Oil & Gas UK and CDA Strive to Boost Exploration for UK Oil and Gas

Revised guidelines for the release of seismic data have been published on the Oil & Gas UK website, following an extensive review by the industry association, Common Data Access (CDA) and BERR. The online publication of the Seismic Data Release Guidelines is a significant step forward in making it easier for companies to share and access data collected from seismic surveys so that future exploration is encouraged and recovery of the UK's oil and gas is maximized.

"The updated document guides companies on compliance with the data release regulations, said Paul Dymond, Oil & Gas UK's operations director. "It will also help improve the voluntary process agreed by industry and BERR to encourage companies to release seismic data to the National Hydrocarbons Data Archive (NHDA) after a set period. The NHDA subsequently publishes this archived data to make it available at low cost to others exploring the province."

To further encourage the archiving and sharing of seismic and exploration data, CDA and the British Geological Survey (BGS) have also recently secured agreement from BERR that any piece of data relating to a seismic survey or well can be archived to the NHDA independently.

Prior to this agreement, all data relating to a particular license had to be archived together but the complexity of the data, the large number of parties involved in each license and the difficulties of associating all available data with a particular license actively discouraged archiving.

Malcolm Fleming, CDA's chief executive, commented: "The new agreement will make it simpler and easier for companies to archive elements of data on a license, releasing them from their legal obligation to keep this data in a useable form in perpetuity."

The changes to the regulatory framework for data management will help ensure the effectiveness of the CDA-managed Seismic DataStore, the new centralized repository for digital seismic data to be launched later this year.

"The Seismic DataStore will substantially improve the retrieval time and quality of seismic data available so that companies can accelerate prospect development and respond faster to license rounds, reducing costs whilst at the same time improving their chances of exploration success," said Mr. Fleming.