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TenzorGEO low-frequency, or “passive”, seismic sounding technology gives greater certainty of the presence of hydrocarbons, increasing drilling confidence and reducing costs.

Project Summary

TenzorGEO is a low-frequency seismic sounding (LFS) technology that measures the LFS response of a drilling prospect and can be used as a direct hydrocarbon indicator, without the need for drilling.

Delivery of the first offshore field trial involved:

  • Deployment and retrieval of forty ocean bottom seismometers (OBS).
  • Acquisition of LFS data over five days
  • A blind trial of the effectiveness by positioning the measurements across the oil-water contact of a of a known oil discovery.
  • Processing and interpretation of the data gathered.
  • Presenting results to the industry partner.

Results from the first pass of processing and interpretation identified areas with high and low probability of hydrocarbons. Following the presentation of the initial results TenzorGEO gained valuable insights to adjust the processing sequence and include a revised approach to filtering out naturally occurring noise from the marine environment.

This revised technique showed a reasonable match with the actual oil-water contact location (at 50% probability) and suggested a 40-50% probability of hydrocarbon over an 800m lateral span. Further offshore trials will enable the technology to develop and mature in terms of its prediction accuracy.

Industry value:
The TenzorGEO LFS technology provides a direct indication of the presence of hydrocarbons before exploratory drilling. Around one in every ten exploration wells drilled discovers oil. At an average cost of £24 million per well (Oil & Gas Authority, Well Insights Report 2018), increased success could significantly reduce exploration costs. On a three well campaign, the potential saving and value to the industry through the reduction in uncertainty could be in the region of £3.6 million.

There is potential to adapt the LFS technology to measure the concentration of geologically stored CO2 or Hydrogen.

Lessons learned:
TenzorGEO demonstrated the ability to successfully acquire and process low-frequency seismic data in an offshore environment. Completing the trial resulted in refinement of the ocean bottom seismic sensor deployment, relocation and recovery, as well as the deployment pattern and improvements in operational efficiency. There is a significant difference in the characteristics of the raw low-frequency seismic data collected onshore vs. offshore, with the latter having much more noise at the operating frequencies. Developing a new filtering method will overcome this challenge.

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