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SpotLight - "point" seismic to detect changes in the subsurface

Thursday, February 25, 2021

SpotLight, a company based in Massy, France, is developing technology to monitor changes in the subsurface using seismic focussed on small volume or 'spot'.

SpotLight, a company based in Massy, a suburb of Paris, is developing technology to monitor changes in the subsurface affected by oil and gas production, with seismic focussed on a small volume of the subsurface, or 'spot'.

The company claims that a number of 'spots' on a field can be permanently monitored for a 'few hundred US dollars' - compared to millions of dollars for a full field seismic survey.

In February 2020, SpotLight began work on a pilot with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in the Qarn Alam area of Oman, expecting to complete Phase 1 of the work in May 2020.

The project team identified 12 'spots' where it wanted to make repeat seismic measurement. The size of the spots range from 5 to 30m vertically, and 50 to 300m laterally, depending on the geology.

Ten of the spots were used to track steam flood performance (or break through), and two to monitor cap rock integrity, to ensure that steam injected into a field did not damage the cap rock.

The data acquisition was carried out by PDO using its own standard equipment.

SpotLight is also doing a project with OMV of Austria, which should lead to a peer reviewed technical paper.

How it works

The idea is that reservoir engineers do not need to monitor change in the entire subsurface to check their models of what is going on, they can just look at a small part of it,

For example, the reservoir engineer might want to know if a subsurface fault is permeable. Two 'spots' can monitor for changes on both sides of the fault. It there are changes on only one side of the fault, it is not permeable, says Habib Al Khatib, founder of Spotlight, and a former innovation portfolio manager with CGG.

Another example - the reservoir engineer may want to know if an injection is homogenous (happening the same in all directions). This can be checked for monitoring for change in four spots around the injection point (North South East West).

To make it easier to compare one reading with another, SpotLight advocates installing its sources and receivers in a permanent way where possible.

This is easier to do when you are only doing subsurface analysis of a small part of the subsurface, compared to an entire reservoir section, which may need millions of receivers and thousands of shot points.

Analysis of the data can show changes in pressure, fluid substitution, temperature, and rock properties.

It may be possible to locate critical zones, where sub-surface activity is not well understood, and which might compromise production or the overall integrity or safety of a reservoir.

Making the survey successful relies on good survey design and data processing, rather than extensive deployment of equipment.

Phaze Ventures

The company received investment from Phaze Ventures in early 2019, a venture capital company based in Oman.

Phaze Ventures thought that the technology could be used in geothermal energy, CO2 sequestration and volcanology, as well as oil and gas production.

Phaze also arranged further seed investment from M. Robert Brunck, former CEO of geosciences company CGG, and the French investment bank BPI France.

It also connected the company with Petroleum Development Oman, the Oman National Oil Company.

Associated Companies
» SpotLight
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