Spectraseis' Land Contract Backlog Grows

Spectraseis AG has won contracts with a host of major oil and gas producers. The company also announced its eleventh patent filing and successful completion of a marine technology trial in the North Sea.

"Spectraseis has achieved extraordinary breakthroughs in technology development and customer support in the past six months," said Ross Newman, Chief Executive, Spectraseis. "The results of our recent survey work show the value our technology can bring to the E&P industry."

New contracts

The company announced that it has signed new contracts with Petrobras, Kuwait Oil Company, Statoil, Ecopetrol and two Saudi Aramco joint-ventures exploring for gas deposits in the remote Rub' al-Khali desert of Saudi Arabia. It also recently completed land surveys totaling over 500 square kilometers for Pemex in Mexico and Hydro in Libya.

The surveys encompass a wide range of environments, including producing gas and oil fields, frontier exploration areas and environmentally sensitive locales. The technical challenges include mapping reservoir extensions in regions with poor active seismic response or limited access and exploration of areas too large for fast or cost-effective conventional seismic coverage.

"We're now seeing accelerated adoption of low frequency surveying" said Newman. "The results of surveys delivered so far have exceeded expectations and the major challenge we currently face is providing sufficient data acquisition and processing capacity to meet the strong demand for services by new customers."

Spectraseis directly addresses three of the industry's greatest challenges: reducing the risk of high-cost wells in many new exploration areas; environmental and access restrictions on the use of conventional surveying methods; and the shortcomings inherent in active seismic and electromagnetic techniques in locations with difficult surface conditions, such as sand dunes, forests and jungles, or obscuring acoustical and electrical subsurface features.

"The industry has an immense need for geoscientific innovation," added Newman. "The mature technologies will not sustain required levels of efficiency as exploration costs increase and the development of existing reservoirs becomes more complex. E&P operators must get new and better information with a faster turnaround. Spectraseis is doing important work to meet this challenge."

Successful marine trial

In April, Spectraseis successfully completed the first offshore test of its technology. The 14-day pilot survey, over a proven oil field in the North Sea, demonstrated the feasibility of deploying and recovering broadband ocean bottom receivers to record passive low frequency data at more than 130 locations on the seabed.

The program was a collaborative effort among field operator Hydro, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Bergen Oilfield Services and Spectraseis, which developed the spectral analysis techniques being implemented.

"We have acquired a dataset with rich low frequency spectra" said Rob Habiger, Chief Technical Officer, Spectraseis. "More than 90% of the recordings have passed initial quality checks. This is a pioneering project but we are able to apply much of what we have learned from our earlier work to this first full-scope marine survey."

"We're transforming the technology from onshore to offshore for the first time," said Peter Hanssen, principal geophysicist at Norsk Hydro's oil and energy research center in Bergen. "It's the first worldwide test offshore. For the future, if the test is positive, it will change how we look for oil worldwide in any area. It will have immense implications."

Spectraseis' environmentally friendly passive data acquisition approach is especially well-suited for sensitive marine mammal habitats.

Patent filings

Spectraseis said that it had filed its eleventh patent application covering signal processing technologies developed by the company and its research partners.

"Spectraseis is developing what we believe will be a unique and valuable intellectual property portfolio" said David Walker, IP Counsel, Spectraseis. "The techniques we're seeking patents for are highly inventive and we're confident that we will achieve a protected position for our technology. This is a dynamic and exciting technical frontier and the really innovative concepts captured in the Spectraseis patent portfolio complement our proprietary technologies. We will work hard to maximize the commercial value and competitive advantage of our expanding intellectual property position."

Software release

The company also announced the first release of RIOviz, its customer software product for passive low frequency data. RIOviz allows a geoscientist to view and analyze low-frequency data in both time and frequency domains. With this software the client can become an active partner in studying low frequency anomalies.

Spectraseis delivered the package to a first end-user in April and will be licensing it to future survey customers. Tools in the software will to allow exploration and asset teams to perform additional interpretation of low frequency survey data and integrate the results with other geological and geophysical (G&G) data, such as the results of 3D seismic surveys.

Zurich-based Spectraseis provides advanced geophysical surveys and data processing services to help oil and gas companies more efficiently find and produce hydrocarbon reserves. Spectraseis researches, develops and applies proprietary technologies to acquire and analyze low frequency seismic background waves occurring in the Earth's subsurface in order to identify spectral anomalies indicating the presence or absence of hydrocarbon deposits. The resulting information can greatly reduce the risk and improve the success rate of costly oil exploration and drilling activities. Spectraseis has research and technology development partnerships with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and national oil companies in the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. The company was established in 2003 and is closely held. Hydro Technology Ventures, a unit of Norwegian oil producer Norsk Hydro ASA, owns 21%.

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