--> Risks associated with Seismic Acquisition onshore Myanmar during the monsoon period, and how to mitigate them

AAPG Asia Pacific Region, The 4th AAPG/EAGE/MGS Myanmar Oil and Gas Conference:
Myanmar: A Global Oil and Gas Hotspot: Unleashing the Petroleum Systems Potential

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Risks associated with Seismic Acquisition onshore Myanmar during the monsoon period, and how to mitigate them


Presentations at the AAPG/EAGE/MGS Myanmar Oil and Gas Conference held in February 2017 in Yangon made clear that there are few countries on earth where there is as much potential using new seismic data to (a) find significant yet undiscovered oil and gas volumes, and (b) increase production and ultimate recovery from already discovered oil and gas fields. Some existing fields are covered with old 2D lines only, and acquiring present day 3D quality seismic must rank among the most lucrative investments one could think of. It seemed odd therefore that seismic acquisition was taking place only in the dry season. A reason given for this is that it would be very difficult or impossible to acquire seismic data during the monsoon period. However, seismic data is acquired during most of the year in other places in the world where there are similar periods with very heavy rain, for example in the Niger Delta. It seemed worthwhile to investigate further. Two scouting trips were undertaken. The first trip was from 28 April to 2 May 2017 (5 days), at the height of the dry season, in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar where 4 seismic crews were then at work, trying to finish the job before the monsoon started. In the area SW of Pyay a crew was working for Bashneft in block EP-4. In the area around Thayet another crew was working for PTTEP in block MOGE-3. Further to the west a crew was working for Petroleum Brunei in block EP-1 and further north, SE of Magway, a crew was working for Eni in block RSF-5. The second trip was from 26 July to 1 August 2017 (7 days) during the monsoon period. As expected no seismic crews were working during that time. After these two scouting trips the challenges likely to be encountered by seismic crews during the monsoon period are now quite clear, and so are ways to deal with them. Farming takes place mostly during the monsoon period and therefore community problems are more likely to occur during that time. The most important challenge therefore is to get community relations right. If a company can achieve this then it will not be too difficult to acquire seismic data throughout the year. Acquiring seismic data only in the dry season avoids many of the problems related to farming but it has several important disadvantages: a) A seismic crew and in particular seismic equipment that is idle half of the year will cost more. b) The process of exploration (and later development and production) is delayed and in the worst case slowed down by a factor two. Considering the importance of good quality seismic data to image Myanmar's very complex structural geology, not acquiring seismic data 50% of the time means that future income for companies and for the country will be delayed. c) Also during the dry season there are problems acquiring seismic data, for example burning of soil which destroys seismic equipment, and access to water for drilling of source holes. Based on the two field trips as well as prior experience elsewhere the presentation will highlight the risks associated with seismic acquisition onshore Myanmar during the monsoon period as well as ways to mitigate those risks.