Rich Tabaka, founder and President of Allied Resource Partners, always uses his entrepreneurial and proactive mindset whenever looking for “best practices” that will increase company and partners’ return on investments. And that’s why he wants you to know enough about 3-D Seismic; just like Allied is “leading the way” for how today’s oil and gas investors want to do business, 3-D Seismic does the same for today’s O&G professional geologists and engineers. And what better way than for Kwame Cyril, our Creative Director, to interview Rich so he can tell you in his own words. So, without further ado, here’s what he’d like to say to you.
K.C.: Oil patch people in the know have heard about 3-D Seismic. Why have they, and why is Allied Resource Partners interested in it?
R.T.: The hunt for domestic onshore oil and gas reservoirs is more important now than ever. Allied knows where to look for opportunity: Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, because they hold the most prolific American reserves. More to the point, proven undeveloped reserves known as PUDs, left behind by the major oil companies because they didn’t fit their economic models. But they fit ours if we can pinpoint their locations.”
K.C.: And 3-D Seismic helps us do that?
R.T.: It sure does. Our consulting geologists use the latest computer hardware and software to tell us where to drill and how deep, and how much oil and gas we’re likely to recover.
K.C.: Have we already been using it?
R.T.: When I launched our business, I made sure our geologists were using 3-D Seismic when we purchased our leases, and the results prove its accuracy. All our wells struck oil! And we have subsequently used 3-D Seismic when acquiring additional lease acreage that extends our success in Kansas. I’ve been onsite when seismic crews are shooting, its exciting to see how “High Tech and High Touch” come together in our 21st century oil patch. That phrase was coined in John Naisbitt’s 1982 best seller, Megatrends.
K.C.: How did you learn about it?
R.T.: From reading and talking with our consulting geologists, and by watching seismic crews in action. The science and computer technology supporting it comes from a synergy between under sea or outer space exploration and computerized acquisition and analysis of data signals. Think of it this way: Astronomers and astrophysicists and NASA engineers collect data from outer space and analyze it to come up with better theories or results. Petroleum geologists collect data from under the ground and analyze it to come up with O&G reserves and locations to drill.
K.C.: What does the process look like?
R.T.: The start of the movie Jurassic Park gives us a peek. In it, archaeologists set off a small explosive that sent seismic waves into the Earth. Sensors picked up reflected waves and sent them to a computer for processing and presenting an image on a computer screen. For oil and gas purposes, picture it like this. A seismic crew places in a parallel-perpendicular grid pattern on the ground a set of signal collectors called geophones. The collectors are called hydrophones when searching offshore. The engineers calculate distance and spacing. After that, a thumper truck – it’s called a seismic vibrator or vibroseis truck– drives around, striking a large weight in different locations on the ground to generate seismic waves that flow into the ground and then are reflected back by underground geologic structures and picked up by sensors that send signals to computers. The structures we’re looking for are rock formations containing oil and gas. The computer software draws on a computer screen, or on graph paper, a three-dimensional image of rock formations. And please remember, the oil is not in an underground pool. Rather, it is trapped in tiny pores found in the reservoir rock. I’ve seen core samples taken from PUDs. Geologists sometimes joke that getting oil out of a reservoir is like squeezing blood from a turnip. The enormous underground pressure forces the oil from the microscopic pores into the wellbore.
K.C.: Would you tell us a bit more about the technology?
R.T.: Sure. Most people have heard about SONAR, which is an acronym for sound navigation ranging, and RADAR, which stands for radio detection and ranging. For our discussion, we focus on sound waves sent into the ground. They carry sound energy that will reflect off different boundary layers in the Earth. Different layers have different characteristics, such as hardness, density, porosity, electromagnetic conductivity and resistance, and so on and so forth. The layers containing oil and gas have different characteristics than the layers enclosing them. And when sound waves cross a boundary to layers containing hydrocarbons, they get reflected back to the geophones that pick up the signals and transmit them to a computer. Even the best geologists can’t interpret the raw data, but the software can. It knows what patterns pick up oil and gas reservoirs. If you don’t have any questions on what I just covered, I’ll drill deeper into the technology.
K.C.: Nice pun! Please go on.
R.T.: Twenty years ago we had 2-D Seismic. It used only one line of geophones that picked up reflected sound waves. It gave a two-dimension cross section of what was below the line. As American Oil Patch technology – it leads the world – progressed, it added an entire series of parallel geophone lines. The end result is a picture of what’s inside a volume of Earth. I watched a video that compared the volume to a large slice of cake. And if you’re looking for puns, you’ll find one in the narrator’s description. He said 3-D Seismic is a piece of cake.
KC.: Is that the latest technology today?
R.T.: No, you’ll also hear about 4-D, where the fourth dimension is time. The idea is pretty much what you’d expect. You shoot the 3-D Seismic over a period of time. The results can help petroleum engineers optimize production rate and determine when and where workover can help boost production. And all this can reduce lease operating expenses and boost our bottom line, which we share with our partners.
KC.: Do you or anyone in our core management team actually interpret the data?
R.T: No. We partner with the best consulting petroleum geologists and engineers. They are the experts. And we use their recommendations to do what our management team does best: run Allied Resource Partners the way today’s oil and gas investors expect.
KC.: That sounds good, and I think our existing or prospective partners will like reading this interview.
R.T.: I hope so! And they are invited to call us to learn more about the oil patch, Allied Resource Partners, and our latest investment opportunities.
K.C.: On behalf of everyone who reads this interview, thanks for sharing. At Allied Resource Partners, we’re “Leading The Way!”