Some Like It Hot

Published in SEG 2014 DAILIES

In 2013, Asian Oilfield Services Limited (ASIAN), based in Gurgaon, India, acquired its largest 3D survey to date for Russian oil company client, Gazprom Neft, operator of the Shakal Block in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan. This extremely challenging project was set against the backdrop of rugged mountainous terrain, searing desert temperatures, less than enthusiastic locals from surrounding villages, mixed with the occasional minefield left over from previous conflicts. Based on Gazprom Neft’s technical requirements, ASIAN chose to deploy Wireless Seismic’s RT System 2. Despite all the challenges, the project was most notable for acquiring data with a spread of more than 6,200 live channels with real-time transmission of all the seismic data–setting a new world record for the largest number of live seismic channels recorded in real time by a cable-free seismic data acquisition system.

Gazprom Neft was so impressed with the real-time performance of RT System 2 that is asked Wireless Seismic, Inc., based in Sugar Land, Texas, to test the system in the extreme frozen conditions of the Siberian forests earlier this year. The test results fully justified all of its expectations, including improving overall productivity. It has led Gazprom Neft to champion the “Green Seismic” technique in their efforts to improve the environmental impact of seismic surveys.

A second oil company contracted ASIAN to return to Kurdistan this year to acquire a 3D survey that covered a larger area and encountered the same hostile terrain and environment. Supported by Wireless Seismic’s field service engineers, ASIAN quickly surpassed their previous record by deploying over 13,000 channels and setting another world record for cable-free, real-time data transmission from a live patch of over 6,400 channels.

RT System 2 delivered excellent productivity due to its stability and because it was consistently live, ready and waiting for the vibrators at the beginning of each day. The system helped to optimize data quality, as its real-time QC was able to monitor the effects of wind noise over the spread, allowing the client to decide when to pause acquisition. It also helped to improve ground coupling by identifying poor geophone plants–a significant problem in Kurdistan’s arid rocky terrain.

Occasionally, disgruntled villagers stole some of the wireless remote units during the survey. However, as RT System 2 transmits data in real time, the thieves only stole the hardware–the much more valuable data were already safely stored at the Central recorder.

In mid-August, production was disrupted by an earthquake, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, close to the Iranian-Iraqi border. RT System 2 was able to monitor the background seismicity due to aftershocks and inform the client’s decisions to cease production when the tremors occurred.

The RT System 2 real-time capabilities have been put to use in far more dramatic ways because the increase in ISIS activities, not far from the survey area, resulted in conflict between ISIS and the Kurdish Peshmerga. Noise generated by the artillery bombardment between the two sides was monitored by the RT System 2, which despite being out of earshot, swamped the seismic records. The system’s real-time QC was able to see clearly the extraneous noise on the spread, and the client was able to pause production until the bombardment ceased.

“The real-time monitoring capabilities of RT System 2 have played a significant role in Kurdistan this summer,” states Mick Lambert, Wireless Seismic President & CEO. “Our client was able to maximize productivity by being confident that the system was properly deployed, and it was able to distinguish normal environmental disturbances as compared to earthquake and conflict-generated noise. These latter events were out of earshot, and the system’s areal SeisMonitor proved to be a huge benefit, saving the client from having to re-shoot data acquired outside acceptable noise specifications.”