December 27, 2022 | Oil and Gas
4D seismic technology or timelapse technology was introduced for oil exploration in the early 1980s and commercialized in the North Sea in the 1990s. The technology was initially used in a joint StatoilHydro-Schlumberger project in 1995 to identify the drained and undrained reservoir areas in the Gullfaks field.
The 4D seismic technology is now a dominant geophysical reservoir monitoring method and is employed for optimizing reservoir drainage, oil well placement, reducing reservoir development uncertainty and production decisions. Additionally, it monitors reservoir pressure changes over time and provides a better interpretation of the spatial movement and distribution of fluids.
The timelapse technology is commonly employed over several Norwegian and the U.K. North Sea fields, including Schiehallion, Foinaven, Draugen, Troll, Oseberg, Norne, Statfjord, Forties, Heidrun and Gannet for reservoir management application.
4D seismic technology is seen as a way to lower the cost of deep-sea exploration activities. It also provides the ability to easily analyze static and dynamic behavior of an oil & gas field to improve the production strategy and optimize the reservoir management decision process.
It is also extensively used to monitor the fluid movement and distinguishing between the drained and undrained sections of a reservoir, usually within clastic rocks.
The advanced seismic technology has been used to examine the changes in the reservoir caused by pressure change from the surface and fluid or gas injection to improve the oil recovery.
In addition, the 4D seismic data provides the information regarding the un-swept reservoir compartments which enables reservoir engineers and geophysicists to estimate the remaining reserves of crude oil and associated drilling challenges.
The market has limited market players such as CGG Group, Baker Hughes, Fugro N.V., Polarcus Limited, Schlumberger, PGS Group and SeaBird Exploration Group. Moreover, oil & gas companies such as Petrobras, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Total, StatoilHydro, Shell and British Petroleum (BP) are the prominent end users of timelapse technology.
In addition to this, StatoilHydro is the prominent end user in the global market. Nearly 75% of the fields operated by StatoilHydro utilize timelapse seismic technology.
In some cases, national oil & gas companies also hire the service providers to use 4D technologies.
With the growing exploration activities in unconventional reservoirs, the utilization of 4D seismic technology is projected to go up.
Moreover, with its ability for dynamic reservoir monitoring in the unconventional reservoir, abundant opportunities for production are likely to be created.
Moreover, the adoption of timelapse technology not only allows geophysicists and reservoir engineers to analyze changes in the reservoir over time but also enables the estimation of sweep efficiency in the reservoir compartments.
The 4D seismic technology offers multiple avenues for the development of an oil & gas field from exploration to production.
For instance, it helps engineers in accurate asset planning which includes optimizing the infill drilling activities.
Additionally, the timelapse technology plays a vital role in managing injection/production strategies along with calculating remaining reserves in the oil & gas reservoirs.
In past, the 4D seismic technology was utilized for history matching process whereas the advancement in 4D seismic technology for reservoir management has created a multi-disciplinary methodology which includes the integration of 4D seismic technology, geomechanics and fluid flow.
The exploration activities in unconventional reservoirs are poised to create plethora of opportunities for the utilization of 4D seismic technologies in next couple of years since this technology enables easy reservoir modelling and development in gas hydrate, coal bed methane and tight and ultra-tight reservoirs.
Author: Gaurav Joshi