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Seismic data goes digital

Optimising precompetitive data.

Figure 1 2D seismic lines and 3D seismic surveys in South Australia.
Figure 1 2D seismic lines and 3D seismic surveys in South Australia.

Petroleum exploration in South Australia has led to the acquisition of over 90 3D seismic surveys and more than 17,000 2D seismic lines throughout the state (Fig. 1).

All petroleum licensees are required to submit any seismic or well data that they acquire to the government. The data is initially kept confidential, but after a legislated period of time (generally two years from the end of survey acquisition) it becomes open file and publicly available.

As custodian of the state’s vast legacy of seismic data, by mid 2017 the Department for Energy and Mining held approximately 1,800 tapes containing both field and processed data. The majority of the data was on obsolete tape types (including a few 1960s vintage 9-track tapes) and there was a significant and increasing risk of data loss caused by tape deterioration.

A project was initiated in late 2017 to copy the entire seismic data collection onto LTO6 media (the current industry standard), complemented by a digital copy stored on hard drive by the department. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

An added benefit of the project has been the ability to fast-track requests for open-file seismic data using the hard-drive library (since tapes no longer have to be sent offsite to be read).

Phase 2

In recent years, a limited amount of seismic data has been made available for direct download via SARIG. Generally, these consisted of the best fully-processed dataset for each 2D line or 3D volume.

Phase 2 of the tape transcription project involves the upload of the entire data-volume into the cloud and will also make South Australia’s entire open-file seismic data catalogue of both field data and processed data available for direct download via SARIG, ensuring 24/7 customer access. Subject to funding, it is hoped that this phase will be completed in 2019.

– Iain Campbell, December 2018

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