The focus of this September issue of the RECORDER magazine is VIG, the Value of the Integration of Geophysics. It is very exciting for the VIG Committee, as part of the CSEG, to host this issue, and we would like to thank the RECORDER Committee for offering us this opportunity.
This compliation of papers illustrates the value of geophysics from the results of reprocessing 2D data, to the use of applied geophysics in the construction of a ring road (not the one in Calgary… the other one in South Africa). Geophysics is also integrated with engineering to improve fracking, followed by a paper that describes how statistical methods are applied to economic data and related to the geosciesces. I trust that the concept of value will be at the forefront of your mind as you plan your next geophysics project!
Our lead-off article by Fernando Alvarado Blohm, “Geoscientific Data Adds Value in Unconventional Reservoirs: Statistically Quantified”, tackles the challenge of measuring the financial benefit of seismic, well logs and microseismic, to name a few, and relating it to reserves. Using a tight oil example of 9 operators in the Bakken Formation, according to Fernando’s results, each operator benefited from investing in the geosciences. His results show that for each million dollars invested upfront in the geosciences, P90 reserves increased by 90 +/- 22 mboe. Assuming a profit margin of $15/bbl, a return on investment can be as high as 10%. That kind of return on my investments would make me happy.
Fernando recognizes how our current supply and demand is cutting oil prices, resulting in sharp reductions in exploration budget, workforce “optimizations” and reduced R&D. The question remains: Can the financial return of investing in the geosciences be quantified? Read ahead to find out!
Following Fernando’s article is Kathleen Dorey’s from Petrel Robertson, “Creating Economic Independence in SE Asia”. Kathleen illustrates the value of seismic data in a project aimed to improve the economic conditions of Laos, an impoverished country in SE Asia. The article clearly shows the fundamental value of seismic in the preservation, subsequent reprocessing and vastly improved imaging and mapping of 2D data. Seismic re-acquisition would have been costly and complicated.
Next up sits Jean Legault’s “Assessing Risk to the Ermelo Ring Road from Historical Coal Undermining Using Helicopter TDEM and Ground Geophysics”. Geophysics consistently adds value in engineering and hazard management related to resource extraction activities. Legault and his colleagues share a case study with us from South Africa where airborne and ground methods were used to find old mining tunnels and cavities that may be at risk of collapsing. This is a problem in many historic mining districts including Canmore, Alberta and Timmins, Ontario. Their article demonstrates how combining multiple, non-seismic methods is ideal for mapping and mitigating these dangers at low cost, which contributed to the success of the project.
Rounding out our collection of VIG themed articles is Dr. Jennifer Miskimins’ article, “Hydraulic Fracturing Data Integration – What Should I Be Asking My Engineer and What Are They Trying to Tell Me?” Dr. Miskimins deftly combines her academic work at the Colorado School of Mines with her years of industry experience in hydraulic fracturing to identify how geophysicists and engineers can integrate their data, work together and communicate effectively. A close look at how engineers see fracking on unconventional reservoirs with horizontal wells is provided, followed by potential opportunities for integration with geophysicists. At the end of the article are a few questions meant to initiate conversations between the two groups… ideally over coffee, or a cold beer.
In today’s business environment many companies have greatly reduced their use of all geophysical data (seismic, microseismic, magnetics, etc.) in their operations. I hope that Fernando’s article will inspire your own statistical evaluation of geophysical data and that it would see some corporate light of day. As members of the CSEG we must continue to demonstrate and communicate the value of the geophysical method, and I trust that Kathleen’s paper will remind you to promote how geophysics is paramount at the exploration stage of a resource. As geophysicists, we have access to many different types of data and, as Jean and his colleagues can attest, each piece can improve mapping, mitigate risk, all at low cost. Finally, geophysics must be shared, communicated and integrated with engineering and I’m thankful for the steps taken by Dr. Miskimins.
The VIG Committee welcomes articles or papers demonstrating how our members have been able to demonstrate and communicate the value of geophysics. If you, our reader, have something you wish to contribute or a comment that you would like to make about our VIG themed RECORDER, please email email@example.com.
About the Author(s)
Paul Hausmanis is a Senior Geophysicist at Cenovus Energy. He has also held positions at Komex, Geo-X, Divestco, GEDCO, and CNRL since graduating from the University of British Columbia in 2001. An active CSEG volunteer, Paul is the Chair of the Value of Integrated Geophysics Committee and Past Chair of the CSEG-F Mentorship Program.
After graduating with a MSc. (thesis) in Geophysics from the University of Calgary, Louis Chabot joined the industry in a data processing role with the Multicomponent Group at Veritas Geoservices. Since then, he has worked as an interpreter, in gradually more senior roles, at PennWest Petroleum, Talisman Energy, and Chevron Canada where Louis has now moved into the role of Technology Coordinator/Advisor.