Life of Field Seismic (LoFS) is the most advanced data survey method for 4D reservoir management
LoFS provide seismic data allowing production of very high resolution imaging, and quality repeatability data, faster than any other seismic method in repeat surveys. It is different from most other seismic methods in a number of ways, and these are the most significant with regards to permanent seismic systems:
- The concept of LoFS means covering the reservoir, or parts of it, at seabed level with seismic sensors, connected with cables. The effort to install LoFS systems is different from say a telecom cable and most other subsea installation operations. The first installation efforts came with new sets of challenges. Significant learning from installation under very different environmental, seabed and installation technologies brings installation costs and risks down to predictable levels. Now, much of the risks have been eliminated or reduced.
- The initial LoFS systems have had development issues, adversely affecting the projects. Later generation equipment and technical readiness, also for greater water depths (at least 2000 m / 6000 ft), have so far proven to be virtually maintenance free.
- The capital expenditure part of the projects are planned and executed in accordance with typical oil and gas field equipment installations, often categorized as a minor or major project effort. This effort, perceived risks and financing are the biggest hurdles for establishment of LoFS. By including LoFS experience in the team, the preparatory processes (including project sanction), through execution and into the first survey operations, many of the risks and costs are monitored and kept under control.
- Operating expenditure is most significantly lower than other methods, and further developing new survey methods may reduce this significantly. In many cases the LoFS lifetime cost is already lower compared to other seismic methods, but there may be potentials for significant further reductions.
- A repeat survey can be organized within weeks if required, which of course is not feasible with alternative methods.
- Repeat survey processed data providing high resolution reservoir images can be made available within days as opposed to months for alternative methods.
Who would benefit from LoFS
Philosophically: The whole world, because the world reserves may last longer if the total extraction can be increased within commercially viable limits. While caring about the environment, oil and gas will be needed for generations to come.
Nationally: The owners of the oil in the ground, the various nations will maintain higher GDPs through higher and longer oil revenues.
License / Partners: This is trickier, because they have the burden of use or refuse new technology, while not reaping the main benefits. Still, if the here below is the case, LoFS will provide many benefits:
- Lifetime cost of seismic acquisition is important
- Field lifetime cost of operation is critical
- Maximizing hit rate of wells and decreasing cost
- Minimizing seismically obscured areas
- Extraction and WI precision is critical
- Reservoirs and overburden is dynamic – frequent monitoring required
- There are significant seismic blockers, such as salt domes, in the overburden
If the corporate strategy is mainly to satisfy short term financial goals, then LoFS is not likely the recommended solution.