8th Annual 3-D Seismic Symposium in February (2002)

Title: 8th Annual 3-D Seismic Symposium in February
Author: Ron W. Pritchett, RMAG/DGS 3-D Seismic Symposium Planning Committee
Publication: The Outcrop, February 2002, p. 1, 8-9

A great way to keep up with advances in technology is to attend the 8th Annual 3-D seismic symposium on Friday, February 22, at the Denver Hyatt Regency Hotel. The one-day symposium is co-sponsored by RMAG and the Denver Geophysical Society. Cost is $125 for RMAG/DGS members through Feb. 8 (see the registration page in this issue and on the RMAG website: http://www.rmag.org).

Hear 13 geoprofessionals talk about case histories and cutting-edge technical applications for oil and gas production. Obtain an abstract booklet containing valuable expanded abstract information. See what products and services are offered by Rockies vendors. Discuss and share your ideas with speakers, friends, and people doing the work in seismic exploration in 2002.

Why should engineers, landmen, investment bankers, geologists, and geophysicists attend the 8th Annual 3-D Seismic Symposium? Consider: eight giant-class oil and gas accumulations were developed in the last 10 years in the Rockies, due largely to improvements in technical applications including 3-D seismic, according to M. Ray Thomasson (Thomasson Partner Associates, Inc.) and Fred F. Meissner (Colorado School of Mines)1.

Giant oil and gas field developments (with recoverable reserves of 100 million BO or 1 TCF gas) noted include: Cedar Hills-E. Lookout Butte Field, SW Williston Basin-Montana/North Dakota; Jonah Gas Field, northern Green River Basin, Wyoming; Cave Gulch Field, Wind River Basin, Wyoming; Greater Drunkards Wash Field, northern Utah; Powder River Basin Coalbed Methane Province, Wyoming; Pinedale Anticline, northern Green River Basin, Wyoming; Raton Basin Coalbed Methane, Colorado; and the southern Piceance Basin, Colorado.

Has 3-D seismic expanded commercial opportunities for oil and gas? You bet!

Will 3-D seismic be important in developing the next 8 giant-class fields in the Rockies? No doubt. Our program includes talks on the Pinedale Anticline and coalbed methane plays in Utah and New Mexico.

Meanwhile, the importance of applied technologies was recently noted by Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, speaking at the James A. Baker II Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, Houston, Texas (11/13/2001). Greenspan said, “What has changed dramatically in recent years is the production side of the oil and gas markets, where technological changes are taking place that are likely to make existing energy reserves stretch further while keeping long-term energy costs lower than they otherwise would have been. The development of seismic techniques and satellite surveillance…have roughly doubled drilling success rates for new-field wildcat wells in the United States during the past decade.”

Where are new large gas and oil fields in the Rockies? The 8th Annual RMAG/DGS 3-D Seismic Symposium will move toward answers to where and how new large oil and gas can be found and produced at a profit. For example, Keynote Speaker Bill Keach (Product Manager for Landmark Graphics) will show 3-D seismic as integral to accurate reservoir and economic forecasting in oil and gas projects.

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Economic scenarios can be tested in combined, interactive 3D seismic, reservoir, and production data. Bill Keach, Keynote Speaker for the 8th Annual 3D Seismic Symposium, will describe workflows that incorporate seismic interpretation and reservoir simulations leading to market-value determinations in oil and gas fields.

One example of financial success using 3-D seismic will be shown by Denver’s Aspect Resources. Speaker Paul Favret will describe management strategy applied to onshore Gulf of Mexico projects that resulted in rapid company growth. Here is their approach, according to the 12/21/01 PI/Dwights report:

1) Select a 260-mile-long exploration zone along the Louisiana/Texas Gulf coast.

2) Commit to more than 105,000 acres of undeveloped leasehold.

3) Acquire and interpret a large (5,600 sq. miles) contiguous onshore 3-D seismic database.

4) Drill and develop daily net production of 57 million cubic feet of gas and 1,900 barrels of oil (plus 59 BCFE proved developed reserves).

5) Generate 350 new drilling opportunities.

6) Package the assets and negotiate a sale to Samedan Oil Corp. (subsidiary of Noble Affiliates, Inc.) for $125 million plus an additional $55 million commitment for drilling.

Mike Zeitlin (Magic Earth) and Geoffrey Dorn (Executive Director of the BP Center for Visualization, University of Colorado) will provide an update on imaging and computer graphics, showing new, imaginative ways to view and measure reservoir aspects. Tim Berge of Forest Oil will examine forward and reverse modeling and interactions between seismic data and reservoir conditions. Ed Jenner of Axis Geophysics will look at fracture detection and azimuthal data, and Dave Gray (Veritas) will show how fracture detection plays a role in development of the Jonah Field gas giant.

Three more of the giant gas fields noted by Thomasson and Meissner constitute coalbed methane projects. 3-D seismic is useful in coalbed methane development in a number of ways, such as mapping coal-bearing strata, optimizing a drilling program for gas and permeability, and defining reservoir compartments for water injection. Bill Lyons (Chevron/Texaco) and Ed Blott (ExploTech LLC) will touch on these concepts in describing Drunkards Wash Field, Utah, and a coal-mining project in the San Juan Basin.

Companies developing oil and gas fields will be interested in an example of 4-D seismic (time plus 3-D) and tracking a carbon dioxide flood in carbonates of the Weyburn Field, northeast Williston Basin (Tom Davis of Colorado School of Mines). Using multicomponent instruments, the vertical and lateral sweep efficiency in the reservoir can be monitored, leading to the ultimate recovery of more oil. Nancy House (Mobil New Exploration and Producing Ventures) will describe a limited (low fold) three-dimensional (LTD) survey in a structurally complex area of the western Amazon rain forest. Marc Countiss will describe how Pogo Producing extended the economic life of an old field offshore Louisiana using 3-D seismic and new processing techniques. In addition, Stuart Wright of Western Geco will bring us up to speed on increasingly complicated permitting issues in the Rockies.

Your RMAG/DGS planning committee believes in adding value for customers in the 3-D seismic symposia. Sign up now to get abundant, useful information about modern geophysics applied to oil and gas exploration, production, and development.


1Thomasson, M. Ray and Fred F. Meissner, 2001, “Rocky Mountain Giants 2: U.S. Rockies ‘discoveries’: Analogs for the future” Oil and Gas Journal Vol. 99. No. 50, 12/10/01 pp.44-50.

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