Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) (NYSE: RDS.B) and HP (NYSE:HPQ) announced a breakthrough in the capability of their jointly developed inertial sensing technology to shoot and record seismic data at much higher sensitivity and at ultra-low frequencies.
The new onshore wireless seismic acquisition system is designed to provide a clearer understanding of the earth's subsurface, thus increasing prospects for discovering greater quantities of oil and gas to meet the world's increasing energy needs.
The sensing technology has now been demonstrated to have a noise floor – a measure of the smallest detectable acceleration over a range of frequencies – of 10 nano-g per square root Hertz (ng/rtHz), which is equal to the noise created by the earth's ocean waves at the quietest locations on earth as defined by the Peterson Low Noise Model. The tests were conducted in the seismic testing vault at the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory facility in New Mexico.
"Responding to the energy challenge, the oil and gas industry is tackling ever deeper and more complex reservoirs, as well as reservoirs in very tight rock systems," said Dirk Smit, chief scientist for Geophysics and vice president of Exploration Technology, Shell. "In particular, for onshore settings, this requires enhanced quality seismic data as well as the cost-efficient, flexible deployment of seismic sensor networks. The collaboration with HP demonstrates Shell's strategic approach to driving innovative technology solutions through active partnering."
"This new sensing milestone is the latest step in the collaboration between HP and Shell, which is on track to produce a leap forward in onshore seismic data quality to improve the exploration risk evaluation and decisions, illustrating the industry-wide benefits that can be achieved through cross-company innovation," said Rich Duncombe, senior strategist, Technology Development Organization, Imaging and Printing Group, HP.
At the test facility, HP was able to compare the seismic response of the new sensor side by side with a USGS reference sensor when an earthquake occurred in the Gulf of California during the testing period. The signal from the reference sensor was matched by the new sensor down to 25 mHz, verifying the sensor's response at low frequencies.
The seismic system uses the breadth of HP's technology development capabilities as well as Shell's advanced geophysical expertise in seismic data acquisition systems and operations. As such, this collaboration builds on the core strengths of each company to advance technology in this field.
The system will be delivered by HP Enterprise Services and the company's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG). It is based in part on the high-performance sensing technology originally co-developed by HP Labs – the company's central research arm – along with IPG and Shell research in seismic network design.
HP and Shell's collaboration is a cornerstone for an information ecosystem that empowers people to make better, faster decisions to improve safety, security and environmental sustainability while transforming business economics. Sensing solutions are positioned to provide a new level of awareness through a network of sensors, data storage and analysis tools that monitor the environment, assets, and health and safety.