Spectraseis Announces Technical & Commercial Milestones

High customer demand for advanced fracture monitoring and stimulation evaluation solutions in North American unconventional plays driving significant business growth in 2012

Spectraseis, a technology leader in microseismic fracture monitoring and stimulation evaluation, today announced the achievement of important technical and commercial milestones, which have positioned the company for exceptional growth in 2012.

These include the successful delivery of fracture monitoring results with the company’s new high-sensitivity, three-component (3-C) surface and borehole microseismic arrays in the US and Canada; the launch of the ULTRA industry consortium to advance microseismic fracture monitoring technologies; Spectraseis’ 70th patent filing; and the appointment of Simmons & Company as strategic advisor.


Successful Delivery of UltraSense(TM) 3-C Results for Fracture Monitoring in the U.S and Canada

Spectraseis reported the successful completion of multiple fracture monitoring surveys in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 using its new UltraSense(TM) microseismic recording arrays and elastic wave equation imaging techniques.

The monitoring programs, covering five North America plays including the Montney, Wolfcamp, and Woodford, encompassed both surface and borehole data acquisition and proved the importance of full-wave recordings.

Spectraseis’ analysis of the monitoring data delivered a number of advances in microseismic technology applications, including the following key findings:

  • UltraSense(TM) three-component surface arrays recorded extensive fracturing data in zones located 2000-2100 meters (6,500-6,900 feet) below the surface, demonstrating the utility and cost effectiveness of high-performance surface arrays for evaluating fracture stimulations in deep formations.
  • Fracture orientation analysis, based on direct imaging of event radiation patterns, provided insights to the operators on how the rock was breaking within their target formation, as well as where the fracture took place.
  • Continuous recordings after the end of fracture operations revealed significant microseismicity outside the pumping period, indicating that the fracture stimulation did not end with the completion of pressure pumping.
  • Seismic characterization attributes, derived from monitoring of the ambient wavefield pre- and post-frac, outlined reservoir zones altered during the fracture stimulation.
  • The low environmental impact of Spectraseis’ wireless nodal arrays enabled fast permitting and facilitated survey access in sensitive environments in both Canada and the U.S.

High-resolution borehole microseismic data from Spectraseis’ UltraSense(TM) borehole array delivered to Canada’s MIC consortium – a microseismic research partnership hosted by the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta – revealed long-period, long-duration microseismic events that were the primary goal of the project. Spectraseis’ high-sensitivity recording equipment extended the range of detected microseismic events by 2-3 times, and resulted in 3-4 times the number of detected events compared with conventional borehole microseismic instruments.

In addition, Spectraseis reported a strong backlog of monitoring projects and a high utilization of equipment projected through Q4 2012, including a recently awarded $4 million surface survey for a major North American customer, the company’s third contract with this customer.

Spectraseis plans to double the size of its equipment fleet in 2012 and has added high-sensitivity shallow borehole arrays in response to customer demand for sub-surface monitoring arrays that do not require the drilling of a deep observation well.

Spectraseis Chief Technical Officer, Rob Habiger, said:

“The results we are delivering to our customers in North America very clearly demonstrate the value of high-sensitivity, three-component recording of both compressional and shear waves, together with wave equation based processing methods for microseismic fracture monitoring. We have observed strong shear wave energy in our recent surface datasets. As predicted by pre-survey modeling, shear wave energy is often stronger than p-wave energy and can be up to 15 times stronger for double-couple sources. This confirms the importance of three-component recording for detecting, locating, and characterizing events created by hydraulic fracture stimulation completions.”


ULTRA Consortium Launched

Spectraseis has also announced the launch and first members in the ULTRA joint industry consortium to advance microseismic fracture monitoring technologies for operators in unconventional oil & gas plays.

The ULTRA partnership (ULTRA stands for Unconventional Leading Technology Reservoir Analysis) will increase the utility of microseismic data for unconventional resource development by addressing high-value technical questions through collaboration with leading operators and researchers. The two-year program will provide its members with new tools and software for more accurate fluid flow predictions from fracture completions and data standards for increasing the value of microseismic data.

Consortium members will have direct access to leading-edge fracture monitoring technologies and improve their understanding of microseismic monitoring applications. Delivery of new workflows, from data acquisition through reservoir simulation, and best practices for managing microseismic data are part of the package for members.

The initial partners in the two-year consortium include Chevron, researchers at the Colorado School of Mines, and Calgary-based reservoir modeling specialists Computer Modelling Group. Several other announcements are pending.


70th Patent Filing

In addition, Spectraseis announced the filing of its 70th patent application covering key geosciences technologies for microseismic fracture monitoring, stimulation evaluation and reservoir fluid system monitoring.

One of five recent applications in Canada, the latest patent “Time-Reverse Imaging Operators for Source Characterization” is one of several methods used to pinpoint microseismic event locations with a high degree of accuracy and to directly image the events’ radiation patterns.

The company’s portfolio of issued and pending patents, derived from more than nine years of research and development by Spectraseis and its partners, consists of three main patent families:

  1. Time-Reverse Imaging (TRI) full elastic wave-equation migration for microseismic data
  2. Seismic attributes and seismic data processing methods
  3. Ambient Wave-field Characterization (AWC) techniques for passive seismic data

Of particular interest to operators in unconventional plays are the TRI methods, which deliver rich fracture characterization and more reliable event positions through full elastic migration of microseismic data. TRI allows direct retrieval of a fracture event’s moment tensor, providing a more accurate understanding of fracture direction and connectivity compared with conventional microseismic processing techniques.

For customers this means more dependable and accurate fracture monitoring and stimulation evaluation from the surface or downhole arrays.

Spectraseis IP Counsel, David Walker, said:

“Spectraseis’ dynamic research and development program continues its nine-year history of quickly resolving important client data-driven challenges, which simultaneously increases the value of client results and strengthens the Spectraseis intellectual property portfolio. Our TRI and AWC technologies in particular are demonstrably increasing the value and sustainable competitive advantage we deliver to our clients”.

Spectraseis accelerates full elastic wave-equation imaging with proprietary algorithms and techniques to get the most out of the latest NVIDIA® Fermi GPU’s. More than an order of magnitude speed-up compared to CPU implementations provides faster turnaround times and more iterations for deep analysis of microseismic datasets.

This investment has allowed Spectraseis to overcome past computational barriers and deliver high-quality elastic wave-equation imaging of microseismic data to its customers within commercial timeframes.


Simmons & Company Appointed Strategic Adviser

In response to the high demand for the company’s technology and services, Spectraseis has appointed the energy specialist investment bank Simmons & Company International (SCIL) to advise on strategic options to position the company for continued strong growth.

Spectraseis Chairman, Bjarte Fageraas, said:

“We are very pleased with the quality of service and technical results Spectraseis is delivering for its customers, and the strong support for our next-generation microseismic technology offering from operators in the North American markets. The company is poised to expand its capacity in response to demand and we look forward to serving a much larger customer base in the months ahead.”


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