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Oil Companies Back Fiber Optic Seabed System

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HOUSTON, Sept. 30 -- QinetiQ, a European science and technology company, and Input/Output Inc., a Houston provider of seismic technology and services to the oil and gas industry, announced today they have formed a joint industry project to develop the world's first fiber optic seabed seismic acquisition system. The project is co-sponsored and funded by four major oil and gas companies -- BP, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips and Shell.
The fiber optic system will feature a new generation of optical sensors that allow participants to acquire full-wave seismic data from the seabed. By acquiring and processing full-wave data, oil and gas companies can develop better subsurface images that are generally higher resolution, more repeatable and more suited to delineating subtle structural and stratigraphic features along with fluid type and movement.
The system will be fully optical and designed to operate with no electronic components in the water. This design is intended to increase system reliability and reduce life-cycle ownership costs compared to conventional, cable-based reservoir monitoring systems deployed on the sea floor.
QinetiQ, which has set up fiber optic-based acoustic sensor technologies for several industries, said discussions began a year ago to set up the optical seabed project. The company will oversee Phase 1 of the development program, with the goal of assembling and deploying a prototype of the system by the end of 2004.
Tim Jackson, a manager at BP, said, "Seismic imaging is becoming an increasingly important tool at all stages of the reservoir life cycle. The systems for time-lapse, seismic permanent monitoring are still relatively immature by oil industry standards. Most, however, share a similar design based on ocean-bottom cables and geophone sensors, which can be costly both to deploy and to maintain. We think full-wave (multicomponent) fiber optic systems could provide the cost breakthrough required to accelerate the adoption of permanent reservoir monitoring systems in the marine environment."

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Sep 2004
fiber optic seabed seismic acquisition systemInput/OutputNews & Featuresoil and gas industryQinetiQseismic technologySensors & Detectors

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