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Seismic companies Polaris Natural Resources and STRYDE have reported positive results from their work on Invictus Energy’s E&P project in Zimbabwe’s onshore Cabora Bassa Basin. The companies are now collaborating elsewhere in Africa, with the aim of unlocking new opportunities on the continent.
The two companies are using STRYDE’s nodal seismic system, which has been touted as the smallest in the world.
“The STRYDE system allowed Polaris to work with a very light footprint in the area and use recording techniques that provided very high-resolution data,” Amie Foster, STRYDE global account manager, told Hart Energy.
With this data, the Invictus geology and geophysics team were able to undergo “very sophisticated data processing and final interpretations that should give them an excellent understanding of the subsurface,” she said. “Drilling has now begun, and everyone is hoping for results that could change the energy outlook for Zimbabwe.”
Miniaturization of the technology-enabled Polaris to acquire seismic data rapidly at a reduced cost without compromising on the quality. Each node weighs 150 grams and measures 129 mm in height and 41 mm in width.
“The key to the miniaturization and subsequently reduced cost of the node is the Piezoelectric Accelerometer Sensor used in the STRYDE Node, a device that replaced the traditional ‘geophone’ or ‘seismometer,’” Foster said. “This miniature sensor uses mechanical vibrations to accurately measure acceleration on a surface at a significantly reduced price point to record the seismic signal.”
She said Piezoelectric Accelerometer Sensors are widely used in offshore seismic receiver devices but underused in land seismic operations, despite being inexpensive.
“As STRYDE’s game-changing technology evolves in the Africa region, we are seeing a significant increase in interest in using the technology for upcoming large-scale oil and gas surveys, as well as for use on geothermal and CCUS exploration and monitoring projects.”—Amie Foster, STRYDE
The size of the node results in various benefits, including smaller deployment and retrieval crews and reduced logistical requirements. It also eliminates the need for receiver line clearing in any terrain where someone can safely walk, which contributes to reductions in cost and environmental footprint.
Foster said the reduced cost of the technology compared with other nodal devices or cabled geophones means companies can afford to deploy more nodes, which “results in a higher-trance density and a better subsurface image.”
The benefits have been recognized by Polaris, which has carried out over 1,000 projects since 1996. This includes “some of the most extreme land seismic projects,” according to Polaris CEO Bill Mooney.
“Until very recently, all of these projects were completed using bulky ‘cabled’ seismic systems, and these systems required larger acquisition teams, many more vehicles and also resulted in a greater environmental impact for ground access,” Mooney told Hart Energy. “Project risk existed because these many kilometers of cable and geophone arrays that were deployed on the surface had to be in constant communication. If a cable was broken, the crew was down.”
He said wireless nodal systems were a “great revolution” in data acquisition and that the company believes STRYDE “is the best system suited for our operations.”
With STRYDE’s system, Polaris was able to reduce its crew sizes and vehicle requirements by over 40% and has “dramatically” changed its strategy in both operations and data quality, Mooney said.
“We know the STRYDE system is always listening,” he added. “We are able to focus on generating energy signals, confident that our data is being captured. From a data quality standpoint, these small nodes have allowed us to increase the density of receiver locations on the ground by four to five times. This increased density of receivers sharpens the images we collect and results in better data for our clients.”
STRYDE and Polaris are now collaborating on further projects, including ReconAfrica’s exploration work in Namibia.
“On this project, Polaris are using our Explorer 860 Accelerated Weight Drop technology, and combined with their recently purchased STRYDE system, this represents one of the lowest environmental impact solutions possible for seismic operations,” Mooney said.
Looking ahead, he said STRYDE would be Polaris’ only acquisition system, adding that the company was being approached by a number of exploration players about participation in projects across the region. Polaris recently purchased another 13,000 nodes to deliver upcoming surveys, having previously leased them for work in Zimbabwe and Namibia.
STRYDE, for its part, is working on “a number of opportunities” to supply equipment and fast-track data processing for upcoming seismic surveys across Africa, Foster said. The company also sees potential for its technology to be deployed beyond exploration for oil and gas.
“As STRYDE’s game-changing technology evolves in the Africa region, we are seeing a significant increase in interest in using the technology for upcoming large-scale oil and gas surveys, as well as for use on geothermal and CCUS exploration and monitoring projects,” Foster said.
STRYDE is also working on further technological advances, including extending the nodes’ battery life, adapting the node management software and developing spikes that can be added to the nodes for planting in rocky terrains.
The company is committed to the continuous development of its technology to ensure it remains the easiest, fastest and cheapest seismic acquisition system in the world, for any terrain on land, Foster said.
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