On October 24th, 2013, NodalSeismic won the award for Geophysical Contractor of the Year, West Coast Region, for the Long Beach, CA 3D seismic survey.
The Long Beach oil field is a highly faulted anticlinal structure with steep dips up to 70 degrees, and a dense urban metropolis with more than 9,000 people per square mile.
In 2012, NodalSeismic completed an unprecedented 3D seismic survey in the city of Long Beach, CA for Signal Hill Petroleum Inc. (SHPI). The survey used cutting-edge technology and acquisition techniques to successfully image the complex geology beneath Long Beach’s dense, urban metropolis.
The result: This project greatly contributed to both oil and gas exploration and earthquake seismology. NodalSeismic produced an unparalleled view of the geology within and surrounding the Long Beach Oil Field that immediately improved SHPI’s drilling performance. The survey also provided passive earthquake data that was shared with academic institutions. The data have already contributed to, and will continue to advance our understanding of earthquake propagation effects and earthquake sources.
Background: NodalSeismic spent years researching and testing recording systems to find the optimum solution for the Long Beach project - the cable-free Zland node system, manufactured by FairfieldNodal. They were the first seismic contractor to test and operate the Zland, and the first company to successfully plan and execute a dense urban seismic study of this magnitude.
The solution consisted of a comprehensive data acquisition plan and survey design tailored to the dense urban environment. Its elements included:
NodalSeismic’s solution to this project created a more flexible, efficient and streamlined survey. The combined use of recording system and operational technique made this survey friendlier to the community and environment than traditional (cable) approaches – and can be adapted to any environment for a better client and landowner experience.
Earthquake Seismology Benefits: During the two phases of the survey, NodalSeismic was able to record and preserve passive earthquake data with the Zland’s continuous-recording capability, a benefit that only node-based systems can provide. NodalSeismic and SHPI shared the passive earthquake dataset with academic institutions like Caltech, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. The system recorded dozens of significant local earthquakes, more than 4,000 micro-earthquakes, and teleseismic events like the 2011 Japan M9.0 earthquake. With this data, NodalSeismic and its academic partners have created the most detailed view of earthquake propagation that is unprecedented anywhere in the world.
Conclusion: The Long Beach 3D survey exemplifies NodalSeismic’s determination to solve complex, multi-faceted challenges in newer, better ways. This project has also reawakened an approach to seismic that melds oil and gas exploration with earthquake seismology – a practice the company thinks will be the future of the industry.