Norwegian companies Equinor and Shearwater GeoServices are bringing in additional European companies to collaborate on lowering the environmental footprint of seismic acquisitions.

Shearwater revealed Tuesday its existing collaboration with Equinor would now also bring in Var Energi and Lundin Energy in a bid to accelerate the development and commercialisation of marine vibroseis for geophysical surveys.

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The partners are looking to sustainable marine vibratory source technology to minimise the environmental footprint and enhance data quality from seismic data acquisition.

According to Shearwater, marine vibrator sources provide total control of the emitted wavefield, which it states is fundamentally different to existing source technology.

Geophysical subsurface imaging uses sound energy to generate reflections from geological formations below the ocean floor. By selecting only the necessary sound frequencies and emitting gradually over time and space, Shearwater says marine vibroseis potentially allows optimal signal strength and direction towards subsurface targets, which enables surveys to be shortened in duration and with low sound emissions.

“Equinor has supported this development for several years already, as we believe this new source technology has potential to reduce the environmental impact of marine seismic surveys further and to increase survey efficiency,” Equinor’s vice president of Subsurface Solutions Technology Development, Nick Ashton, said.

“With better control of the frequency, phase and amplitude of the emitted signal, the new source should also provide an improvement in data quality.”

The expanded collaboration with Var Energi and Lundin will build on the existing technology cooperation between Shearwater, Equinor and the Norwegian Research Council, as well as ensure funding and commitment for the multi-year development of the technology.

“The joint ambition is to acquire better quality seismic data, faster and with low sound energy by harvesting the untapped potential of marine vibratory sources,” said Shearwater’s chief technology officer, Massimo Virgilio.

“We are investing in this technology as a solution for the energy transition enabling monitoring of carbon storage and efficient exploration and production of energy.”

Vidar Danielsen, the head of geophysical operations at Lundin Norway, said the development of a seismic marine vibrator source had many advantages, including a lower environmental impact than conventional sources that are currently used.

“This technology allows tuning of the signal direction and also the combination of several vibroseis sources to reduce the time a survey takes to acquire, in other words, acquiring a seismic survey faster and more efficiently,” he added.

“The new source may also be used in environmentally restricted areas, where the reduced sound emission levels are favoured."