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Seismic Data in Oil & Gas Exploration

In oil and gas exploration, seismic surveys are used to map geological structures beneath the earth’s surface or beneath the seabed.

Reflection seismology is commonly used during onshore exploration, and involves sending seismic waves underground. When these bounce back, they’re picked up by surface sensors, providing crucial information on the geophysical properties of a potential oil reserve.

In offshore exploration, seismic airguns are used to release a chamber of compressed air into the water, creating a pressure wave that penetrates the seabed, illuminates geological structures, and reflects this information back through the water, where it’s detected by hydrophone cables.

Key fact: Hydrophone cables can be as long as 15 kilometres

Determining the geological structure of a potential oil reserve is important because it allows operators to locate promising oil deposits and plan drilling operations more effectively.

Seismic data holds a lot of information. Not only does it identify reserves, it also provides critical information on fracture density and orientation, which is crucial to accurate drilling and well placement. Seismic surveys also limit the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration by determining the need for further drilling.


  • Locates oil reserves

  • Minimises environmental impact

  • Improves accuracy of well placement

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