Seismic and exploration

Seismic and exploration technologies fulfil a range of operators’ objectives, in particular they:

  • allow for exploration in frontier areas and deeper/ more complex prospects
  • de-risk more complex discoveries for their cost effective development
  • extend/optimise hydrocarbon recovery from legacy fields

Leading operators are directly involved in the development of technologies for seismic and exploration, often considering this a source of competitive advantage

Industry insights

  • Combining high-resolution 3D broadband and the latest inversion techniques enables to better illuminate and de-risk UKCS targets (e.g. Pre-Zechstein, and injectites)
  • Ocean bottom nodes are useful for sub-basalt imaging and near-infrastructure shoots (e.g. 4D), however this technology is still expensive
  • Majority of these technologies are provided by the supply chain and the primary drive should be to ensure a more widespread usage of what is available
  • Key areas of technology developments aim at reducing the cost and footprint of survey equipment (low cost, and permanent ocean bottom acquisition
  • In addition, Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to deliver a significant reduction in seismic analysis cycle-time (potentially allowing real-time, simultaneous modelling)
  • Combination of different types of surveys to improve subsurface imaging is not widespread on the UKCS, and this may be an opportunity further enabled by AI

Technology categories

Technology maturity

  • 3D broadband
  • Wide and multi-azimuth
  • Ocean-bottom acquisition
  • Latest inversion techniques
  • Time-lapse (4D) seismic
  • Low-cost OBNs, permanent and sea bottom sources
  • Artificial intelligence for (real-time) processing
  • Advanced interpretation integrating rock-physics and multiple surveys