Seismic survey is a method used to investigate geological properties of earth and is majorly used to explore natural gas, petroleum, and mineral deposits. Data acquisition, processing, and interpretation are the three phases of seismic survey. This technique determines the time interval between the initiation of waves at a shot point and the arrival of reflected or refracted waves by the seismic detectors. Various techniques including air guns, dynamite blast, and seismic vibrator among others are used for initiation of seismic waves. The amplitude and time are recorded on arrival of these waves at the detector. The time taken by wave to return to the surface gives several information such as types of rocks, possible fluids, and gases in the formation, providing a detailed image of the subsurface and the location of oil and gas reserves.
Increasing demand for oil and gas is a major driving factor for growth of the global seismic survey. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels is estimated to account for 77% of the global energy use by 2040. Advantages of seismic survey such as reduction of probability of drilling dry wells thereby, preventing further drilling and minimizing environmental effects of oil and gas exploration is propelling growth of global seismic survey market. Advancements in technology in seismic survey is expected to fuel growth of the global seismic survey market over the forecast period (2018–2025). For instance, in April 2017, Explor Geophysical Ltd. launched PinPoint seismic technology that enables ultra-high density seismic imaging of oil sands targets. Furthermore, in August 2016, CGG launched TopSeis, offshore seismic technology. Government regulations on seismic survey such as 2013 European Union regulations 2013 SI 134 that assess the environmental impact of petroleum exploration is a major factor restraining growth of the global seismic survey market.
3D seismic survey was the dominant technology segment in 2017, owing to its advantages such as continuous and clear images of subsurface stratigraphic features and good lateral resolution. 3D seismic survey technology finds applications in reservoir characterization and monitoring reservoir fluid movements. According to Petroleum Geo-Services, the 3D seismic survey demand in 2006 increased up to 120% by the fourth-quarter of 2012 calculated by square km.
- North America was the dominant region in the global seismic survey market in 2017. Shale explorations along with offshore shallow water and deep water exploration has increased in this region in the recent past, leading to high demand for seismic survey. For instance, in January 2018, TGS announced commencement of three new 3D seismic projects in the basins of West Hackberry, Sanderson, and Dawson in North America.
- Seismic survey market in Europe is witnessing a significant growth, owing to increasing exploration activities to cater to the high energy demand. According to European Commission, 72.5% of all energy was produced from fossil fuel, including crude oil and natural gas in the EU-28 in 2015.
- Asia Pacific seismic survey market is expected to exhibit high growth over the forecast period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, total mineral exploration expenditure increased by 6.1% to US$ 201.28 million in December 2016 from previous year in Australia. This growth in expenditure is in turn driving growth of seismic survey market in Asia Pacific. Furthermore, increasing demand for oil and gas is leading to high utilization of seismic survey, which in turn is fuelling growth of seismic survey market. According to International Energy Agency, gas demand is expected to increase by 1.6% globally, from 2017 to 2022, with China contributing 40% to this growth. Also, consumption in China is expected to increase to 340 billion cubic meters by 2022.
- Middle East and Africa are lucrative markets for seismic survey, due to increasing oil and gas exploration and production activities in these regions. According to the World Energy Council, the natural gas reserves in Middle East was 80,040.9 billion cubic meters in 2015. Also, the oil demand in this region is estimated to grow by 1.4% between 2014 and 2020. This will augment demand for seismic survey in this region. Furthermore, increasing mineral and oil & gas exploration activities in Africa is fuelling growth of the seismic survey market. For instance, in April 2017, Shearwater GeoServices announced that it would conduct 3D marine acquisition survey in offshore North Africa; and SeaBird Exploration announced 2D seismic survey in offshore West Africa.
Key players operating in the seismic survey market are Breckenridge Geophysical, LLC, BTW Company Ltd., Dolphin Group ASA, Polaris Seismic International Ltd., Spectrum ASA, Terraseis Ltd., MMA Offshore Limited, Kuwait Oil Company, Seismic Surveys, Inc., and LoneStar Geophysical Surveys LLC.
Global seismic survey market is segmented as:
By Technology Type
- 2D Seismic Survey
- 3D Seismic Survey
- 4D Seismic Survey
- Oil and Gas
- In January 2018, TGS announced commencement of three new 3D seismic projects in the basins of West Hackberry, Sanderson, and Dawson in North America. With this, TCS will be in a stronger position of strengthening its onshore position. This would also enable the company to help its customers in developing the best data driven subsurface models in aiding their exploration efforts.
- In April 2017, Shearwater GeoServices announced that it would conduct 3D marine acquisition survey in offshore North Africa; and SeaBird Exploration announced 2D seismic survey in offshore West Africa.
- In April 2017, Explor Geophysical Ltd. launched PinPoint seismic technology that enables ultra-high density seismic imaging of oil sands targets.
- In August 2016, CGG launched TopSeis, offshore seismic technology. This was specifically designed with the objective of overcoming the intrinsic lack of near offsets inherent in 3D towed streamer industry.