It’s nearly… conference time!정훈 김 via Pixabay

It’s nearly… conference time!

Two important subsurface conferences are about to kick off this week, one focusing on the UK Atlantic margin and the other on exploration technology in the Norwegian sector.

If there’s one thing that is exciting about new technology, it is the ability to detect subsurface features that were previously clouded in noise. The NCS Exploration Conference 2021 (19-20 May) will highlight the techniques that are currently being used and developed to do exactly that. A wide spectrum of presenters will shed their light on the various cutting-edge technologies that are being used today to find those relatively small but valuable accumulations near existing infrastructure.

At the same time, a conference organised by the Energy Group of the Geological Society will this week focus on the last frontier of the UKCS, the Atlantic Continental Margin (19-21 May). With a good mix of talks from academia and industry representatives, this event should be attended by all geoscientists working in the area.

A cutting-edge cutting project

One of the projects that will be extensively discussed during the NCS Exploration Conference is the Released Wells Initiative. As the presenter of one of three talks related to this project, Brit Thyberg from Pandion Energy will highlight a few examples of how the integration and visualisation of datasets resulting from this project can both be used to provoke discussions amongst members of the exploration team as well generate new ideas on how to decode the subsurface.

Seismic data in 2021

It is beyond doubt that new ways of seismic data acquisition and processing continue to be a main technology driver in terms of de-risking prospects. During the conference, both operators and service providers will therefore present their latest findings in this regard. For example, Andreas Evensen from Lundin will reflect on new tools being developed for seismic interpreters to carry out different ways of processing themselves, in order to better test different algorithms in a smarter way.

There will also be ample room for discussion and debate. Moderated by Petter Dischington from the NPD and Yuriy Ivanov from Aker BP, there will be a live discussion amongst various seismic data providers around the theme “Two approaches to creating the ultimate data set for the NCS.”

The challenges of exploring the Atlantic Margin

An active explorer along the UK Atlantic margin is Siccar Point, the company working on the Cambo development with partner Shell. Having drilled a number of exploration wells in recent years, Iain Bartholomew from Siccar Point is in a good position to present an update on the challenges exploring the area. His colleagues will subsequently address the results of wells recently drilled as well as remaining prospectivity.

Basement play

Given the recent developments around the fractured basement play in the West of Shetland area, it is not too much of a surprise that Hurricane is not presenting at the conference. However, as will be discussed by John Underhill at the opening keynote talk, during which he will present an overview of exploration activity of the Atlantic Margin, the petroleum potential of the basins should not be a considered as a complete write-off yet.

John adds: “We voiced concerns about the recoverable volumes reported in the media at the time the discoveries were being promoted because of the notorious challenge fractured basement plays present – due to the lack of matrix porosity and early water break through on production. It remains to be seen if any basement-hosted oil can be produced from a number of discoveries in the region including from the Clair Field. However, exploration and production activity is likely to revert to clastic reservoir targets in the overburden, some of which occur above and around the fractured basement highs.

In summary, there is ample opportunity to gain lots of exploration insights in the days to come, be it from Norway or from the UK.