- Copyright © 2003 Society of Exploration Geophysicists
We are an industry which makes much use of technology. Indeed, the application and development of new technologies has made a radical difference by greatly improving the success rate of drilling (Figure 1).
To what can we attribute these improvements? As Figure 2 shows very clearly, most oil and gas companies acknowledge that the technology that has made the most significant impact has been the application of (3D) seismic data for improved subsurface targeting.
So, we can agree that our industry has benefited greatly from the introduction of new technology, especially in the area of geophysics. In fact our industry will need to continue to embrace new technology if we wish to maintain profitable and efficient development of hydrocarbon resources.
As an example of such new technology, we stand on the threshold of a revolution in the use of 3D seismic data; specifically, the use of rock-physics driven seismic inversion methods to allow us to use surface seismic data not just to gain information on structure and stratigraphy, but also for providing reliable property information between wells for such attributes as porosity, lithology, saturation, and pressure.
That's the good news. However, we have been standing at this threshold for several years, if not a decade or two. Why does it take so long for the door to open?
One way to try to answer this question is to attempt an analysis as to the source of geophysical technology within our industry. One factor that becomes very clear very quickly is that companies that undertake the initial development are rarely the ones to commercialize it. Let's see how this appears to work.
First, let's consider who the technology “investors” are. If we look at the major oil and …