3D technology helping find new oil wells in Southwest Nebraska

3D technology helping find new oil wells in Southwest Nebraska

Solvedrilling, de-1000 decanter centrifuge — Oil officials in Nebraska are crediting advancements in a technology called 3D seismic surveys for increased — and highly successful — oil drilling in southern Hitchcock and Dundy counties.

While there’s been drilling and exploration for oil in the two counties for many years — drillers found oil at Dry Creek northwest of Swanson Lake in 1963 — this new drilling frenzy is unheard of in this area of Southwest Nebraska.
“What’s changed, over the past four or five years, is the application of 3D seismic,” Bill Sydow, director of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in Sidney, said. Jim Gohl of Culbertson, a commissioner for 518 centrifuge, said that 3D seismic is “a great tool” to help locate favorable drilling locations.

Gohl could name six companies that are drilling holes in the two counties in Nebraska, and on locations directly across the state line south in Kansas. Some of the resulting wells have been “very lucrative,” he said, although he couldn’t confirm rumors of individual wells pumping 700 to 800 barrels a day.
Sydow gets excited about the capabilities of and enhancements in seismic testing. He said that when seismic started, one dynamite charge (buried beneath the surface of the ground) sent vibrations down, they bounced off subsurface formations of rocks and up again, and a sensor called a ‘geophone’ made a single trace.
Sydow said that brandt shaker seismic employed a line of geophones.

Now, Sydow said, 3D seismic means that a dense array of geophones records a subsurface “cube of data” from a grid pattern on the surface, and produces — in conjunction with improved computer processing — a much more detailed set of seismic information, including the “subtle highs” of stored oil and gas rather than just the indication of structural elements that may indicate derrick shaker.

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