HOUSTON -- Successfully finding and extracting hydrocarbons is becoming more challenging in some parts of the world, and devising new technology will become even more crucial in meeting the growing global energy demand.

Australia is no exception.

“One of the really big challenges in supply is both in finding and delineating what reserves we actually got, then working on how we are going to get them out of the ground,” Volker Hirsinger , managing director of Petrosys Pty. Ltd ., said while moderating the technology panel Jan. 30 during the Australian American Chamber of Commerce ’s energy conference in Houston. “In our industry we utilize a huge variety of technology, and we keep having to invent more of it because it is getting harder and harder to get more out of the ground.”

From technology created to get better seismic data to new methods to characterize rock from cuttings during the drilling process, experts recently shared some of the latest techniques being used in the industry. Some of these new technologies are not only improving processes but saving companies millions of dollars.

Developed on Australia’s North West Shelf, an infill management technique called Fresnel Zone binning allows streamers to be fanned out to cover a wider area when shooting seismic and eliminates the need to have more distant streamers as close together. The Apache Corp .-created marine acquisition technique aims to reduce infill.

Mike Bahorich , executive vice president and chief technology officer for Apache (NYSE: APA), compared the seismic problem previously experienced to cutting grass and leaving some behind. “We had the same problem with seismic. We call that infill,” Bahorich said. But Fresnel Zone binning includes only lines that are needed to process certain seismic data. “That is important because it ends up saving you a tremendous amount of money.”

The technology is being used in about half of the boats around the world for a savings of about US$250 million annually, Bahorich said.

CGG (NYSE: CGG), which has a license to use the technology on its 3-D vessels, said analysis using Fresnel Zone binning is instrumental in designing high-resolution surveys for shallow targets. Conventional binning parameters usually don’t account for the zone being smaller than the bin dimension, which results in suboptimal illumination, CGG said on its website. The company also said infill is often reduced by a factor of two or more.

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