OGA hires seismic explorers in £1m historic data-set hunt for new British oil finds

oga-29th-licensing-round-frontier-areas-in-white-june-2016The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has commissioned contracts worth £1 million to oil explorers to boldly go and re-explore subsea seismic data for new oil finds in the ageing North Sea and the English Channel.

Shearwater GeoServices, Geokinetics, DMT Petrologic and Quality Seismic won the four contracts to supply more than 10,000 kilometres (km) of reprocessed proprietary 2D seismic data as part of the UK Government-funded seismic acquisition programme. 

This reprocessed legacy seismic data is located in the Anglo-Paris basin offshore, the onshore Wessex and Weald Basins, the South West Approaches (including deep imaging data from the British Institutes Reflection Profiling Syndicate – BIRPS), the Solway Firth, the Unst Basin and the East Shetland Platform.

This work is scheduled to be released to the industry in 2017 alongside the recently acquired new seismic, gravity and magnetics data of South West Britain and East Shetland Platform.

Dr Nick Richardson, OGA Exploration and New Ventures Manager, said: “This combined seismic dataset, covers an offshore area equivalent to twice the United Kingdom’s landmass (approximately 500,000 square kilometers) and provides an unprecedented dataset to stimulate exploration activity.

“These data have the potential to unlock potential in areas that have not been explored for decades and will support the evaluation of acreage to be made available in future OGA licensing rounds.”

Over the last two years, the government has provided £40 million of funding for seismic acquisition programmes which the OGA has been using to build a regional database of seismic data in under-explored areas of the UKCS. This has included two new seismic campaigns covering the Mid North Sea High and the Rockall Basin in 2015-16 and the East Shetland Platform and South West Britain in 2016-17.

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