Seismic interpretation and integrated modeling: making the process more and more precise
- To locate a potential hydrocarbon reservoir, technicians carry out an extensive ultrasound of the subsurface to create a 3D image.
- The seismic reflection method, which analyzes waves sent at depth, has evolved considerably, in particular owing to the amazing advances in computing.
- TotalEnergies specialists have their own seismic interpretation software suite, Sismage-CIG, which is constantly being improved and is now open to the other energy-production activities in the Company.
Back in the first half of the 20th Century, future reservoirs could be identified by direct observation of the Earth’s surface. Today’s "prospects" are hidden by recent sedimentary deposits, whose surface deformations bear no resemblance to those of the deep subsurface layers. Just over thirty years ago, TotalEnergies' geoscientists began to develop an innovative tool: "The history of Sismage began in Pau at the end of the 1980s, with the arrival of the first computers in the Company. At that time, the challenge was to create an in-house seismic interpreting tool, because there were none available on the market and it was an innovation to be able to interpret data on computers. You have to imagine that before the 2000s, we were still interpreting seismic data printed out on large sheets of white paper, several meters long, using coloring pencils," recalls Eric Tawile, Sismage-CIG Program Manager in the OneTech branch at TotalEnergies.
Sismage soon became the software for TotalEnergies' geophysicists and seismic interpreters. In the 2000s, other software applications began to emerge, enabling us to model reservoirs in 3D, to evaluate the volumes of hydrocarbons in place and simulate the possibility of extracting oil and gas from the fields. "We saw an opportunity to improve the platform by incorporating the information, data and knowledge of the different geoscience disciplines, to achieve what we call integrated studies. They were of higher quality and gave us a more detailed understanding of oil and gas reservoirs and fields” he adds. That was when the CIG (for chaîne intégrée géosciences - integrated software suite) acronym was added. "Incorporating those data was a real time-saver for the teams. Before that, they had to use several different software applications, export the data, then import them again. It was an extremely time-consuming process."
A constantly evolving and complex ecosystem
One of the challenges today is to reach outside the Company, as an integrator. This requires the teams to make continuous adaptations such as: software hybridization with the integration of functionalities developed by third parties, the hybridization of infrastructures to take advantage of Cloud technologies, and the hybridization of data, which are ever more varied, and which are also being stored differently. This hybridization process is of course carried out in tandem with other major TotalEnergies projects like the Pangea High Performance Computer, that improves computation times, increases the resolution of seismic images using more and more sophisticated algorithms created inhouse, and reduces uncertainties.
"What’s wonderful about working in a team like Sismage-CIG, is the cross-functional aspect and the capacity to develop an existing tool to adapt it to issues outside our usual hydrocarbon-focused projects - such as offshore wind farms for example," Eric Tawile enthuses. This type of methodology and high-performance analysis tools are now being transposed to the Company’s new activities. Geoscience specialists and other experts in data and surface geophysics are working with the Sismage-CIG teams to propose developments for the tool, with the aim of making wind turbine installation safer, through the improved characterization of the ground, based on more reliable information.