NEOS’ SIG Launches Frequency Enhancement Offering

Time slice of Mid-Continent USA data near the reservoir interval. Yellow highlights an interpreted graben feature. Data courtesy of ION GeoVentures.
Time slice of Mid-Continent USA data near the reservoir interval. Yellow highlights an interpreted graben feature. Data courtesy of ION GeoVentures.

The Seismic Imaging Group (SIG) at NEOS has launched a new seismic data processing offering.  This technique for structurally oriented frequency enhancement (SOFE) significantly improves the recovery of high and low frequency acoustic signal. The result is an improvement in the vertical resolution of seismic images and an increase in the quality and utility of the seismic data that geoscientists use for attribute extraction, inversions, and rock and fluid property determination.

According to Dr. Edward Jenner, Research Director at SIG,

SOFE works by applying a frequency-dependent filtering technique that uses the mid-range spectrum, in which we have the highest signal-to-noise, to guide the filtering and attenuation of noise in the low- and high-range frequency spectra, in which we have the lowest signal-to-noise.  The technique typically results in a significant increase in useable bandwidth of 30-50 Hz at the high-end of the spectrum, thus significantly increasing the resolution of the resulting seismic images.”

While SOFE will be of great value in almost every geologic setting, the greatest uplift will likely be realized by interpreters working in thin, stacked-pay reservoirs (such as those found in the Permian Basin) or those trying to image and determine rock properties in stratigraphic plays.

For those who will be at SEG in New Orleans next week, Dr. Jenner will be hosting an invitation-only Lunch & Learn on Tuesday October 20th.

Data before and after SOFE. a) input seismic section; b) seismic section after SOFE; c) input seismic section after spectral balance - note significant high-frequency artifacts; d) SOFE section after the same spectral balance as in (c) – note high-frequency artifacts are eliminated and the result is a broad-band, high-resolution, interpretable section that ties the well data. Data courtesy of ION GeoVentures.
Data before and after SOFE. a) input seismic section; b) seismic section after SOFE; c) input seismic section after spectral balance – note significant high-frequency artifacts; d) SOFE section after the same spectral balance as in (c) – note high-frequency artifacts are eliminated and the result is a broad-band, high-resolution, interpretable section that ties the well data.
Data courtesy of ION GeoVentures.

To learn more about NEOS, click here.

NEOS Buys Onshore Seismic Data Processing Business

NEOS teaser homepage_FINAL
I’m not sure if you’ve seen it yet, but NEOS just announced our acquisition of the onshore seismic data processing business of ION Geophysical’s GX Technology group.

Click here to read the press release.

This transaction involves a group of about 25 Denver-based folks who originally started as AXIS Geophysics and which ION acquired back in 2002.  This team commercialized the technologies and workflows for anisotropic and azimuthal processing, which ultimately found great utility in fracture detection and sweet spot imaging for hard-rock and unconventional source-rock reservoirs.

More recently, the Denver office has incorporated many of GXT’s depth migration and tomographic imaging techniques into its workflows, positioning the entity as an industry leader in onshore depth imaging for complex fold- and thrust-belt geologic regimes, as well as pre-salt plays like those found in Kazakhstan and in the onshore basins along the South Atlantic Margin, including those in Angola, Brazil and Gabon.

As our loyal Sweet Spot readers know, NEOS has focused on non-seismic imaging methods since our launch in 2011. What you may not know is that we have long coveted having an in-house seismic capability, and this acquisition now provides us with the ability to offer a true multi-physics imaging solution to our customers.

DR_eye_candy_IL130Though this group – which will be known moving forward as the NEOS Seismic Imaging Group (SIG) – will continue to offer stand-alone data processing and imaging services, we are also excited about how we can extract maximum value for our customers by combining seismic and non-seismic measurements, attributes and methodologies.

One of the first obvious areas we’ll be working on is the incorporation of seismic attributes at the reservoir interval (e.g., rock brittleness, fracture density, fracture orientation) into our Predictive Analytics methods.  But of course there are many others, including the ability to undertake true multi-physics inversions.

Check back over the months ahead to learn more about this addition to the NEOS family.

NEOS Welcomes ION-GXT

An Emerging Hydrocarbon Province – Lebanon (Part 4 of 6)

Significant increase (log-scale) in intra-horizon resistivity as one moves up-section in the Cretaceous
Significant increase (log-scale) in intra-horizon resistivity as one moves up-section in the Cretaceous

On the Lebanon neoBASIN regional reconnaissance project, we acquired EM resistivity data from roughly 45 ground-based magnetotelluric (MT) stations that were deployed throughout the survey area.  Challenging topography and dynamic geo-political conditions on the ground didn’t always let us deploy the stations where we wanted to, but we did get some interesting results nonetheless.

The MT method relies on three primary sources of electromagnetic (EM) energy, all with different frequency ranges and, therefore, depths of penetration. High-frequency signals originate from lightning, in particular ongoing equatorial lightning strikes; intermediate frequency signals come from ionospheric resonances; and low frequency signals are generated by variations in the solar wind.

Driven by advances in sensors, DP and modeling methods, can computing power, MT has become one of the most important tools in deep Earth imaging with a capability to image to subsurface depths of 10,000 meters or more.

For hydrocarbon exploration, MT is mainly used as a complement to seismic imaging. This is especially true for scenarios that can be problematic for seismic, such as sub-basalt and sub-salt plays. In addition, while seismic is able to image subsurface structure, it cannot detect changes in resistivity associated with hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon-bearing formations.

By measuring both electric and magnetic responses simultaneously and processing the data using statistically rigorous mathematics, MT allows resistivity variations to be mapped with depth in the subsurface. Under the right geologic conditions, MT can differentiate between structures bearing hydrocarbons and those that do not.

In the image above, we analyzed the MT data in several different ways, initially in an unconstrained fashion and then in a constrained inversion where we also considered the measurements from, and structrual models being generated using, airborne-acquired gravity and magnetic data.

The multi-measurement integration and interpretation yielded very good results.  In the 2-D constrained EM resistivity section shown, you’ll note several interesting features:

  • First, the fairly clean resistivity delineations among the key stratigraphic horizons;
  • Second, the insight EM resistivity information can bring to fault mapping, including the displacement along faults;
  • Lastly, the interesting intra-horizon resistivity increase as one moves up-section within the Cretaceous.

The scale here is logarithmic, so this is roughly a 10x increase in resistivity taking place within a 500-800 meter thick interval.  Equally curious is that it’s taking place along and adjacent to a deeply penetrating fault.  Simply an aberration? Noise in the data? A change in lithology? Or a change in fluid type at the highs abutting the fault?

Interesting to contemplate, isn’t it???

An Emerging Hydrocarbon Province – Lebanon (Part 1 of 6)

Oil & Gas Fields of the Levant and Eastern Med.  6,000 sqkm Lebanon neoBASIN project area highlighted in black.
Oil & Gas Fields of the Levant and Eastern Med. 6,000 sqkm Lebanon neoBASIN project area outlined in black.

Greetings followers of NEOS.  There’s a really interesting oil & gas exploration story developing in a new frontier hydrocarbon province – of all places, in Lebanon!  I know, you probably are as skeptical reading this today as I was when our project started about a year ago.  But there is cause for hope in the Levant!

Our story will unfold over six chapters in six weeks – think of it as an addition to your summer reading list, with a nice nod to exploration geoscience.  Check back every Monday for the latest installment – our current publication schedule is as follows:

  • 20 July – Pervasive evidence of hydrocarbons on the surface
  • 27 July – Large anticlinal structures in the Triassic
  • 3 August – Read our feature article in OilVoice
  • 10 August – Resistivity anomalies in Cretaceous structural closures
  • 17 August – Onshore exploration opportunity – stacked plays
  • 24 August – Watch our finale narrated slideshow

When this project started, I was a big skeptic about Lebanon’s hydrocarbon potential.  After all, not a single well is currently in production in Lebanon; and only seven – all onshore – have ever been drilled in the country’s history.

Yes, Lebanon is surrounded by oil & gas fields – most notably, the huge discoveries that have been made in recent years in the Eastern Mediterranean.  But that is a totally different hydrocarbon system and most explorationists didn’t believe it extended into onshore Lebanon.  Were they right…or do they need to reconsider?  Or do the onshore oil & gas fields in Syria and to Lebanon’s south serve as better analogs?

Answers to these questions – and others – will hopefully be unlocked as our story unfolds.

Let’s start with one of the most compelling chapters in the story – the evidence of pervasive indirect and direct hydrocarbon indicators on the surface.  These were mapped over the survey area (noted in the black polygon in the figure above) using hyperspectral imaging technology.

The image below shows where our analysis of the hyperspectral data revealed either mineral alteration zones (which we classify as indirect hydrocarbon indicators, as the alteration of minerals on the surface may be caused by the micro-seepage of hydrocarbons throughout the course of geologic time) or oil seeps and trace oil mixed into the soil (which we classify as direct hydrocarbon indicators).

Direct and indirect hydrocarbon indicators are pervasive in the study area.  Certain areas (empty white boxes) omitted at the request of the project underwriters.
Direct and indirect hydrocarbon indicators are pervasive in the onshore Lebanon neoBASIN project area. Certain areas (empty white boxes) omitted at the request of the project underwriters.

You can’t have a frontier exploration play unless one has a source rock  that at some point found itself in the hydrocarbon generation window.

The fact that we have these IHIs and DHIs in large quantities throughout the survey area – and, to foreshadow a future chapter in this story, over fault-bounded anticlinal structures in the subsurface – is very encouraging indeed!

This first bit of evidence grabbed my attention and got me wondering if I might need to reconsider my first impression – I hope it’s grabbed yours as well.

If you’d like to learn more about our Lebanon project, you can (click here) to access posts on this blog or (click here) to view the Lebanon neoBASIN program page on our web site.

A View from Space: Remote Sensing

In this blog series on publicly available data we have thus far looked closely at the value (and limitation) of satellite data. There currently exists more than 2,200 satellites orbiting the earth, many providing a steady stream of scientific data.

One might argue that the primary benefit of satellite data, at least in the case of oil and gas exploration, is its ability to reach parts of the Earth, cost-effectively, that are otherwise too difficult to access or photograph, providing datasets of value to industry geoscientists.

High value can also come from remote sensing, which is the use of aerial photography [often satellites], combined with other methods to view that which cannot be seen by the unaided eye.

In this post we look more closely at airborne LiDAR remote sensing data available in the public domain. Just like satellite data, there are limitations to this data as well as great value.  In any case, our geoscientists are nonetheless able to generate many of the same interpretive products you need to explore using this, and other publicly available data, including:

  • Assessments of basin-scale geologic trends
  • Maps of basin architecture and regional structure
  • Maps of key lineaments, regional fault systems, and intrusions
  • 2-D and 3-D structural and stratigraphic models
  • Maps of basement topography, faulting and composition
  • Assessments of relative acreage prospectivity derived using predictive analytics.

Read on to understand how remote sensing data plays a roll in multi-measurement interpretation.

LiDAR_PA
LiDAR DSM (Digital Surface Model) taken over Pennsylvania

Remote Sensing

What is it/How is it used: LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a publicly available airborne remote sensing technology that collects 3-D point clouds of the Earth’s surface and is used for high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs). The system works by illuminating a target with a laser scanner, the reflected light produces values that are then integrated with other on-board systems and recorded.

Value: The airborne data from LiDAR is at a high resolution and can detect subtle topographic features such as fault interpretations, lineament interpretations, or surface changes over time.

Limitations: LiDAR data availability and cost vary from state to state in the USA.  Some states offer LiDAR data free.  Therefore, despite a high resolution product, availability is extremely limited.

It Just Keeps Getting Better…

blog satellite pic

At NEOS, we were excited to hear the news last week that there is a new way being developed to launch satellites into space.  Using airplanes to launch the satellites into space will save money and time (though happy I won’t be asked to fly that mission).  The report speaks about advantages to internet access and real-time tracking of airlines.  Of course, we immediately think about the benefits this could have on G&G satellite data.  Better quality and more data.  We like the sound of that.

Click on the photo above for the entire report.