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Getting more value from seismic

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the current financial environment, oil companies need to improve the way they get maximum value from their seismic. Jane Hodson explained how to do this

The best way to get the most value from seismic data is to have a strategy for managing the data at the beginning of the project, said Jane Hodson, head of technical services at DataCo, and formerly lead subsurface technologist with Centrica, speaking at the Digital Energy Journal Aberdeen conference on November 27, 'Better ways to Manage Seismic Data'.

'That will give a more value upfront than managing it at the end. '

Good data management is a key to opening up that potential and we have excellent supply of subsurface data management expertise in Aberdeen, Ms Hodson said. 'With this we can be a global player in this field, we have the domain knowledge, we have the people and we have the technology.'

As well as reducing the amount of budget companies have available, the low oil price is also likely to drive company towards acquisitions, mergers and sales and even decommissioning, she said, which all leads to big demands on data.

With this current downturn in the market we have to start looking at ways to work differently, work smarter, faster and work with the data we already have,' she said.

Seismic data at the right time

Having well managed seismic data starts with how the data is delivered into your system in the first place, she said.

A key question is who in the company first receives the data.

'Does new seismic data get delivered to your data management team, to the IM team, or does it go straight to the geophysicists?' she asked. 'Does it get catalogued?'

'Is the seismic data delivered with everything attached, such as an acquisition report, or a loading sheet? If it doesn't have a loading sheet, how do you know what all the data is?'

Do you have the naming standards in place so you can identify the type of seismic you have?

'Who quality controls the seismic when it is uploaded? Is it the geophysicist? Is it the data manger?'

'How do you know that they have loaded it correctly or have QC it? It's imperative this is done, because if it is not then this happens.'

'I've had people coming to me and saying, 'I can't see my seismic', that they've loaded. I said, 'You've loaded it in Norway, but it's in the UK sector, because you got the wrong UTM.'' So the rule is get it loaded by someone who actually knows how to do this not everyone has that skill.

If you get the data catalogued, loaded, verified and ready to interpret then you have done your job right.

Dry wells or worse

'If you don't get the process right things start to happen you wish had not.'

'The geophysicist does his/her interpretation, creates all those lovely horizons and surfaces, and gives it to the geologist.'

'The geologist creates the geological model, gives it to the reservoir engineer, and they all decide where to drill the well. They drill the well and then, oh, there's nothing there.' Back to the drawing board because you did not ensure the data was loaded correctly in the first place. Lost time, lost money and lost opportunity.

Data verification and Data integrity are key things to be completed before any interpretation work is carried out then hopefully you will have less failures.

Publishing and Archiving

Whether or not you find oil, the seismic interpretation data needs to be captured and published.

'And when all this is done, and the entire package is been tied up quite neatly, the last bit is to archive or sell! Whether it is archiving in your own internal storage system or an external one you need to make that decision.

'Companies spends millions acquiring seismic, and then they forget to do the critical publishing of the final piece of work.'

'In the end it is essential you have a detailed catalogue of your data, whether that is seismic or well, or even documents. '

'Have your archive strategy in place, because you never know when you might need to access it again.'

'As a final statement it means in the future you can check your archives instead of spending another five million pounds or more on reshooting or purchasing seismic, when you may have it already.'


'So the geophysicist is on the workstation, and wants to access the data, but [the network is] so slow it's driving them crazy.'

'You can do as much as you want to clean up those data, but if the [network] you have got is not up to the job, then what's the point?'

'Work with IT. Make sure that you have everything in place like network connectivity. So when the geophysicists are actually interpreting the data, they don't have to wait 10 minutes for each inline to display.'

Geophysicists are a valuable commodity in themselves so wouldn't you prefer they had the tools to deliver the projects on time then sit around waiting.

You can view Jane's talk on video at

Associated Companies
» DataCo
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