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3D seismic program location BP exploration licences


Sachs Harbour Tuktoyaktuk Inuvik Ulukhaktok Paulatuk

Northwest Territories

About Offshore Seismic

Seismic technology
Seismic surveys gather information on the subsurface by producing sound waves near the surface that travel downward and are reected off the different layers of rock. The reected sound waves travel back to the surface where the information is recorded by sensitive instruments. The information is then processed into an image of the subsurface, which geoscientists use to determine if conditions are favourable for deposits of oil and natural gas. In offshore seismic surveys, airguns generate the sound waves by releasing compressed air into the water. The Pokak 3D Seismic Program plans to use two groups of airguns, each with 24 individual airguns. During seismic operations, the alternate groups will generate sound waves every 12 to 15 seconds. These waves will travel through the water into the layers of rock below. Differences in the velocity and density of the rocks cause the sound waves to be reected back towards the surface where the information is recorded by sensitive instruments known as hydrophones. The hydrophones are housed in a watertight casing that is towed behind the seismic vessel. For the Pokak program survey, eight to ten casings or streamers will be deployed, each approximately seven kilometers in length. In order to mark the position of each streamer a tail buoy that houses a GPS beacon, radar reector and strobe light is attached to the end of each streamer. When not in the water, the streamers are kept aboard the vessel on large reels in the much the same way that shing line is wound around the reel of a shing rod.

Marine seismic technology

Seismic surveys are the main technology used today to nd oil and natural gas deposits located beneath the surface of the earth.

tail buoy marine streamer (acoustic receivers)

acoustic source (airguns)

ocean oor sound reection surface geological formations

The Pokak 3D Seismic Program plans to use eight to ten streamers, each seven kilometres long and containing 4,500 hydrophones to collect the 3D seismic data. The streamers will each be separated by about 150 metres. In the unlikely event that a streamer breaks, instruments aboard the seismic vessel would alert the crew to the breakage. Once the broken streamer reaches a depth of 40metres, recovery devices built into the streamer will inate and the streamer will rise to the water surface. Using positioning equipment, the streamer would be located and retrieved.

Why use 3D seismic?

3D seismic provides us with a three dimensional view of the subsurface. The picture at left shows a cube of 3D seismic data there is data on all sides of the cube and also inside. Looking at a cube of data allows geoscientists to look at the subsurface in any direction to try to understand the geology of the subsurface. When we acquire 2D seismic data, it is equivalent to seeing only one side of the cube pictured at left. 2D data does not allow geoscientists to see a complete picture of the subsurface in all three dimensions. 2D seismic data can more efciently cover large areas, and is very useful for regional geologic evaluations. Once its time to take a more detailed look, 3D seismic is the best choice.

How will we work around ice?

We need to ensure that the area we choose to acquire 3D seismic is clear of ice because we cannot acquire 3D seismic through ice. The seismic vessel will have a number of long streamers trailing behind the vessel. We will use satellite images, weather forecasts, ice observers, and a picket vessel to tell us if ice is moving into the survey area. If ice moves in, the seismic vessel will have to move to an area clear of ice to keep all the equipment safe. We believe communication is key to building and maintaining relationships with Northern communities. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please contact us. Lynn Huntley Telephone: 1-403-233-1972 Fax: 1-403-233-1611

June 2009