size 3D projection system. The system uses "passive" polarized glasses (sunglasses) instead of the heavier "active" goggles. The image is controlled with Pinch (TM) gloves using a form of "chording," touching the thumb and fingertip to effect planar movement or image rotation in any direction. The new system was created in response to industry's desire for a more compact portable device for the office environment (Fakespace, Mountain View, California, Tel: 650-688-1940 or Fax: 650-688-1949).

No doom and gloom at prospect expo

The North American Prospect Expo, held recently in Houston, did not reflect much of the "doom and gloom" of low oil prices. The venue continues to expand and this year featured an international section. Of special note was the premier of the Digital Data Room, a new multi-media marketing technology by Petrodigital (see November issue of Offshore).

Continuum Resources brought wide-screen 3D visual displays to the show. Their 3D images explained a subsalt prospect with a well proposed through four prospective zones. Change is coming to the business of selling prospects. These new tools enhance communication and understanding, while maximizing the number of minds exposed to any project.

GeoScene update

Oilfield Systems has released GeoScene 4.0. New features on the software include zonal correlation capability, improved horizontal well correlation, new fault handling, more advanced 3D visualization and better data capability.

Nico Chart, Geoscene Product Development Manager, said, "Users can now define hierarchical zones based on lithology, sequence stratigraphy or any other facies scheme. Zones can be correlated and assigned properties for calculation or for export to reservoir mapping and modeling systems."

Dr. Matthew Cheshire, GeoScene designer, added, "(Users) can automatically generate 'part wells,' segments of a well that move up or down through the geological sequence. They can use depth information or split the well path at faults. This enables fault zones to be correlated and a true stratigraphic view constructed." (Jeanette Halford, Tel: 44-1703-769-449, Fax: 44-1703-769-346, Email[email protected].)

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