New Seismic Data Management System Improves UK Exploration

Common Data Access Limited (CDA), which manages well data collected during drilling activity on the UK continental shelf (UKCS), has launched its Seismic DataStore. The new online service will dramatically increase the efficiency of retrieving and analyzing the 4,500 2D and 3D seismic surveys, enable companies to respond much more quickly and confidently to license applications and help ensure that recovery of the UK's oil and gas is maximized.

Energy Minister, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, commented, "The wealth of knowledge contained in the seismic surveys carried out around our coasts over the last forty years, at a cost of billions of pounds, is contained on millions of tapes on the shelves of companies or their record management contractors. The Seismic DataStore will transfer and preserve an important element of this collection, relieving the burden on companies who come under pressure to meet their obligation to provide this data to other companies while trying to locate information for their own licensing applications. This development comes at an important time for the UK oil and gas industry; by helping to reduce duplication of work and improve efficiency, it will help to increase recovery of the UK's oil and gas reserves."

Malcolm Fleming, CDA's chief executive, said, "Under the conventional system, geophysicists can spend up to half their time looking for or managing data when they could be searching for oil and gas. At a time of high costs and a 57% fall in exploration activity, they should be doing what they are skilled in -- interpreting data. The Seismic DataStore helps to increase efficiency by reducing data search time incurred."

The surveys most in demand are being loaded onto the system first and by the end of this year more than 750 of the most relevant will be available. Not only will seismic data be easier to locate, it will be quality-assured. When data is located through the Seismic DataStore online, purchasers have the opportunity to preview it to ensure its quality is suitable before investing in it, saving unnecessary costs.

Those surveys, which are too big to download immediately, will be on members' desktops within three days. Companies who are not members of CDA will still have to sign licenses but will benefit by receiving quality-controlled data, which they have identified as useful, within the three week guideline set by Government.

The Seismic DataStore also overcomes the time-consuming process of scrutinizing and signing data licenses. Companies which subscribe to CDA will no longer have to sign separate data license agreements under the new system.

Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK's chief executive, commented, "The Seismic DataStore brings considerable business benefits. The ability to download quality-assured seismic data in days or hours compared with weeks or months significantly increases the productivity of scarce, expert resources. At a time when resources are being reduced, people will be able to work faster and more efficiently. That means they can make better applications for license rounds and consider more prospects, all of which will help to extend the life of the North Sea."