New software enables communication,
collaboration during simultaneous operations
System combines spatial and temporal information
Production optimization is a hot topic in the E&P industry. 4D seismic pro- grams are increasingly employed to improve oil recovery, but are challeng- ing to execute safely and efficiently.
Also known as time-lapse surveys, the goal
is to mimic the prior survey as closely as
possible to detect subtle changes in reser voir
fluid movement over time, with time as the
only variable. However, precisely matching
source and receiver positions to prior surveys
is challenging due to variability introduced by
ocean currents and in-field obstacles.
To effectively manage operations, especially
in busy producing fields where 4D surveys typi-
cally take place, an operator requires situational
awareness of what is going on around them.
Today, offshore operations are often managed
manually via spreadsheets with information
pieced together from emails, phone calls, and
radio discussions with nearby operators. In ac-
tive fields, operations are increasingly complex
and may require a full-time representative to
coordinate activities among multiple parties
by emailing plans that are quickly out of date
in a static format that cannot comprehend or
keep up with all the moving parts.
Maersk Oil’s 2015 and 2016 4D monitor
surveys each had at least 14 surface obstruc-
tions the seismic vessel had to avoid in its
operating area. In addition, the busy producing
fields had formidable SIMOPS (simultaneous
operations) challenges from a host of maritime
traffic including platform supply vessels, tanker
loading and anchorages, pipelaying, diving,
ROV inspections, and fishing activity. There
was the potential for unnecessary and costly
downtime (multi-vessel seismic crew day rates
can reach $200,000) or to even be “locked out”
of areas later in the survey due to scheduling
conflicts, creating holes in the data coverage.
Typical project planning software could not
efficiently cope with the operational complexity
or communication volume pertaining to these
offshore environments. Marlin was developed
to address these challenges to make these proj-
ects safer and cheaper (due to a reduced turnaround), while also optimizing the overall quality due to improved 4D seismic repeatability.
A new approach to SIMOPS
SIMOPS inherently require a centralized
management and coordination system to integrate and visualize distributed data points and
to enable communication and collaboration be-
tween disparate teams, departments, and even
companies to optimize multiple operations.
A new offshore operations management
system, Marlin, was created for this exact
4D survey preplot integrated with vessel AIS (automated information system) positions and headings, seismic vessel and streamers (yellow), seismic
polygons (bold red), the vessel line plan (green) and surface obstructions (gray dots). Ongoing diving activity is marked with blue exclusion and notification zones. (All images courtesy ION Geophysical)