Under the sea

Sponsored by major players in the oil and gas field, Qinetiq and Input/Output are to develop and deploy the world’s first fibre optic seabed seismic acquisition system.

Qinetiq and Input/Output are to develop and deploy the world’s first fibre optic seabed seismic acquisition system in an effort that’s being sponsored by BP, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.

The fibre optic seabed system will be fully optical and designed to operate with no electronic components in an effort to increase system reliability and reduce life-cycle ownership costs compared to conventional, cable-based reservoir monitoring systems deployed on the sea floor.

“The systems for time-lapse, seismic permanent monitoring are still relatively immature by oil industry standards. Most, however, share a similar design based on ocean-bottom cables and geophone sensors which can be costly both to deploy and to maintain,” said Tim Jackson, Multicomponent Seismic Technology Program Manager at BP.

“We think full-wave (multicomponent), fibre optic systems could provide the cost breakthrough required to accelerate the adoption of permanent reservoir monitoring systems in the marine environment,” he added.

The new fibre-optic system will feature a new generation of optical sensors that allow full-wave seismic data to be acquired from the seabed.

By acquiring and processing full-wave data, oil and gas companies will be able to develop better subsurface images that are generally higher resolution, more repeatable, and more suited to delineating subtle structural and stratigraphic features along with fluid type and movement.

A prototype system should be deployed by the end of this year.

On the web