New Nodal Technologies for Oil and Gas Exploration

New nodal systems for both land and marine deployment demonstrate that it is important that companies keep innovating and collaborating to improve oil and gas technologies.
This article appeared in Vol. 16, No. 5 - 2019


New Nodal Technologies for Oil and Gas Exploration

When discussing new technologies in the oil and gas industry, one can get the impression that most of the innovative developments are coming from bright new start-up companies, working with new ideas related to cloud computing and artificial intelligence. While it is true that there are many exciting young entrepreneurial ventures out there, a number of the longer-established companies in the industry still regularly push technology forward in new ways, often harnessing the digital revolution.

  • The new WiNG fully integrated wireless nodal acquisition system. Land nodal solution. © Sercel.

  • GPR is an innovative seabed nodal solution. © Sercel.

High Performance Broadband Digital Sensor Technology

One such company is Sercel, a leading designer and manufacturer of seismic equipment and reservoir monitoring instruments and part of the CGG group. In March 2014 the company unveiled a highly sensitive single sensor with an ultra-quiet performance (below 15ng/√Hz across the frequencies of interest to the seismic industry), which was designed to detect even the weakest signals at extreme temperatures and in adverse conditions. The resulting digital signal provides a much higher fidelity representation of ground motion than that provided by analogue geophones.

Building on the success of this technology, known as QuietSeis®, the company has recently developed two new products which are anchored on the proven high performance of this highly efficient broadband digital sensor technology.

For land-based exploration, Sercel announced the launch of WiNG, a fully integrated wireless nodal acquisition system, which has the QuietSeis sensors at its heart and uses advanced vibroseis solutions to source the energy. The node is compact and light, designed to minimise transportation and storage costs, making it easy to deploy in a variety of environments, and can record data for up to 50 days. The data management system collects and processes of all survey information, from both sources and receivers, and the data is continuously monitored and quality controlled remotely in real time. In this manner, the accurate acquisition of high quality data can be combined with optimum field operational efficiency to provide improved imagery of the subsurface in a land environment.

Ocean-Bottom Node Broadband Digital Technology

Moving offshore, the company has been working on a new ocean-bottom node (OBN) that also harnesses QuietSeis’ broadband digital sensor technology. The node is called GPR and features an integrated all-in-one compact design that holds both the sensors and the hydrophone that continuously record the data. Each node has an optional integrated acoustic positioning system to optimise operations. As with many offshore OBN systems, it can be deployed either by a remotely-operated underwater vehicle or using the ‘node-on-a-rope’ system, in which autonomous nodes are attached to passive ropes under water. Sea trials have been undertaken and the company believes that the results demonstrate that the GPR node can collect superior data for accurate seismic imaging in comparison to data collected by conventional sensors. 

An interesting aspect of the development of the new node is that it it is the result of a collaboration between Sercel and BGP, a fact which demonstrates the innovative ways in which service companies in the oil industry have been working together in recent years. The two companies have a longstanding partnership and have used what they see as their complementary expertise to design and develop the new product. They believe that by collaborating together, harnessing Sercel’s state-of-the-art technology and manufacturing expertise and BGP’s long experience of operating OBN systems in the field, the two companies have been able to deliver a superior product. It is likely that partnerships like these will become more common and will thrive in the oil industry of the future.

Further Reading on Nodal Technology

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Ocean-Bottom Nodal Seismic
Rick Dunlop and Brian Taylor; Axxis Geo Solutions
Ocean-bottom seismic acquisition is encroaching on the traditional marine streamer market by offering unique, scalable and efficient solutions for exploration and development of oil and gas.
This article appeared in Vol. 15, No. 5 - 2018

The Future is at the Bottom of the Ocean
Petter Steen-Hansen, Magseis
Ocean bottom seismic has been gaining market share over high-end streamer acquisition. One of the ground-breaking technologies within acquisition is Magseis’ Marine Autonomous Seismic System.
This article appeared in Vol. 14, No. 4 - 2017

Taking the Plunge: How Nodes Can Navigate OceanBottom Seismic into the Mainstream
Vidar Hovland and John Thompson
Norwegian start-up company inApril explain why they took the plunge into the ocean bottom seismic market.
This article appeared in Vol. 13, No. 5 - 2016


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