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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 17, 2010

Shell, PGS Develop Game-changing Fiber-Optic Seismic System

By Janet Li, TMCnet Contributor

Shell and PGS have announced a collaboration to develop an ultra-high channel count fiber-optic seismic sensing system. Higher channel counts with high quality sensors recover more seismic energy and help cancel noise. The improved resolution and imaging translate into better exploration decisions.

Shell intends to use this optical sensing system, which is based on PGS's existing fiber-optic technology, for onshore exploration as well as reservoir monitoring. It will enable scalability far beyond what is currently available. It should also overcome some of the challenges the industry faces with conventional systems when scaling up the number of channels, such as the lowering of system weight that is crucial during field operations.

'This is the latest of a series of initiatives that Shell has been undertaking recently to improve seismic data quality. Prompting this collaboration were Shell technologists who first recognized the potential breakthrough innovation of applying PGS' underlying OptoSeis technology for onshore seismic,' said Dirk Smit, vice president, Exploration Technology at Shell, in a release. 'This is a clear demonstration of how Shell seeks to deliver technology solutions quickly and efficiently. Integration is key. Given that most of this technology is in existence today, we anticipate a relatively low development risk and expect to deploy the first system soon.'

'The system will be yet another game changer in our industry. PGS is pleased to have secured the confidence of Shell, a technology and business leader, to collaborate on this important development,' says Thorbjorn Rekdal, senior vice president, commercialization, PGS. 'Oil is getting harder to find. For our client, it means more and better information from the reservoir. Superior data will help realize the full potential of both Shell and PGS seismic expertise, processing and imaging technology.'

PGS currently offers integrated reservoir services and full solutions based on the OptoSeis optical permanent reservoir monitoring systems that enable time-lapse 4-component, or 4d- 4c, seismic to improve recovery from existing reservoirs. Synergies from this development effort will further enhance the competitive edge of PGS with its existing fiber-optic instrument offering to the seismic industry for permanent reservoir monitoring, or life-of-field seismic.

In related news, Petrobras and PGS have signed an agreement for PGS to install a permanent seismic monitoring system in the Jubarte field in the North Campos Basin, Espirito Santo province, offshore Brazil. PGS shall provide and install its OptoSeis fiber-optic system, as well as perform seismic acquisition and data processing for the project. This project is a step forward in the use of geophysics for reservoir surveillance, in particular 4D4C seismic to map the flow of fluids in Brazil's deep water reservoirs. It shall further improve the quality and timeliness of information that Petrobras' geophysics team provide their counterparts, reservoir and production engineers, that operate the fields.

Janet Li is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard