Aramco team wins innovation awards at engineering geophysics conference in the UAE

Aramco team wins innovation awards at engineering geophysics conference in the UAE
Geoscientists at a research centre. (Image for illustrative purpose only)
Published: 11 January 2018 - midnight
By: Martin Menachery

EXPEC Advanced Research Center (ARC) recently won first and second place in the 2017 Innovation Award competition at the International Conference on Engineering Geophysics (ICEG) in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.

Sponsored by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), the event represents the biggest and most prestigious community in exploration geophysics of the oil and gas industry.

The event, in its fourth edition, attracts a large participation from the international scientific and industrial communities by concentrating on global innovation, creativity, as well as advances and new approaches in the field of engineering and geophysical applications.

Saudi Aramco received first place for a novel technology that relates to automatic near surface velocity and residual statics solutions from surface consistent analysis of refracted waves. The unique methodology relies exclusively on the analysis of refracted waves rather than reflected waves, and provides surface consistent solutions in an automatic fashion at a fraction of the time needed by conventional approaches. It has been developed in EXPEC ARC’s geophysics technology division and is the object of several patent and trademark filings.

The second innovation award, also invented by the geophysics technology division, was granted to Aramco for developing a novel fibre optic seismic system for onshore acquisition, which is capable of simultaneous near surface characterisation and deep reflection imaging of oil and gas targets. It addresses both near surface and data quality challenges by burying sensors in the subsurface.

The main component of the system is a so-called smart distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) uphole, a shallow hole (50 to 500 metres deep) with cost-effective optical fibre similar to what is used for Internet connections at home or the office. The technology enables every metre of the fibre to act as a seismic sensor, turning a shallow hole into a smart, instrumented well, listening from top to bottom.

EXPEC ARC is located in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It is a research centre that belongs to Saudi Aramco and is responsible for upstream oil and gas technology development. The centre has over 250 scientists from various disciplines, spread across six technology teams and one laboratory division which tackle various aspects of oil and gas exploration, development, and production.

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