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Mapping below ground
Advanced technology is helping us to see below the surface and locate oil and gas trapped in porous rock.
Creating a three-dimensional image of underground geology.
To help us see underground we use small explosions or vibrations at the surface to generate sound waves that reflect off underground rock layers – known as seismic testing. Computers then transform the data into high-resolution three-dimensional images of reservoirs.
We have developed advanced software to process huge quantities of seismic data. The programmes filter out distortions caused by, for example, layers of salt and volcanic rock.
Geologists and engineers in different locations can view the images simultaneously via our 12 virtual reality centres linked up around the world and make quicker, more accurate decisions on where to drill wells and how to best develop a reservoir.
Seeing below salt
A single boat usually gathers and receives seismic data at sea. But when volcanic rock or salt is under the seabed the signals become distorted and it is hard to interpret what is below.
By splitting the process and separating the signal sender and the signal receiver between two boats we can shoot seismic at an angle and below salt layers.
Oil and gas move in a reservoir over its producing life and water displaces them. Our engineers compare surveys taken at time intervals to track their movements and identify oil left behind. This helps us to choose the best sites for drilling new wells and the best techniques to increase recovery.
In deep-water exploration we send out very low-frequency electromagnetic waves. Receivers on the seabed record how the waves move through the rocks beneath the seabed. Oil and gas resist the waves so we can locate the reservoirs.