EMGS Cleared to Perform Seismic Studies for Petrobras, Devon

Norwegian electromagnetic seismic studies company EMGS has obtained the first license to perform electromagnetic studies in Brazil for federal energy company Petrobras (NSYE: PBR) and US oil company Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN).

"This is a new technology that will change the way seismic studies are done because it reduces the risk significantly," EMGS Brazilian representative Marcio Mello told BNamericas.

Specifically, Brazil's federal environmental protection agency Ibama awarded the license on July 11 for the studies of the northeastern basins of Barreirinhas and Para-Maranhao, according to Ibama licensing department head Luiz Kunz.

The license expires year-end and the studies could start in August or September.

"These companies have hired EMGS to carry out the studies in deepwater blocks in these frontier basins, which have known potential," Mello said.

Devon has interests in one block in the Barreirinhas basin (BM-BAR3), while Petrobras has interests in seven exploration blocks in Barreirinhas and four in the Para-Maranhao basin.


According to Mello, initial seismic studies already have been performed in these regions, identifying geological structures. The electromagnetic survey will allow the companies to identify whether there are gas or oil reserves, Mello said.

"Without these technologies, the companies would have to drill wells at a cost of some US$40mn each to see whether there is oil in the structures," he said. "Now they will only drill if the surveys show there is oil."

This is the first license for electromagnetic studies in Brazil, which meant permission had first to be obtained from national environment protection council Conama before Ibama could clear the new technology, the Ibama official said.

"This is totally new technology in Brazil and is very new in the world, so we have to take all precautions necessary," said Kunz.

Although this is the first official license, the technology had already been used in Brazil by Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell (NYSE: RDS-B), Mello said, without giving details.

"We are in talks with Shell for other projects and with lots of other companies in Brazil," he said.

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