New technology at the core of the solution to unlock Small Pools of UKCS

  21 Jul, 2018

The UKCS has 3 billion barrels in technically recoverable, but stranded resource, in Small Pools. At current exploration rates, it would take 14 years and 500 wells to discover this same volume. As an ultra-mature region, this level of discovered resource can no longer be ignored. Small Pools have been overlooked previously due to the challenges they present which makes them not economically viable. However, exploiting them could significantly aid Maximizing the Economic Recovery from the UK’s offshore oil and gas resources (MER). New technology is at the core of the solution, holding the potential to help unlock these Small Pools.

Aberdeen based company, Tenzor GEO, specialists in micro seismic surveying, are part of this new solution with the design and development of their new technology.

A challenge Operators face in exploration is the unknown and the associated time and financial implications that brings when drilling new wells, especially in the case of Small Pools.

Tenzor GEO’s technology mitigates the risk of oil and gas exploration of small pools by in its simplest form, providing increased accuracy of what’s going on subsurface to aid decision making related to drilling.

Based on geophysical and sonar principles, it combines micro-seismic data acquisition and interpretation to precisely locate hydro-carbon deposits.

Tenzor GEO’s technology is not an alternative to the conventional methods currently being utilised but is a bolt-on service which due to its flexibility can be run in parallel to the existing method and offer comparison data to confirm what it has found. This extra layer of certainty helps to support making the right drilling decisions and ensure viable projects. The improvement in accuracy offers a significant potential saving of millions.

So how does it work? The specialist equipment is designed to reliably record low-frequency signals. A hermetically sealed device (Ocean Bottom Seismometer) hosts a three-component low-frequency seismometer, a low-noise amplifier, a recorder, a battery, a horizontal level stabilization system, and a gyroscope. They are deployed from vessels in a free-fall fashion and are submerged using a GPS locator. These “listening units” then reliably record low-frequency signals before an automatic resurfacing system allows the units to be recovered and the data collected. A high precision report is then compiled for drilling. The design of the automatic resurfacing system method allows the user to quickly install and remove the devices from depths of up to 6000m. The design also ensures there is no environmental impact. On recovery of the device, it unfastens the ballast, leaving it on the seabed to eventually turn into environmentally harmless sand.

So far, the technology has been used onshore with commercial success in Russia, India and Latin America since 2010 and has also been successfully tested in coastal waters.

Tenzor Geo are now as part of the current co-hort of TechX Pioneers at the Oil and Gas Technology Centre looking for an industry partner to carry out an offshore trial of the technology and take it to the commercial market.

As part of the intensive 16-week TechX programme, Tenzor Geo will be giving individual client-oriented technical presentations in Aberdeen between 13-17 August where the scientific background of the technology will be discussed in detail. For further information or to attend one of Tenzor Geo’s presentations please contact Ivan Starostin ivan.starostin@tenzorgeo.co.uk.