a patented technology that allows it to shoot seismic so it does
not disturb urban areas, one Denver-based company is moving into
suburbs and other cityscapes to search for oil and gas deposits.
"We can complete the work at each stop in five minutes," said Paul
Favret, president of Aspect Resources. "It’s so mild it doesn’t
damage nearby pipelines."
Favret spoke at the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists' annual
3-D Seismic Symposium, held earlier this year in Denver.
in his presentation was a film that showed a seismic crew moving
through and working in a subdivision — complete with a police
Favret said his company, one of the few to work in urban areas,
has invested more than $130 million in 3-D, shooting 1,700 square
miles, mainly around Houston and along the upper Texas Gulf Coast
and southwestern Louisiana.
It has been shooting seismic in urban areas for the last four years,
totaling more than 400 square miles of seismic data.
Favret is the author of the company's patented vibra-size technology,
which allows its crews "to operate at 100 percent drive levels without
exceeding a 0.5 peak particle velocity. That’s half the recommended
standard, and we get as close at 15 feet away from structures.
"It’s a difficult playground we’re in," he said, "the
city of Houston to the Sabine River, and to Lake Charles and Lafayette,
The company has 2,400 square miles of proprietary data, he said.
"To do a better job, we feel we have to use as much knowledge as
possible," he continued. "Our vision has been to build a competitive
advantage by building a knowledgeable database."
Problems that the Aspect crews have to face are, in many ways,
similar to the challenges seismic teams face wherever they work.
- Getting permits. (Have you ever tried to explain the process
to a typical urban dweller?)
- Getting close to structures. (No, you cannot come into my yard!)
- Being able to drill directional wells (Could we talk to the
And then there are the extra costs. For example, with directional
wells, the company must lease the easement of the drill path, and
sometimes that can cost $500,000 just to get the land together,
they do get close to buildings.
"We shoot right through subdivisions," Favret said. "We get as
close as 15 feet away from homes."
Aspect has drilled more than 200 wildcat wells over the past five
years of active exploration. The company has a long-term alliance
with Veritas, he said, intended "to improve the acquisition process
with a constant focus on improved quality and shortened cycle times
while reducing costs."
Instead of acquiring seismic on a turnkey basis, the company works
on a term basis by the hour, "so we pay $2,500 per hour for the
crew and equipment," he said.