OGA releases free UK offshore seismic data

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The Oil and Gas Authority in the United Kingdom has released the $35 million government-funded seismic data to promote exploration in under-explored areas of the UK and the North Sea.

The datasets, now available to industry and academia, will support the next Offshore Licensing Round, set to open in mid-2018, and contains 19,000km of newly acquired broadband seismic data, new gravity and magnetic surveys, approximately 23,000km of reprocessed legacy seismic data and a rejuvenated set of digital well data, in addition to various supplementary reports.

OGA said the new marine 2D surveys, acquired during Summer 2016, cover the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain areas, with reprocessed datasets stretching along the English Channel and up the western areas of the UK as far as the Hebrides.

‘Together with data from the 2015 seismic program, this provides a regional exploration dataset for almost all of the UK’s under-explored offshore shelf, in regions where no substantial activity has occurred in decades,’ OGA added.

The oil and gas regulator said the data had been published under open licences, and the key data packages can be downloaded for free, with complete data packages (including field data) available to order on media from www.UKOilandGasData.com. The larger data packages will be available on digital media only, for which a nominal charge will be made to recover media, handling, and delivery costs, the oil and gas regulator said.

Jo Bagguley, OGA principal regional geologist said: “The seismic acquisition program is a vital part of the OGA’s plan to help revitalize exploration with up to £40 million already spent to provide modern coverage of nearly all underexplored regions of the UKCS. This new data will provide valuable insight to companies identifying new plays and prospects ahead of the 31st Offshore Licensing Round in 2018.

“The UKCS has a lot to play for with up to 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil still remaining. The challenge is now for industry to increase the level and quality of exploration drilling across the UKCS and work together with the OGA in maximizing economic recovery.”

Katy Heidenreich, Oil & Gas UK’s operations optimisation manager said: “Improving access to quality well and seismic data is a key lever to unlocking exploration activity on the UKCS. This data release marks another key milestone in the collective drive towards improving commercial success rates and stimulating fresh interest in potential new development opportunities.”

Malcolm Fleming, chief executive of CDA, the Oil & Gas UK subsidiary which manages UKOilandGasData.com said: “The significant improvement in the quality and availability of the data over these areas will allow geoscientists to re-evaluate previous interpretations, leading to a re-think of the prospectivity and potential of the petroleum systems in place and reappraisal of discoveries previously thought to be uneconomic, as well as the discovery of new prospects for exploration drilling.”

PGS and WesternGeco were awarded the contracts to acquire and process seismic data from the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain respectively. Acquisition was completed in late 2016, mirroring the 2015 seismic programme which saw more than 40,000 km of new and reprocessed data successfully released to industry.

This second seismic acquisition programme forms part of a package of measures from the Government designed to support the oil and gas sector. The areas were selected following engagement with industry and endorsed by the MER UK Exploration Task Force.

PGS vessel the Nordic Explorer carried out seismic surveys across the East Shetland Platform which includes the East Orkney Basin, East Fair Isle Basin and Dutch Bank Basin. The WesternGeco vessel WG Magellan carried out seismic surveys around South West Britain, including; the Celtic Sea, Western English Channel, Bristol Channel, St George’s Channel and the Irish Sea.

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