Overcoming Challenges in Seismic Acquisition: Interview With Victor Villamizar

Published
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Welcome to an interview with Victor Villamizar, Stryde, who talks to us today about some of the reasons why new technology is making seismic acquisition easier and less environmentally damaging than in the past.

What’s the best way acquire seismic data in challenging (and delicate) rainforest terrain?

You want to minimize the amount of line cutting involved for environmental and cost reasons. Using a lightweight node system is the least invasive way for receiver deployment. Since the nodes are only 150 grams each, a 2-man line team can hand carry ~180 nodes including the deployment or retrieval system making it very efficient in the field. If the surveys use helicopters to move equipment then several thousand nodes can be carried per helicopter load.

What are two main ways in which a cordless, small footprint solution such as STRYDE saves money?

STRYDE Nodes are the most affordable receiver systems on the market today, meaning companies looking to purchase or lease seismic imaging technology can now do so at a significantly reduced price point. Due to the small and lightweight traits of the Nodes, further cost savings can be made in the following areas:

  • Fewer people are required to deploy and manage the Nodes – meaning reduced manpower costs and associated expenses on a seismic camp
  • Less logistical requirements to transport Nodes (vehicles, shipping, etc.)
  • Less space is required on a seismic camp to store and manage the receiver equipment
What are three non-petroleum exploration uses of cordless, “carrot-node” seismic acquisition systems?
  • Geothermal exploration
  • CCUS exploration and monitoring
  • Mining exploration
What are typical problems in seismic acquisition that STRYDE systems can overcome?

Our technology allows equipment and project costs to be reduced.

Project approval: Low-cost, low impact and low-risk equipment helps projects get sanctioned (where they were previously deemed as uneconomic, or non-compliant with environmental conditions)

Risk management: Due to the lightweight and small scale traits of the Nodes, we can reduce HSSE risk associated with seismic acquisition (ergonomic, fewer vehicles, less people, etc. = reduced exposure to HSE risk).

Accessing affordable high density to make more informed decisions with confidence: Using traditional cabled systems or competitor nodes, high density seismic is often not commercially viable due the number of receivers required. However, we have redefined the price of a seismic node which opens up endless possibilities, for companies seeking to explore the sub-surface in high-definition.

Affordability of seismic outside oil and gas: Our mission to make high density affordable in Oil and Gas also means that this unrivalled price point and further cost savings the STRYDE systems unlock during seismic operations, makes seismic affordable to all industries.

Low operational productivity and efficiency: Using the world’s smallest Node, and state of the art support systems (fast-track charge and data harvest system, precision deployment navigation devices, economic backpacks, etc.) we enable seismic crews to go faster, perform better and go further than ever before = resulting in quicker access to reliable, ultra-high-resolution seismic datasets. Due to the small-scale characteristics of STRYDE Nodes, seismic crews can now access environmentally challenging terrains and locations (such as urban locations) with limited to no line clearing required, to deploy and retrieve Nodes at pace, with minimal environmental footprint and disruption.

When was STRYDE launched? Where was it first deployed? What happened?

STRYDE the company was formed in August 2019. Prior to this, the technology had been in development since 2013 (originally by bp, who later partnered with Schlumberger and Rosneft). In the R&D phase, it was deployed four times (once in Norway, twice in UAE, and once in Russia), each time being compared alongside industry-leading seismic recording systems. In each case, a significant image uplift was observed, alongside significant operational efficiencies and risk reductions.

The first commercial deployments of STRYDE were in H2 2020:

  • Geothermal projects were acquired in Europe by GTG and Realtimeseismc.
  • The first Oil & Gas project was acquired in Yemen, by Terraseis.
  • The first mining project was acquired by Explor in Canada.

All of these companies have continued to use STRYDE based on the data quality and operational benefits.

Where is STRYDE now? Why were three separate systems developed? (COMPACT, NIMBLE, PRO)?

STRYDE has just delivered equipment to enable its 75th seismic project. To date, we have deployed +415,000 Nodes into 29 countries worldwide, enabling exploration and monitoring projects across oil and gas, geothermal, mining, civil engineering, CCUS, helium, hydrogen, and archeology.

Why 3 systems were developed:

The total cost per channel needs to include the node cost as well as the charging/harvesting system cost. The Stryde system has scalable charging/harvesting units (NEST’s), so to make the system cost-effective for all survey sizes, STRYDE developed Nimble, Compact, and Pro systems which have different numbers of NEST’s included.

The Nimble system (500-30,000 Nodes) A low-cost, agile and fully portable system (flight cases) so easy to install in a small truck or cabin and easy to move around in the field.

The Compact system (30,000-150,000 Nodes) An integrated container system allows for efficient charging and data harvesting of seismic receiver equipment, minimizes equipment storage footprint on-site and reduces manpower requirements on seismic crews, as clients' requirements grow for higher density surveys.

The Pro System (150,000+ Nodes) A multi-containerised system allows for one person on shift to charge and download up to 20,000 Nodes per day and reduces footprint and manpower requirements on large-scale seismic camps while increasing the efficiency of handling receiver equipment and data management.

What are the top three advantages of using a Stryde solution?
  • Reduce costs
  • Acquire high-density data more efficiently than ever before, without compromising on image quality
  • Minimize exposure to HSE risk and reduce the environmental footprint
How much money can be saved? Where? How?

No exact figure can be provided here as this really depends on a number of variables, however we are proud of the fact that through product design and streamlined manufacturing we have created a step-change in pricing of seismic nodal systems.

Due to the small and lightweight traits of the Nodes, further cost savings can be made in the following areas:

  • Fewer people are required to deploy and manage the Nodes – meaning reduced manpower costs and associated expenses on a seismic camp
  • Less logistical requirements to transport Nodes (vehicles, shipping, etc.)
  • Less space is required on a seismic camp to store and manage the receiver equipment
What happens to the nodes after the batteries die?

The battery in the STRYDE Node is a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. When the Node is fully charged it will record seismic data for up 28 days if utilized 24 hours and longer if using the calendar mode. The main restriction is actually the memory. When the Node is brought back to our Charging and Harvesting station, the Li-Ion battery will normally be partly or mostly depleted and the battery is recharged and data offloaded. Once done the Node can go back out for a new deployment recording seismic data. Sometimes it will not be possible to get the Node back to the Charging and Harvesting station before the battery has run out. This is fortunately nothing to worry much about. If the nodes stops recording, either because of empty battery or full memory, the recorded seismic data will be kept safely in the Node memory and will be downloaded when the node is brought back to the Charging and Harvesting station. The node can then be reused as normal.

Due to the low charge current and the controls in place while charging the battery, the degradation of the battery is minimal if handled according to the user manual and instructions. We have to date not seen any significant degradation of the battery in our Nodes, and the battery manufacturers data indicates minimal degradation after 500 charge cycles and even after 1000 full charge cycles the expected remaining capacity would not impact the duration of the autonomy of the Node. This is even if these tests have done at much higher charge currents which degrades the battery faster than what is the case of our use. Based on that, if the Nodes were cycled and fully charged every 15 days, after 1000 cycles they would have been continuously in use for 41 year and batteries would still be fine! Although our Nodes are sturdy, we do not expect the Nodes to last that long. So the lifetime of the Nodes are therefore unlikely to be limited by the battery life.  

How hard is it to dig up the nodes afterwards and to reuse them?

The nodes are reusable. We also support multi-deployment when nodes can be picked up at the back of spread and deployed straight away to a new line and point at the front of the spread. Since the power consumption is ultra low, then for 12 hour recording per day, the node will last for over 50 days in the field. The nodes are small and easy to extract. They can also be fitted with spikes if the terrain is hard to dig.

Do you have plans for the future?

Yes, to continue enabling high-density seismic across multiple subsurface exploration and monitoring applications and to further enhance and develop our cutting edge technology to continue spearheading the nodal marketplace.

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