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Petroleum Exploration Using New Technologies in 3D Seismic Operations in Arctic Environment - North Slope Alaska

[+] Author Affiliations
Luis Rodriguez, Juan Uribe, P. A. Munoz, Roberto Parrado, Nestor Sanabria

Repsol, Houston, TX

Paper No. OMAE2018-78064, pp. V008T11A015; 6 pages
  • ASME 2018 37th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 8: Polar and Arctic Sciences and Technology; Petroleum Technology
  • Madrid, Spain, June 17–22, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5129-6
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Oil exploration in arctic regions is a very complex activity taking place in a sensitive environment, highlighted by social, wildlife and extreme weather conditions restricting operations to a very limited time window based on the opening of the Tundra season regulations which assesse the quality of the ice and snow coverage over frozen tundra, lakes and seas.

Thanks to new technologies, oil exploration in the arctic environment takes a great steps in 3D seismic acquisition methods passing from cable recording equipment and the dependence of sensor connectivity to a recording center and replacing this system with a very versatile system of wireless receivers units equipped with GPS positioning and time stamp recording and storing the seismic data “in situ”.

This new technology has allowed a high unit count of light receivers to operate in extreme conditions, which in the past was practically impossible given the limitations of the logistical support to carry out this type of operations in remote and difficult access areas. Definitely this technological development has allowed Repsol to explore a larger surface area in a single winter season acquiring high resolution seismic data that allows obtaining high quality images with better geophysical attributes.

Seismic sources have also undergone a notable evolution through the use of high productivity techniques of vibrating trucks moving from a set of multiple vibrators to a single vibrator emission getting up to date simultaneous source acquisitions which allows recording more information without waiting for a second set of vibrators or single vibroseis truck to start shaking to emit energy to the ground. The ability to vibrate at the same time with many sets of single vibrators allows operation on frozen sea either with grounded ice or vibrating on floating ice expanding the exploration boundary to the open sea zones.

The new technology has made it possible for Repsol to improve the operational capability of the crew without increasing the number of people or increasing the logistical support required to operate in remote and difficult access areas. This technological advance has allowed the improvement of the quality of oil exploration using 3D seismic techniques reducing the price per recorded trace or per surface source, increasing the possibility to acquire larger surfaces and better seismic data in a single winter season window. More importantly, these technologies have allowed affordable oil exploration with a high respect for the communities, the wildlife and the environment.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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