The industry moves so fast today, that the good we have done before seldom seems to have any use for the future. Such is the case for older 3D surveys. The recent fleet of high capacity seismic acquisition vessels has spoiled interpreters by producing very large and consistent data sets over prospective territories - good, dense, full-fold data. This is true except for densely developed older areas along the continental shelves.
Much of this territory does have continuous 3D seismic coverage. It is in smaller 3D survey cubes, many of which may overlap at the edges. This is an opportunity for the future, if data owners are willing to cooperate, by cross-licensing their data sets and merge the cubes into regional 3D-seismic shelf surveys. It could form the base set for future 4C surveys and 4D production tracking surveys. It could also open deeper targets poorly imaged by earlier shooting.
The major offshore producing shelves - Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, West Africa, and Southeast Asia - are filled with these isolated cubes, and deeper potential. It will take significant computer power and processor ingenuity to integrate the pieces, but the effort should reveal new deep reserves.
For several years, the major technical professional societies - AAPG, SEG, and SPE - have been in discussions about combining functions, coordinating meetings, and doing joint projects. The societies are affected by the economic climate, just as the rest of the industry. They need to contain costs, serve shrinking constituencies, maintain stable finances, and expand services where possible.
These realities have lead Allen Bertagne, First Vice President of SEG, to suggest the creation of a professional society dedicated to Subsurface Technology. This entity would provide crossflow of the integrated technical information needed for fully integrated development projects, yet would allow each member to choose the services they require for their professional growth, regardless of degree specialty. It would collapse costs, minimize the show schedule, expand the number of potential members, and provide a way to connect the various subspecialties dedicated to exploration of the subsurface. Bertagne has asked for feedback and discussion on this proposal (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Translating data sets
At the present, time is lost in translating data sets from one computer software system to another as joint venture companies develop a prospect. New collaboration enhancing "middleware" will soon be available to the industry to shorten or remove translation time for data sharing between project partners. This productivity improvement is from a new company, OpenSpirit Corp, which was created from The OpenSpirit Alliance by Chevron, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Schlumberger. The new company has the goal of developing a vendor-neutral and platform-independent application framework, a form of "middleware," to improve collaboration across different computer systems. "OpenSpirit represents a significant advancement in our industry's ability to share information and develop innovative collaborative solutions in a distributed environment," said Neil Buckley, CEO of OpenSpirit Corp. "Until now, there has not been a comparable framework capable of integrating data and applications from multiple sources in the E&P industry."
West Cameron 4C
Schlumberger Oilfield Services has delivered final poststack P-wave migration following completion of the nonexclusive multi-component (4C) seismic survey. This survey is the first phase of the 4Sight Program, a joint venture with Seitel. The initial survey, 120 miles southeast of Galveston, covers about 45 blocks of West Cameron. Schlumberger vessels Geco Manta and Geco Dolphin and source vessel Geco Snapper were used for the survey. The survey was to image beneath prevalent gas clouds with the converted waves. The new data has higher vertical resolution, better reflection continuity, and better fault definition than a 1995 towed streamer survey. Factors contributing to the improvement include improved demultiple resulting from a combination of the P and Z recordings and better positional control through use of seabed cables. S-wave (converted wave) data will be delivered in Dec- ember 2000.
Morocco opens round
The country's first bidding round opened October 30, 2000 and closes April 30, 2001. Areas available for lease are in the Rabat-Safi segment of the Atlantic. The decision to offer licenses is based on the interpretation of 7,500 sq km of seismic shot earlier this year. Eight blocks are available including three in shallow water and five in water depths greater than 200 meters. Block sizes range from 2,700 to 5,000 sq km.
Red Sea survey
Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) is collecting a 1,500 sq km survey over Zakum field offshore Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The new survey will allow the Adnoc group, ADMA-OPCO and ZADCO, to improve production performance through enhanced reservoir definition. The 15-month survey can serve as the base survey for a future time-lapse 3D reservoir-monitoring program.
TGS-NOPEC is shooting a new non-exclusive 2D survey covering the deep offshore (200-3,000 meters water depth) in the Liberia Basin. The Nanhai 511 S/V is conducting the 9,500 sq km survey. This survey complements the recently completed a 2,500 sq km non-exclusive 2D survey offshore Sierra Leone and existing seismic data on the shelf. Liberia and Sierra Leone are hoping to take advantage of recent deepwater discoveries and each plan to conduct a licensing round in 2001.The complete data set will be available early 2001 allowing interested companies to prepare for a bid round which will take place mid-2001.
TGS-NOPEC began a major non-exclusive 3D pre-stack depth migration project in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico. The project is designed to cover 15,400 sq km and is scheduled for delivery prior to the Central Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale in March 2001. The Mississippi Canyon area contains the largest concentration of deepwater discoveries and producing properties in the Gulf of Mexico. The first phase of the project will cover about 2,700 sq km. Paradigm Geophysical will perform the depth imaging work for the survey at its processing center in Houston.