Solutions identified to reduce environmental footprint of seismic oil sands exploration

Two Canadian companies have emerged as winners of an open innovation competition seeking seismic technologies that reduce environmental impacts of oil sands exploration. The competition, funded by Alberta Innovates and organized by Foresight on behalf of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), is part of the ongoing COSIA Land Challenge.

Full Force Geophysical Ltd. has the winning solution and will receive a $10,000 cash prize. OptiSeis Solutions Ltd. is the runner-up, taking home $5,000. Honourable mention goes to a joint submission from Halliburton and Strat-Log Inc.

Competition finalists had the opportunity to pitch their solutions to a panel of judges with representatives from Foresight, Alberta Innovates, and COSIA members. Winners were selected based on a set of criteria that evaluates a solution from multiple perspectives.

The winning solution from Full Force Geophysical Ltd. involves electromechanical vibrators (E-Vibes), which are relatively small in size compared to the current diesel hydraulic vibrators typically used in seismic surveys. With their smaller structure, the E-Vibes are able to produce full bandwidth data while reducing the width of seismic cut lines and remaining compatible with current receiver technologies. 

OptiSeis Solutions Ltd. provided a solution using their seismic acquisition method, EcoSeis, that provides a 30-50% reduction in line clearing. This is achieved by utilizing a unique acquisition geometry optimized for sensitive habitat preservation, high quality subsurface imaging, and safe access throughout the seismic program area.

Halliburton and Strat-Log Inc. earned Honourable mention for their combined solution using fiber optic sensing technologies, strategic fiber positioning in delineation wells, low-impact seismic sources, and imaging with reverse-time migration (RTM) in-depth to accurately image the reservoir. 

“COSIA was pleased about the quality of submissions for this very specific innovation challenge,” says Jack O’Neill, Land Director at COSIA. “The continued commitment of technology development in this space is exciting and vital to achieving near-zero footprint seismic operations that can be safely and effectively implemented.”

The COSIA Land Challenge competition is part of a multi-year program of collaboration, research and testing that encourages innovators from around  the world to be part of the cleantech innovation story in Canada’s oil sands. Reducing boreal forest disturbance from seismic exploration is a priority for COSIA members, and this competition showcases potential technologies that can help accelerate environmental progress of the oil sands industry.”

“This competition demonstrates the value of Industry Challenges that connect corporate leaders facing sustainability hurdles to market-ready cleantech innovators,” says Jacob Malthouse, VP Commercialization at Foresight. “Canada urgently needs to scale our innovation infrastructure. These Challenges demonstrate the benefit of investing in new commercialization marketplaces. ”

Find out more about Foresight’s Innovation Challenges.

Check out other innovation opportunities with COSIA and Alberta Innovates

Written By:

Karen Speirs

Karen Speirs is a communications specialist with experience in journalism, public relations, and corporate communications. Her passion is storytelling; Karen has authored several books and has provided writing services for a broad range of private and public sector organizations. Her most recent role was leading external communications for Best Buy Canada. The BC tech industry figures prominently in Karen’s work experience, including Communications roles with Innovate BC and the Digital Technology Supercluster.

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