Seismic technology "TopSeis" could be the key to opening up successful exploration in the southern Barents Sea

Cutting edge seismic technology and unique work methods are bringing Lundin Norway closer to new discoveries in the southern Barents Sea.

Lundin Norway’s geologists are currently analysing 2,000 km2 of seismic data that have been acquired over the Loppa High in the southern Barents Sea using the TopSeis technology. This is the first time this cutting edge technology has been used on the Norwegian shelf and the preliminary results look promising for the future.

“Lundin Norway’s geologists are certain that the new data will be key to crack the code for discovering more oil in the southern Barents Sea,” says senior geophysicist in Lundin Norway, Per Eivind Dhelie.

Technology developed by Lundin Norway
The TopSeis method, which was developed by Lundin Norway together with seismic company CGG, provides crystal-clear images of the subsurface and is particularly well-suited for shallow reservoirs, such as those in the southern Barents Sea.

“Seismic data acquisition in the southern Barents Sea requires a bit more work, simply because the seabed is very hard and signals are reflected in an entirely different way than we are used to from other parts of the Norwegian continental shelf. The level of detail that the TopSeis method can provide will help to improve our understanding of special geological conditions with large cavities in the subsurface (karstified carbonates), such as in the Alta discovery. This reservoir is new to the Norwegian shelf, and hence requires new solutions,” says Dhelie.

The method is based on two seismic vessels operating in tandem. The signal sources of one vessel are placed directly over the streamers, and not in front which is customary. The streamers must be towed sufficiently deep in the water so that the vessel with the signal source can sail over them without coming into conflict with the streamers. This type of operation has previously been regarded as impossible.

“There are probably many geophysicists in the world who have had this idea, but Lundin Norway’s geophysicists rolled up their sleeves and started working to find a solution” says Dhelie.

A new era
The method means that the important data directly under the sources are nearly noise-free. Dhelie believes Lundin Norway may have gone so far as to introduce a new era in the seismic industry.

“The image quality is so good that it is revolutionary. It is like going from 720 to Ultra HD and 4K on your TV at home. The introduction of TopSeis has really turned old established ‘truths’ upside down. With these high-resolution images we have a much higher chance to discover the porosity that we are searching for in the Permian limestone deposits in the southern Barents Sea,” says Dhelie.