BP has contracted Concept to fast track develop key positioning, QC control and data management elements of a pioneering '4D seismic' reservoir management project for the company's Valhall field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. If successful, the emerging technology is expected to have worldwide applications as oil companies seek to squeeze more oil and gas out of their existing reservoirs.
Welcoming the BP contract, Alastair Hay, managing director, Concept Systems, said: 'We are delighted to be associated with technology innovation which can help prolong the life of the Valhall field. This is also a reward for our investment in R&D over the past four years in anticipation of the demands of 4D seismic.'
BP is a front-runner in the oil industry's efforts to realize the potential of 4D seismic, an advanced application of 3D seismic technology which over the last 15 years has become an essential tool in the search for oil and gas. 4D seismic is a reservoir management tool based on carrying out a series of repeatable 3D seismic surveys at regular intervals over a producing reservoir in order to 'image' the movement of hydrocarbon fluids. The information derived from comparing different surveys over time will allow petroleum engineers to focus production drilling and other hydrocarbon recovery measures which can hopefully net millions of dollars from additional reserves.
For the Valhall project, BP intends to position around the field's platform a network of permanent buried cable equipped to record 3D seismic and is expected to shoot a number of surveys in the years to come. A key goal of the project is to demonstrate that this approach can substantially decrease the time taken from the point at which an acquisition is started, to the point where the interpreted data is influencing business decisions of the asset team. The goal for this project is to acquire seismic on-demand and reduce the turnaround time significantly.
Arnfinn Baerheim, technology advisor for BP's Valhall field, said: 'This is an important project which will not only help to deliver improved recovery from Valhall but will be a step towards proving the value of this innovative technology for use in other BP assets. We chose Concept for its proven abilities to work closely with our team to deliver and deploy technology quickly into the field.'
Concept's task within the project will be to work with BP geoscientists and engineers to address the basic technological issue in 4D seismic, namely repeatability. BP is looking to Concept to develop a high degree of automation to both improve repeatability and reduce costs. Every survey has to be acquired with known 'repeatable' parameters so that the results provide an accurate picture of the behavior of the hydrocarbons in production. Burying the cable will take away the uncertainty of positioning the seismic cables, which is a complication when a vessel shoots a conventional 3D seismic survey towing eight or more seismic streamers.
The positioning of shooting vessels during the 4D seismic surveys planned will still be subject to the vagaries of weather, tide and survey geometry, as well as variations in equipment. More significantly, the amount of data is much greater and the handling is more complex than on conventional marine-towed surveys. The recording cable in ocean bottom 4D seismic is 'multicomponent', using a combination of hydrophones and geophones while normal streamer-based seismic is shot with hydrophones only.
Concept's solution will be based on modifying its proven technologies from its 'Gator' data command and control suite used in ocean bottom cable seismic survey applications, as well as its industry leading infield QC and analysis tools such as its Reflex attribute analysis solution and Sprint data processing suite. Gator is expected to provide the means to synchronize the shooting and recording activities in the surveys as well as provide vital navigation and positioning data. Communications will be coordinated via an advanced radio network to be devised by Concept engineers.
Valhall is operated by BP Norge on behalf of partners Amerada Hess, Shell and Total.
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