Shell, PGS eye fiber optic land seismic gains

Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Petroleum Geo-Services will collaborate to develop an ultrahigh channel count fiber optic land seismic system for exploration and reservoir monitoring.

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, June 15 -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Petroleum Geo-Services will collaborate to develop an ultrahigh channel count fiber optic land seismic system for exploration and reservoir monitoring.

The quality of land seismic data is inadequate for exploration or reservoir monitoring, said Wim Walk, Shell manager of geophysical technologies.

For example, the ability to obtain profitable recovery factors from complex, low permeability, compartmentalized reservoirs in North America requires a high-resolution view of the subsurface, including the location of fractures, in order to optimize well trajectories, Walk said.

Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and PGS signed an agreement June 14 for PGS to install a permanent seabed seismic monitoring system to map fluid flow in Jubarte oil field in the northern Campos basin 77 km off Espirito Santo state. Shell said its technologists recognized the potential of adapting the technology, known as OptoSeis, for use onshore.

It will take several years to develop the onshore system. Shell and PGS will test several prototypes and plan to deploy the first version soon. Location is undecided but probably will be in a Middle Eastern desert basin such as Oman, Walk said.

The scalable system will integrate lightweight cable and fiber optic sensors with 1 million channels compared with about 100,000 channels with existing copper onshore cable, Shell said. Power will not be needed at the nodes. And the sensors can recover a much greater portion of the seismic signal and help cancel noise.

PGS, which recently sold its land seismic acquisition operations, said the Shell collaboration is not a sign PGS is returning to the land seismic business.

The initial Petrobras deployment will cover part of Jubarte field, where the reservoir areal extent exceeds 245 sq km in 1,240-1,350 m of water. Depending on results, the project can grow to cover the entire field, PGS said. The technology involves applying time lapse, four-component seismic.

The data from the system will enable better decisions on well placement and improved-enhanced oil recovery programs, Petrobras said.

Contact Alan Petzet at alanp@ogjonline.com.

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