A New Oppurtunity for Deep Water Hydrocarbon Exploration

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The price of oil and other minerals may not make the costly business of offshore exploration seem -attractive at present. There is little doubt that the future search for the strategic resources will tend towards deeper waters particularly on the continental slope margins. In addition with the realisation that active tectonic environments (eg the Makassar Straits) cannot be excluded as potential hydrocarbon sources there is an increasing demand by the explorationists for deep water survey capability. Such deep water research has until recently been restricted to a few specialised academic institutions ;however with the anticipated extra, demand from other institutions, companies, and government agencies, Marconi Underwater Systems Limited (MUSL)and the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences in the UK have come together to allow MUSL to provide the deep water mapping system GLORIA on a commercial basis -for the first time. The GLORIA package comprises a deep water(more than 400m) side scan sonar system which, by operating at a frequency around 6.4 kHz can insonify swathes on the seafloor up to 60 km wide. In addition, single channel seismic, 3.5 kHz high resolution profiles, precision echo sounding, magnetic and gravimetric data all combine to provide as complete a regional interpretation as possible. The GLORIA system combines surveying at a reconnaissance level, covering as it does up to 20,000 sq.km per day, with a very high reliability, so that even in- economically unfavourable times, it can-still be considered as an invaluable and cost effective primary exploration tool. Analysis of the GLORIA data enables the identification of areas of particular interest requiring more detailed study by the more costly multi-channel seismics at a later date.
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