Unlocking geothermal with seismic

27th May, 2022
The Challenge

The Challenge

While 3D seismic has helped the oil and gas industry unlock the subsurface for decades, its potential to do the same in other businesses, such as geothermal, has remained largely untapped. This is primarily due to cost and complexity.

Like oil and gas, the geothermal industry can use seismic to look for certain geological formations, faults and fractures in the Earth’s crust and make decisions about where to drill.

Understanding the structural geology and stratigraphy of the subsurface is essential in this business.

Knowing where faults and stress fields lie helps a developer decide where to tap into the rock’s natural permeability and optimise well trajectory. The STRYDE system helps users better understand the risks linked to induced seismicity generated by drilling and injection activities.

Geothermal developments are typically located in urban or industrial areas. This introduces additional seismic imaging challenges which are particularly prevalent if attempting to use traditional cabled systems or bulkier nodes. For example, seismic crews and their equipment have limited access in urban environments. Often roads must be closed to allow for vibroseis trucks to shoot and for receiver equipment to be moved around. Additionally, users are more restricted about where they can place receivers. Traditionally, these challenges meant that developers had to compromise on survey geometry, and ultimately seismic quality, by acquiring sparser surveys.

"Our vision is to accelerate seismic acquisition without compromising quality. The proof is that our geothermal clients are incredibly happy with the results they're seeing, STRYDE's technology is taking away much of the risk they would traditionally face. That's why we love STRYDE."

Claudio Strobbia, Founder and Chief Research Scientist, realtimeseismic

The Solution

STRYDE is working with realtimeseismic to change all this. realtimeseismic was founded in 2016 to develop real-time seismic solutions and integrated geoscience products. The team had been aware of our work for some years and was actively looking for mutually beneficial opportunities to work with us in both mature and developing seismic markets.

Claudio Strobbia, Founder and Chief Research Scientist, realtimeseismic says:

"Before STRYDE, there were compromises on survey geometry and seismic quality."

The STRYDE Node™ offers realtimeseismic its geothermal clients the perfect solution for all the challenges that the industry has traditionally faced. Our autonomous nodes are both affordable, very small and extremely light, which means they can be carried into a city in a backpack and deployed almost anywhere without affecting the environment.

Since image quality is critical in managing geothermal risk and cost, realtimeseismic conducted a series of comparison tests to benchmark our Nodes. Those tests showed that thanks to the size and weight advantages, our technology is more efficient than competing nodal systems, without any compromise in data quality. On that basis, realtimeseismic felt confident taking our system out into the field.

Our Head of Processing says:

"It has been an absolute joy to work with Claudio and his team. They are passionate about their mission in the same way that we are and saw the potential of our system as soon as we started talking to them."

Amine Ourabah

Chief Geophysicist


The Result

realtimeseismic has now used STRYDE’s nodal system to conduct several 3D seismic studies for geothermal clients in Europe, using about half the number of crew and vehicles than they used to with the current market-leading nodal system. In one project, RTS was able to shoot a city-based 3D study in just one month, versus the 6-10 months it would have once taken with cables. This is thanks to the flexibility of our nodal system but also the speed at which data can be processed once our nodes are harvested.

"STRYDE are extremely committed, highly qualified scientists and technicians who have helped us do things that simply weren’t possible before. They’ve also enthusiastically accepted every test idea we’ve come up with. There’s a real sense of co-operation and a shared passion to make every project a success. The proof is that our geothermal clients are incredibly happy"

Claudio Strobbia, Founder and Chief Research Scientist, realtimeseismic

We believe in working with our clients in an open, collaborative way. To that end, we’ve encouraged realtimeseismic to give us feedback so that we can keep evolving our system. For example, we’ve made improvements to our tablets to make them more user-friendly in urban environments.

realtimeseismic has also told us that they are impressed with our flexible, agile approach and just how easy it is to use our system. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we posted a set of nodes to help the team keep a US seismic project on track, even though they were unable to send anyone into the field. Instead, realtimeseismic hired a farmer, tractor, and two labourers to deploy and retrieve our nodes from the farmer’s field!

The geothermal industry has been constrained by cost for decades. But our ongoing work with realtimeseismic is proving that with the right technologies, 3D seismic acquisition can be affordable, fast and high quality, offering new seismic opportunities to previously under-served industries.

Amine Ourabah, Chief Geophysicist

STRYDE's Head of Processing says:

"We were very impressed with realtimeseismic’s capabilities and eagerness to learn about our technology and eventually embrace it for their seismic projects."

How can STRYDE’S seismic acquisition help me?