New imaging technology drastically reduces the costs and risks of discovering new deposits of fossil fuels.
One of the world’s leading energy companies, Norway’s Statoil ASA, is going public this month with a scientific innovation that it says will drastically reduce the costs and risks of discovering new deposits of fossil fuels.
The innovation, a refined take on traditional sound-based seismic imaging, allows Statoil to detect — before drilling any wells — the presence of oil and gas sources in rocks miles underground. The technique, the company says, will work on deepwater oil or shale gas in unexplored regions and holdings once thought tapped out.
It is the first time, at least publicly, that an oil company has detailed a technique that provides reliable, direct acoustic evidence that these resources exist. In the past, these rocks would be deduced. Now, they can be seen.
Already employed by Statoil worldwide over the past few years, the technique especially improves the odds of finding oil and gas in unexplored regions that have never felt the bite of a drill’s bit, said Helge Løseth, one of the Statoil geologists behind the innovation, published in the December issue of the journal Geology…
And given that one deepwater well can cost up to $100 million, paying for fewer “dry holes” can bring, in little time, stark savings…
… there is a boundless optimism in the industry that it is in fact entering a new era of plenty, said Matt Hall, a consultant at Agile Geosciences in Canada, who previously worked for Statoil as an exploration geologist.
“The way people talk nowadays, you never hear people talk about ‘peak oil’ anymore,” he said. “Since 2005, you hear people say this is the beginning of the new petroleum age.”