The growth of the geophysical industry will be tied to reservoir monitoring and the closer integration of reservoir engineering and geophysics. That was the conclusion of a panel of experts from the International Association of Geophysical Contractors and the Society of Exploration Geologists that met yesterday to discuss "From Prospect to Reservoir – Cycling Through Seismic Technology." The meeting, the first joint panel of the two groups, took place at the SEG annual convention in Dallas. The group agreed that there are significant challenges in extending the seismic method into field production, including the need to:
• Reduce risk
• Increase efficiency
• Gather higher fidelity seismic
• Improve data integration
• Create timely solutions for complex reservoir issues.
On the exhibit floor many of the necessary elements for this new direction were being commercialized. Weatherford unveiled its Clarion in-well light fiber monitoring system. The system uses laser light as the active element to measure strain in the light fiber as a seismic pulse passes through the well. It is sensitive enough to "listen" to the reservoir to monitor fluid flow, locate small fractures, and track reservoir compaction.
Depending on the type of Bragg grating built into the fiber, either seismic, temperature, or pressure data can be gathered. The system carries three light fibers in a stainless steel armoring that can be permanently installed within the production casing or in the annulus between the casing and reservoir rock.
All of this new data flowing from producing wells must be gathered and processed to create useful displays for the reservoir engineer/geophysicist to interpret. Sony showed a new tape format that can hold 500 gigabytes (Gb) of information, which can be read at 30 megabytes (Mb) per second. This super advanced intelligent tape (SAIT) technology is the highest capacity recording media available today.
Several vendors displayed tape library systems to feed data into computers for processing. These higher speed storage and reading systems are necessary due to the expanding need to process data flows from production monitoring operations.
The next step is the shift of the industry to massively paralleled Linux-cluster technology. HP and IBM displayed their products for this market. All the major seismic contractors have installed significant high-performance cluster computing systems (HPCC) to process ever-larger 3D seismic for exploration. These HPCC systems will find expanded use digesting production data flows.
The last link in the evolving production monitoring system is the visualization system needed to understand the multiple data sets produced by the monitoring system. Two new visualization systems from Fakespace were demonstrated: the dStation and ROVR. Both systems are easily moved to address the interpretation needs of different work groups. The systems are self-contained and self-aligning, only require power and data feeds to operate.