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Navigating seismic data management

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gloria Adebo, Geotechnical Data Manager with Chevron, gave some advice on the best way to navigating seismic data management

'Seismic data management can be a minefield, as most of you data managers in this room will attest to,' said Gloria Adebo, Geotechnical Data Manager with Chevron, providing her personal views at the Digital Energy Journal November 26 Aberdeen conference 'managing seismic data'.

One of the best ways to learn how to get better at it is to take part in activities organised by Common Data Access (CDA), a subsidiary of industry association Oil and Gas UK, she said.

I see CDA as 'almost a compulsory membership body. If you work in oil and gas industry your company should be looking to be members of CDA.'

'They have these regular meetings - well user group, seismic user group.
For me, personally, I'd recommend that the companies that have any activity whatsoever on UKCS should be looking at this body if they haven't already.'

All of the Oil and Gas UK data is now managed in a single information store called 'UK Oil and Gas Data', providing all information about wells, seismic data, licenses and infrastructure data for the UK continental shelf.

Requirements to keep data

Ms Adebo talked about DECC's 'PON 9', Petroleum Operations Notice for 'Record and sample requirements for seaward surveys and wells,' with requirements for what kind of data you have to keep.

'This to me is a set of guidelines that all data managers should strive to be familiar with,' she said. 'It is very valuable when it comes to managing your data in house.'

It gives you rules about what you can do and what you can't do, an what happens if a license interest is transferred to another party.

There is a general requirement to keep your data 'in perpetuity'. There are certain times when you can escape the requirement, but 'don't ask me how you secure permission to actually get rid of that, I can imagine it's an issue,' she said.

'No-one wants to have their signature as the person who said you can burn it, and then 5 years down the line you need the data.'

There was a discussion about the talk about how the UK government (DECC)'s rules of keeping data might change in the future - for example with requirements to keep microseismic data or permanent seismic data.

Seismic data expert Dr Alan Smith (in the audience) said that any seismic data needs to be kept in perpetuity in the UK, and must be provided to the government in the format they ask for it. 'That is what the law states and don't forget it,' he said.

One audience member said it would be useful to have more clarity from 'Basically go on your own advice which is to keep in an industry standard format,' the audience member said. 'Some people have seismic data in 9 track tapes in Iron Mountain for 30 years and the chances are it will not be in an accessible form.'


It is important to have an analytics system for your seismic data, she said. 'There's so much data out there, volume wise, you really need to manage this and have some kind of analytics.

'Otherwise what good is it, you just get confused. You take the last version, whatever it is, just to save you from digging so deep.'

The nature of seismic data has not changed much over the recent years, but the volume of it has increased, she said. 'You can get SEG-Y files coming to you as big as 2 or more terabytes in one file,' she said. 'You need a system that can manage that.'

Finding data

It is 'absolutely valuable' if you can display seismic data on a map, she said, so you can see what seismic data you have by geographical region.

'Sometimes that is more than half of the problem solved, if you know what is out there and what you can get,' she said. 'Then you are practically there.'

CDA is working on a 'data federation' system which will enable you to download an XML file showing what data is available for a certain part of the world, which you can display on a map, she said.

Digital media

It is important to regularly check the medium your data is stored in, because technology can change over time. 'There's only so many drives that you can keep in house,' she said.

Sometimes seismic data processing companies provide data on USB sticks. They are very convenient but probably not the best for long term storage. 'They are not that secure and they will not last for long time.
So you want to put that on some kind of tape for longevity.'

If you decide to outsource management of you tape, 'you have to make sure that your service provider keeps the tapes in the right condition,' she said.

'You should also keep your own inventory of what you have placed in there.'

There are still some geoscientists who like seismic data on hard copy (paper). Ms Adebo said she thinks seismic stuck to the wall 'is a lovely sight because my background is geology.'

But they are not necessarily very practical. Paper seismic is much more expensive to store than electronic files. 'The ROI for scanning might be a bit long term, but it frees up your storage. It takes away that item on your invoice every year. It gives it more accessibility,' she said. If a geophysicist wants it, he just needs a tif image.'

Watch Gloria's talk on video at

Associated Companies
» Chevron
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