Case Study

Fortune 500 Exploration & Production Company

Goal

Natural gas and oil drilling requires massive teams of production workers and specialists. Oil wells are difficult to locate and, once drilling begins, there is a risk they may be unproductive. But scientific techniques—such as sending seismic shock waves into the earth to determine the location of oil or natural gas—and new visualization technologies help these teams locate and drill the best oil wells. A Fortune 500 E & P company based in the United States uses seismic data to find the highest potential "sweet spot" for natural gas, avoid subsurface hazards, and reduce the risk of drilling dry holes. In 2008, this company had 3D seismic data covering more than 19 million acres. They were challenged with visualizing millions of miles of subsurface terrain, which can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and costly.

Solution

Mechdyne and the company partnered together to create a 3D visualization system so geologists, geophysicists, and drillers can easily view an active patch of land, sometimes as long as 12 miles and four miles wide. By recording more than a million seismic traces per square mile, the company uses their visualization systems to make new discoveries and see things they could not see before. The 3D technology allows researchers to view underground formations in high definition, with possible drilling sites represented by intersecting yellow poles. New collaboration rooms allow them to videoconference, host meetings with staff and visitors, research new exploration opportunities, and develop drilling techniques.

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