Starting the seismic season

May 19, 2006, 16:30 CEST

Statoil is facing a very active season for seismic data acquisition, both on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) and internationally.

Seismic data acquisition on the NCS has almost doubled over the past two years. Seismic surveying on Statoil operated blocks has also increased internationally.

”The high activity reflects Statoil’s focus on reservoir management and improved oil recovery,” says Erik Håvarstein, head of geophysical operations and positioning in the Technology & Projects business area. The unit handles the seismic data acquisition for all relevant units in the group.

Whereas 4,500 square kilometres of seismic were acquired last year, the plan this year is to gather some 8,500 square kilometres.

This year’s acquisition of exploration seismic data on the NCS is about to start. In connection with the 2005 awards in pre-defined areas (APA) Statoil is due to acquire about 3,000 square kilometres of seismic data from the North Sea and the Halten/Nordland area of the Norwegian Sea. Start-up is expected at the end of June.

Statoil was awarded two exploration licences in the Barents Sea in the 19th offshore licensing round. The seismic data acquisition is scheduled to start in the late summer. The seismic data acquisition for feasibility studies and field development will take place on the Valemon prospect in the North Sea, the Tyrihans field and the Trestakk structure in the Norwegian Sea, and structures in the Snøhvit area in the Barents Sea.

About 1,800 square kilometres of 4D seismic data were shot last year, whereas the plan for 2006 is to acquire 1,900 square kilometres. Four-dimensional seismic data are used for identifying the depletion of the reservoir over time. The method has helped improve the oil and gas recovery from existing fields.

The 4D seismic data shooting will take place on the Troll, Sleipner West, Sleipner East, Snorre, Tordis and Vigdis fields in the North Sea, on the Norne, Heidrun, Kristin fields and the Midgard structure in the Norwegian Sea, and on structures around the Snøhvit field.

In the Camamu basin off the coast of Brazil, where Statoil is the operator of four blocks, the seismic surveying started in November. About 3,200 square kilometres of seismic data are expected to be acquired here during June.

Seismic shooting on land in the Hassi Mouina block operated by Statoil in Algeria is also well under way, with some 1,050 kilometres of two-dimensional seismic data gathered so far. The seismic programme in Algeria is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006.