As the essential tool used throughout the energy geoscience industry, geophysical surveys have been used extensively around the world for more than five decades and are critical in meeting the world’s growing energy demand. Advancements in geophysical surveying technology have helped find, drill and produce petroleum and natural gas with the least risk and the least possible impact to the earth. As operators explore for energy resources, the use of geophysical technologies helps to reduce cost, increase safety and minimize impact to the environment. Energy Starts Here!
Since its beginnings, geophysical industry technology has played a central role in reducing the environmental impact associated with exploration and production, and enabling global access to affordable energy. Over the decades this has transformed economies, communities and lives. Looking forward, I believe geophysics will be critical to bringing the innovations required to support the world’s efficient transition to alternative and new energies. This is one of the many reasons that I joined and continue to work within the industry.
The Power of Transformation
Over the last few decades, there have been significant advances and innovation in energy exploration and development. Seismic survey technology has been one of the greatest driving forces behind the energy exploration and development revolution, providing some of the greatest return on investment. From the exploration phase to the first well drilled and throughout the life of the asset, seismic survey technology is making its mark across the entire lifecycle of energy development.
For petroleum and natural gas exploration, images of the earth’s subsurface created from geophysical data can shed light on potential drilling hazards to ensure it is as safe, reliable and efficient as possible. Analysis of a subsurface in advance of drilling is only available through seismic techniques and assists in the design of well trajectories that can reach the resource reservoir while avoiding any hazardous zones that could cause potentially serious issues. Companies also use seismic to perform hazard surveys to look for geologic hazards on the sea bottom and in the shallow subsurface that could affect the drilling of a well. Once petroleum or natural gas is found, and a reservoir is being developed and produced, seismic images increase the understanding of the characteristics of the reservoir and optimize development plans. Use of seismic data leads to more efficient petroleum and natural gas extraction requiring fewer wells while increasing the production of hydrocarbons.
Use of Geophysical Surveys:
So, what is the geophysical industry and why is it so important to the world? The geological & geophysical (G&G) industry is vast, and the people working in the industry are in the business of studying the earth by using different types of surveying techniques. The objective of G&G surveying is to use the data collected to produce maps or models that indicate the earth’s geography, stratigraphy, rock distribution, and geological structures. These surveys determine characteristics of the earth’s subsurface by measuring the physical differences between rock types or physical discontinuities without seeing them directly by digging, drilling or tunneling.
Geologists and geophysicists use their knowledge and interpretation of G&G survey data to help to determine safe locations to build homes, offices, and offshore renewable energy projects; find and develop oil and natural gas deposits onshore and offshore; locate mineral and precious metal mines; detect ground water; and to check foundations for roads and buildings to research purposes to determine environmental concerns and reduce hazard for issues such as landslides to assisting in archaeological activities.
Land and marine seismic surveys and other geophysical survey data provide critical information for the benefit of society and quality of life.