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TenzorGEO's new seismic system improves success of locating hydrocarbon deposits

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12 May 2020

Technology which has the potential to help the oil and gas industry save millions of pounds by almost trebling the chance of drilling a successful well has taken a major step forward.

The results of a North Sea field trial in 2019, carried out with an oil major by TenzorGEO, have now been released and "it has achieved all we had hoped for,” according to company founder Ivan Starostin.

TenzorGEO uses unique software and an environmentally friendly offshore passive seismic data acquisition method to accurately locate and delineate hydrocarbon deposits, pinpointing where it is best to drill to reduce the chance of a dry well.

"The aim of the trial was to demonstrate that proven onshore microseismic technology could be applied offshore and have a transformational impact and that is exactly what it did,” said Starostin, the chief executive and a former investment banker.

"The offshore field trial involved 25 ocean bottom seismometers being dropped to the seabed to record data continuously for at least 14 hours from 44 different positions. Relocation and recovery were done using a remotely operated vehicle and the offshore campaign was completed in less than five days.

"The initial interpretation of the acquired data was not as accurate as we had hoped in delineating the boundary of the hydrocarbon reservoir which had previously been mapped by the operator using traditional seismic methods.

"We quickly established that noise from waves and tides on the seabed was dominating the frequency width in which we were operating and creating acoustic pollution which was not being filtered out as effectively as we had anticipated by the algorithms used onshore. The interference associated with Rayleigh's waves - acoustic waves which travel along the surface of solids - is concentrated in the frequency range of 2-6 Hz onshore, but offshore it is below 2 Hz. This greatly complicates the analysis and processing of marine data.”

"During this field trial we made significant improvements to both the way the data is acquired offshore and how we process it to filter out marine noise. To improve filtering, a new methodology using triangles of simultaneous recordings was developed, which allowed us to effectively suppress interfering waves. That enabled us to achieve the accuracy we were seeking. The trial allowed us to make significant improvements to our underlying algorithms and software to enable its offshore application to match its proven onshore performance, and that is priceless.

"This was the whole point of the field trial – to allow us to identify areas for development and effectively address them so this transformational technology is ready for the offshore market.

"We achieved exactly what we were aiming for and in large part it is thanks to the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and its TechX accelerator programme. They have shown faith in us throughout our journey and have helped us to reach a stage we might not otherwise have reached for some considerable time.

"Before the coronavirus crisis we started consultation with another operator to carry out a further trial offshore Africa. We hope that may be underway before too long to provide further validation of our technology.

"During these unprecedented times we are proud to be able to keep our team intact. We are all working from our homes and will hit the ground running the moment it is safe to return to normal business operations.”