50- www. world- petroleum. org 5.1- Technology: pushing boundaries Offshore, seismic benefits from the fact that sound travels well through water. But some onshore environments, such as the deserts of the oil- rich Middle East, are problematic. The sand deadens the signal before it has gone very far under the ground. And the undulation of a desert dune means microphones laid out on the surface to capture the rebounding sig-nal won't all be at the same height - a snag when millisecond timing is involved. The offshore environment has its own challenges: special vessels have had to be designed to be capable of towing several lines of microphones - called streamers. A modern 3- D seismic vessel might tow as many as 20 eight- kilometre- long stream-ers, with the outer two as much as a kil-ometre apart - not a job for any old ship. " Keeping this technology up to date re-quires dedicated teams of engineers that are always working on the very edge of technology," says Walker. Focusing seismic images presents fur-ther difficulties: whereas a modern camera on autofocus mode fixes on a single point in the distance, geophysicists must analyse an image with infinite depth of focus - eve-rything from drilling risks on the seabed to the deep structure beneath the reservoir. That task can be made even more onerous when, for example, there is a large salt layer below the seabed to penetrate. This refracts the signal, like light through a prism. One geophysicist likens it to " looking through a shattered window pane". Mammoth computing power And modern seismic surveys - known as three- dimensional ( 3- D) seismic - generate terabytes of data, which calls for huge com-puting power. It's no surprise that the first use of a Cray supercomputer was in the seismic industry and the seismic industry is the sin-gle biggest user of computer power today. Seismic imaging: It's like bouncing a ball, but much more complicated © CGGVeritas
51- www. energy- future. com Profile - Arsen Shnashev Name: Arsen Shnashev Company: Schlumberger Present job: Maintenance manager for drilling and measurement operations Age: 29 Nationality: Kazakhstani Degree: Bachelors in Industrial Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey While I was at university I did internships in the construction and tobacco industries, before taking a placement at a company that built oil and gas production facilities. Energy caught my imagination: it meant working in-ternationally, being exposed to different cul-tures and languages, always having some-thing new to learn and working with and de-veloping new and exciting technologies. After graduating in 2002, I joined an oil company in Kazakhstan, working as a mechanical- reliability engineer at a gas-processing plant that stripped out hydrogen sulphide from gas produced at one of the country's biggest oil projects. A year later, I joined Schlumberger and im-mediately experienced the benefits of its in-ternational reach. I was assigned to Nigeria, working as a measurements engineer in off-shore projects. I worked with logging and measurements- while- drilling tools. These are sophisticated electronic devices that evaluate the physical properties of a well - such as resistivity and porosity - and take pressure, temperature and wellbore trajectory readings, all while the drilling is taking place. The data are transmitted to the surface in real time. After three years in the field, I moved to an office in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, working as an onshore- support engineer. That involves sit-ting in a state- of- the- art communications cen-tre, monitoring data that are being beamed in from various wells across the region and sharing the expertise I'd acquired as a field engineer with more junior staff. From there I moved to the technical side of the maintenance department. Downhole tools are put through extremely testing conditions - very high temperatures and pressures, for example. Reliability is a priority, making main-tenance a core part of our activity - as vital as developing new technologies. After a stint in Schlumberger's main-tenance centre in Aberdeen, I moved to Turkmenistan, Central Asia. We receive tools that have been used in the field, up-grading, repairing or maintaining them as necessary. It's a challenging job: you have to be up- to- date with the latest technology and with the many different product- qual-ity standards in force across the world. Our tools must comply with all of them. And the task will get tougher because the downhole conditions that oil companies are facing are generally becoming more onerous. An important part of the managerial side of my job is examining the processes we use and applying lean manufacturing prin-ciples to make the workshop more efficient - and to provide the best service quality by ensuring our equipment is reliable. There's an important communications el-ement to the job too: I work closely with Schlumberger's engineering and product centres across the world, because we work globally and any changes in engineering practices must be implemented everywhere. There's never a dull moment: there's a different problem to tackle every day. But there's great support from other parts of the company and a lot of experience and knowl-edge to draw on. To do this job, you need en-ergy and stamina: but if you want to see the world and work with latest technologies in the oil industry it's a good place to be. ??