Electromagnetic Geological Mapper (EMGeo) enables energy exploration companies to identify the type of fluid present (oil, gas, water, brine) in a reservoir under the ocean floor, avoiding the lost time, money, and unrecoverable labor costs of an unsuccessful drill.
Problem: Seismic imaging data can locate hydrocarbon reservoirs under the ocean floor but cannot identify specifically if oil, gas, water, or brine is stored in the reservoirs. Oil and gas companies risk significant losses—up to $100 million and six months of unrecoverable labor costs—if a drill is not successful. Locating and securing energy resources is also critical to meeting the nation’s energy independence goals.
Solution: Researchers in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed a technology, Electromagnetic Geological Mapper (EMGeo), to interpret seismic images alongside extremely large data sets of electromagnetic measurements and yield high resolution, 3D maps of deep water hydrocarbon reservoirs and their surrounding features. EMGeo outperforms competitors and enables users to analyze geophysical data and make critical decisions in-house, further lowering oil exploration costs. The LBNL researchers continue to add features based on user feedback.
Technology Transfer: EMGeo has been licensed to 10 companies including some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies – Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil –and Rock Solid Images, a geosciences consulting firm, over the last five years. As a result, EMGeo has contributed to the energy security of the United States, reduced environmental degradation caused by unnecessary drilling, and saved valuable time and millions of dollars in energy exploration costs.
Sponsors: DOE’s Office of Science – Basic Energy Sciences funded the research, which was further developed with the aid of powerful supercomputers at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) a DOE user facility. A recent upgrade was sponsored by Chevron in a Work for Others agreement.