Australian LNG operator Woodside takes stake in seismic services firm to boost exploration

Friday, 13 September 2019
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Woodside Petroleum, the LNG operator at two plants in Western Australia and with upstream assets in southeast Asia and in the Atlantic Margin, has signed an agreement to invest in Perth-based Blue Ocean Seismic Services to boost exploration and production activities.

“The company is developing an innovative solution that has the potential to make ocean bottom seismic data acquisition cheaper and more accessible,” said Woodside.

The shares agreement was signed with parent company Blue Ocean Monitoring Ltd.

Seismic data is critical for understanding geological formations and the nature of hydrocarbon resources that may be contained within them.

“Current methods use remotely operated vehicles to place nodes on the ocean floor that capture and record soundwaves,” said Woodside whose main E&P activities are offshore Australia, Myanmar and Senegal in West Africa.

The concept was jointly developed by Woodside and Blue Ocean Seismic Services and focuses on using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) in place of remotely operated vehicles.

The AUVs are small submarines that are pre-programmed to self-deploy to the ocean floor and reposition multiple times.

Woodside said this method will improve efficiencies, lower costs and reduce people’s exposure to health and safety risks.

“Subject to satisfaction of conditions precedent, Woodside will take a 35 percent shareholding in Blue Ocean Seismic Services,” said the company, which did not disclose the value of the transaction.

Woodside Executive Vice President for Sustainability Shaun Gregory noted the agreement continued Woodside’s support of Western Australian technology companies.

“The use of AUVs is a priority in our technology strategy, and has global applications. We see ocean bottom monitoring playing an important role in helping us to understand more complex geological settings,” said Gregory.

Simon Illingworth, Blue Ocean Monitoring’s Group Managing Director, said he had enjoyed working with Woodside over the last two years on this technology.

“Woodside is committed to investing in innovative technologies in the oil and gas industry, while striving to continuously improve safety,” added Illingworth.

“We look forward to continuing to develop this promising technology with Woodside’s support,” he stated.

The current technical activities are focusing on small sea trials ahead of the first seismic test in early 2020.

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