by Shearwater GeoServices
The last 10 years have been a difficult period for the seismic industry, with the last five being particularly brutal. In the previous decades the industry had grown accustomed to the fact that it was cyclical. Demand for seismic services was either high, in which case contractors were able to increase margins and invest in new technology, or demand was low, and contractors survived by acquiring poorly funded non-exclusive surveys and laying up crews while looking forward to the next upswing. Since 2012 the seismic demand trend has been one way only, and the established players are shadows of their former selves. In the middle of 2018 there were just 21 active high-capacity 3-D vessels operated by the major contractors compared to around 75 just a few years ago.
We are seeing the first signs of partial recovery from the worst downturn the industry has ever experienced. But, after the widespread organizational and balance sheet restructuring over recent years and with the majority of contractors still burdened with heavy debts is the industry in a fit state to be able to capitalise on any significant market improvement if it arrives?
Well, there is one company better positioned than the rest and that is Shearwater GeoServices. Founded only in 2016 this company has already become a major player with an impressive track record of efficiency and quality built up in a very short period of time.
At a time when the competition was busy re-organizing and downsizing in order to cope with the ongoing lack of demand Shearwater emerged with four modern, high capacity vessels and their own proprietary data processing and imaging software. For them there has been no struggling to survive in the diminished market that has been gripping the industry. For them these new market conditions have been the environment they have emerged into and they have built an organization and service offering to match it.
Solid backing has come from GC Rieber, a company founded in 1879 that has grown into a global shipping organization providing ship development; design; construction and operation services to the subsea, seismic and ice/support sectors, as well as Rasmussengruppen, a company that has had international shipping at the core of its business since it started in 1936. Both also saw the potential of acquiring the marine seismic acquisition assets and operations of WesternGeco ahead of an anticipated increase in demand for marine seismic services. This move will transform Shearwater into the leading full-service marine geophysical company in the industry. The new combined fleet will be the newest and most capable in the industry.
The Shearwater vessels stand out from the rest of the global seismic fleet in a number of aspects but the most significant differentiator is their high propulsion power and redundancy. Not only does this provide them with a high transit speed that cuts down on unprofitable travel time between surveys, it also allows them to consistently and safely tow large streamer configurations at highly efficient acquisition speeds that reduces the total duration of each project.
Whilst many surveys world-wide have been severely hampered by strong currents which impede vessel speed and lead to an increase in survey duration and cost, the Shearwater vessels’ towing power and propulsion redundancy allow them to maintain their ground speed even in the harshest of tidal and current regimes thereby maximising efficiency. This also significantly reduces the risk in highly obstructed areas where loss of power can be catastrophic.
The vessels, with streamer capacities of up to 22 give them the ability to tow very wide spreads for the acquisition of highly efficient exploration 3D data or dense narrow spreads for high resolution 3D and 4D data is complimented by Shearwater’s innovative FlexiSource technique.
FlexiSource is a combination of multiple, overlapping sources, continuous recording and advanced de-blending techniques to separate the data into individual, non-overlapping shot records of any length. It can be employed by using three or more source arrays and gives the flexibility to provide high quality fit-for-purpose data for every need, from higher density data to faster and more cost efficient acquisition.
Moreover, the source arrays have ultra-long, digital umbilicals meaning that even with three or more sources and ultra-wide tow streamer configurations they still acquire with inline near offsets below 100m.
Processing and Imaging
The flexibility and cost efficiency in terms of the number and configuration of streamers and sources that can be towed by their fleet is mirrored by the processing and imaging services they provide powered by their proprietary Reveal software. They combine both offshore real-time data processing and onshore processing flows that are designed to meet the quality, timing and cost constraints of each project.
And to add additional flexibility and efficiency to their processing solutions they have now developed the concept of “pop-up” processing. With this innovative approach to data processing services they are able to provide full processing and imaging services on a truly globally scale, setting up centres quickly and easily in whichever location their clients require.
Each of their data processing and imaging teams is led by an experienced supervisor who has an average of 23 years in the industry. And with a geophysicist-to-supervisor ratio of 5:1 their clients know that a seasoned pair of eyes has been involved in every project.
Reveal performs time and depth processing and imaging for both and land and marine data within a single user interface. Shearwater’s dedicated Reveal R&D team ensures continuous development and rapid deployment of new functionality and a fast response to their customers’ requirements.
Not only do they use it on their crews and in their processing centres Reveal is available for purchase and is licensed by every type of customer from the super-majors to the smaller independents, contractors and Universities around the world. And for new customers they offer a 30-day free trial so that they can experience its uniquely intuitive and integrated design first hand before they buy.
This highly intuitive, interactive and adaptable software platform has the flexibility to be scaled to run on a laptop in the field through to the largest data centres and delivers a seamless integration of QC, time processing and depth imaging.
Reveal also provides a developer’s environment to customers who want the flexibility to integrate their own existing workflows and processing systems bringing new life to old code.
At Shearwater they believe in and promote a special working culture whereby all of their staff and 3rd party employees, both in the field and in the office, share the five behaviours that are the backbone of “focus”, their employee engagement programme: Safe ,Inclusive, Respectful, Dynamic and Ambitious.
“focus” provides all employees with the training and understanding so that they are able to contribute fully as they grow the business, meet the expectations of Shearwater, their clients and themselves as professional employees of a leading marine seismic provider.
To quote CEO Irene Waage Basili “We hold a sincere belief that our employees of today are the foundation of the success that we look forward to in the future.”
About Shearwater GeoServices
Shearwater’s modern fleet, expert imaging teams and innovative software combine to offer exceptional results. The powerful fleet, complete with modern technology, is manned by experienced crews working safely and efficiently in all operating conditions to deliver a cost-effective and high-quality service.
Our Processing & Imaging department provide agile, responsive teams of industry qualified experts, available when, where and for however long you need them. Giving you high quality data rapidly to reduce costs and build in flexibility at the heart of your project.
The Shearwater intuitive software solution, Reveal, is a full processing software that can scale to run from a laptop in the field through to the largest data centre. It is modern, powerful and extensible, perfect for all demanding seismic data analysis.
Fast, flexible and cost-effective, Shearwater is the cutting edge geophysical services company.