MMS Gets Electronic Access to Seismic Data from Western Geco

The MMS, Gulf of Mexico Region, has acquired electronic access for seismic data via point-to-point connection with WesternGeco. As part of its program of leasing offshore oil and gas tracts in Gulf of Mexico Federal waters, MMS evaluates the bids received from each oil and gas lease sale. This evaluation requires the purchase of many sets of data from various seismic data vendors. MMS has been hampered in the past by the time required by paperwork to start, coordinate, and complete ordering the data. As a result of this new contract, the data will be received from WesternGeco through a dedicated DS3/T-3 line.

MMS Director Johnnie Burton hailed the new development as a major step by MMS to move into the digital age. "This is another example of how MMS is moving into electronic government and reaping the benefits of electronic exchanges," she said. "This development will fit nicely into our e-government initiative for all our offshore oil and gas operations."

A benefit would be a major reduction in the time it takes MMS to get the data to the interpreters. The current process of acquiring digital seismic data from vendors using Digital Linear Tape (DLT) and 8 mm tape media requires six to eight weeks. In addition to the delay caused by requisition of the data, more delay occurs when vendors write the data to magnetic tapes and ship them to the Gulf Region of MMS. Upon receipt, GOMR requires additional time to read the tapes and load the data into its computers.

This new process will allow MMS to download seismic data in a matter of hours, compared with the current 30-day turnaround on the DLT media. Further, it will eliminate the need of reading tapes for incorporation, thus saving one-third the time and effort needed in the evaluations. In addition, the present process manually stores tapes off-site, requiring several weeks to access the data from offsite storage, a back-up copy of the data on the same medium, or another copy on a permanent medium to avoid any data loss due because of the short life of media. Accessing the data from vendors using a dedicated DS3/T-3 line will not only provide immediate access to time data, but access to all the derivatives of the data set for a fixed access fee.