There is hope for the Covid-challenged seismic survey vessel market as there are tentative moves to restart exploration in Atlantic hydrocarbon basins
Vessel owners are looking for opportunities to bring their vessels back into service after several tough months in 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, energy companies halted exploration activity, including seismic surveys.
However, some energy majors have restarted exploration in areas of greater hydrocarbon potential and third-party surveyors have commenced multi-client geoscience studies.
TGS-Nopec has started three new seismic survey projects in South America for various energy companies using survey ships. It will survey for hydrocarbons over a 5,000 km2 area in the southern Atlantic for the Malvinas 3D programme in Argentina.
TGS will use BGP Prospector for the 3D seismic survey for a multitude of exploration and production companies, increasing its coverage in the region to 18,000 km2.
TGS has also announced two exploration survey projects in Brazil for Q1 2021.
“We have strong visibility for our Q1 2021 multi-client investments,” said TGS chief executive Kristian Johansen. “Latin America is one of our key focus areas, and despite the challenging market conditions, our clients continue to support our projects in this region,” he commented.
“Strong, long-term partnerships with our suppliers allow us to share risk and reduce cash investments, which provides a unique opportunity to continue our counter-cyclical investment philosophy,” Mr Johansen added.
TGS is mobilising COSL vessel Hai Yang Shi You 720 to Brazil to commence a 3D survey in the Espirito Santo basin. This will be a dual azimuth survey covering 1,400 km2 area in a prospective basin, supported by industry funding and carried out in partnership with COSL, until the end of March 2021.
Also during Q1 2021, TGS intends to use BGP Pioneer to conduct a 2D survey in the Pelotas Basin, off Brazil’s southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
This 7,000-km survey is part of a suite of data that will be available to energy companies seeking to become involved in Brazil’s 17th licence round from July 2021.
This data will augment the existing TGS 2D data coverage in the area and allow for better prospect mapping.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Total Exploration & Production has contracted Shearwater GeoServices, in which GC Rieber Shipping holds a 19% stake, to conduct a 3D acquisition survey on a fast-track processing project.
This will be carried out by 2015-built survey vessel SW Empress over 5,000 km2 in the UDO exploration block offshore Senegal.
Data acquisition will be carried out during Q4 2020 using an ultrawide tow Flexisource configuration, while Shearwater’s proprietary Reveal software will be used for rapid data processing.
Seabird Exploration has started a seismic survey source contract in the Gulf of Mexico. It received the award letter on 22 September 2020 for a source vessel to assist in a 3D survey for three months.