March 2, 2009
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Home / Issue Archive / 2009 / February #2 / TGS-NOPEC Moscow Explores the Northern Seas of Russia

№ 2 (February 2009)

TGS-NOPEC Moscow Explores the Northern Seas of Russia

The era of easy exploration in Russia and the rest of the world could be behind us. Over time more sophisticated exploration methods have been introduced in order to hit oil and/or gas.

By Alexei Chesnokov

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A long time has passed since the Shtokman discovery. When will we see the next giant?


We see fluctuations in the oil price and increased exploration costs. The growth in reserves is made up by smaller fields from deeper and/or more subtle traps, and exploration models are harder to predict.


In this environment TGS Nopec claims that state-of-the-art seismic acquisition is of absolute importance accompanied by high tech processing performed by an experienced team. Further, through detailed interpretation and analysis of its data base, TGS-Nopec can offer a third important dimension to its clients. TGS-Nopec does not compromise within these areas, and is prepared to continue its work in Russia as one of the largest providers of high standard multi-client data and services.


TGS-Nopec has a vast experience with offshore seismic surveys throughout the world. More or less all of these surveys have been carried out as multi-client projects. The basic principles of the multi-client concept are that TGS-Nopec will plan, finance and carry out the seismic surveys at it’s own risk and cost. The resulting data will then be made available to interested exploration companies, through a user license, on a non-exclusive basis. This concepts provides benefits for all parties involved: the exploration companies get access to modern, high-quality geophysical data in new and frontier exploration areas at a low cost, and with the availability of data to several companies the authorities has ensured higher quality and more competitive interest for it’s acreage. As a result the owner of the data can potentially receive a higher return on its investment if the interest for the data is high.


When planning new seismic surveys, TGS-Nopec make use of all knowledge and experience within its staff of highly qualified and experienced geo-scientists. All available geological and geophysical data, including seismic, gravity and magnetic data are also used in order to optimize the design and parameters for the various survey areas and the specific objectives within these. With the use of our own state-of-the-art data processing techniques, the raw data are processed and prepared for use by the interpreters.


Through cooperation with the Russian company Integrator, TGS-Nopec Moscow has been given the opportunity to work with new seismic data acquired in the Chukchi Sea, an area which has seen very little exploration activity so far. Through the  TGS-Nopec’s evaluation and interpretation, it has become obvious that these data provide valuable information, which again gives the geo-scientists a new and more correct understanding of the geological evolution and geological sequences of the area. Also the exploration companies see the benefit of having new high-quality data available in this frontier region. Maybe results of more seismic acquisition in the future will show that Chukchi Sea become an important hydrocarbon producing province.


Based on the experiences from other parts of the world, and our work together with Russian partners, TGS-Nopec is convinced that the concept of multi-client seismic surveys is a valuable tool in the future exploration of the vast Russian Arctic. Due to the factors such as high cost of operations as a result of the remoteness and lack of infrastructure, limited accessibility due to ice and weather conditions and environmental sensitivity, these areas should definitely be suited to this approach. Multi-client seismic acquisition reduces risk and contributes to a complete and cost-efficient exploration and evaluation of the resources available.


One of TGS-Nopec advantages is also the company’s advancement in creation of various algorithms for seismic data processing with depth migration technique in particular. Depth migration is an essential stage of seismic data processing. The composition of algorithms of migration and methods of Depth Migration Modeling makes it possible to run the entire procedure at the highest up-to-date level. Four basic Depth Migration algorithms are offered today, within which various parameters can be manipulated as well giving a chance for optimization of migration process to obtain a high quality image of the internal structure of the target under survey: (a) Kirchhoff, (b) Wave equation, (c) Reverse time, (d) Beam migration by two options: G and F. Special attention shall be paid to potential consideration of velocity anisotropy during modeling, as well as the application of tomographic approach to optimization of velocities. Multiple algorithmic solutions of Depth Migration and methods of modeling provide for flexible consideration of peculiar seismic and geological features, and eventually for the results ensuring the most correct solution of all subsequent interpretation tasks including recommendations for wells locations.

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