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Interview

with Marianne Lefdal, VP Geomarkets Norway, CGG Veritas

28.03.2013 / Energyboardroom

CGG’s recent historic acquisition of Fugro’s Geoscience division transformed CGG into a fully integrated geoscience company. How has this acquisition reinforced CGG’s position in Norway?

This acquisition reinforced our focus on Norway, increasing our staff and giving us better recruitment capabilities from our offices in Bergen and Oslo. Furthermore, we added four new 3D vessels to our worldwide fleet instead of having to commission new builds, and we strengthened our position in geology and reservoir geoscience in a fast growing high-end reservoir market, defining us as a fully integrated geoscience company.

CGG is a truly global company, with a strong global footprint. Today, CGG has more to offer our Norwegian clients, with a stronger fleet and strengthened multi-client (MC) presence in Norway. We are focused on increasing our presence on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) and delivering greater value to our customers.

The North Sea constitutes one of the most advanced markets for MC and is the home ground for TGS – global leader in multi-client. How important is it for CGG to be present and competing in this market?

TGS exists simultaneously as our client, competitor and partner both in Norway and globally. I would rather view the competition with TGS as co-existence. However, competing with TGS is no different from competing with other geophysical players. From the client’s perspective, a company’s size or culture will not influence their decision to acquire products or services.

We aim to differentiate our multi-client services through our cutting-edge technology, the high quality of our data, and the basins we target in order to strengthen our ability to meet our clients’ requirements.
We have access to a highly competent team of geologists and geophysicists, which was reinforced after the Geoscience acquisition. Our experience on the Norwegian Continental Shelf has over the years given us the means and flexibility to adapt our services and resources to meet any client demand.

In addition, CGG has developed many interesting high-end technologies that we are applying to both proprietary and multi-client surveys. For instance, BroadSeisTM and BroadSourceTM are innovative broadband technologies that are recognized by the industry for bringing and adding value to seismic data. With our recent developments in broadband seismic technology, new areas on the UK shelf have already been prospected using this technology and we have just launched a new BroadSeis survey in Halten Norway. Internationally, in the Gulf of Mexico, we are using our next-generation StagSeis TM acquisition and imaging solution to deliver the very best seismic images of complex structures such as the subsalt structures of the Gulf of Mexico.

With the launch of the recent BroadSeis survey in Halten Norway, how did your Multi-client capabilities evolve?

As I just mentioned, BroadSeis is a broadband marine solution that not only improves our multi-client capabilities, it reinforces our expertise in proprietary seismic data acquisition. BroadSeis works with ultra-low frequencies, and is capable of providing a much clearer image than conventional solutions, in a wide range of environments.
A prominent Norwegian client, for example, has been using different broadband techniques such as BroadSeis and BroadSource and presented the value these techniques bring to exploration at a number of technology conferences.

What roles will multi-client play in opening the Barents Sea?

Since the early developments in seismic data in Norway, multi-client has always been at the forefront. Multi-client made it possible to cover Norway’s large amount of territory more quickly and gave a larger number of companies immediate access to subsurface data. Regarding the discovery of new areas, as a geoscience company we have been sharing the risk with our clients and the government.

With seismic companies acting as “basin hunters”, and prospecting new potential areas, how much political risk are they importing into their business, given that decisions on where companies can drill are subject to social and environmental pressures?

When it comes to the co-existence with other industries and environments, this is a challenge that we as an industry have to bear. Norway has many sensitive areas where fishing resources are substantial and must remain protected. However, a certain amount of risk must be accepted as our country harbors reserves of fossil fuels on which we are dependent. The world is highly dependent on energy, and whether we are dealing with renewable energies or hydrocarbons, they all imply an impact on the environment, which we must minimize as far as possible.

As a company, our policy is only to take part in sustainable activities. The future that Norway wants demands a consistent and sustainable approach.

If basin hunting is to be qualified as an unsustainable business, then it will simply disappear.

Moving up into sensitive areas in the Barents Sea and the Arctic, we are aware of the role we must play there, which is understanding the subsurface. Knowledge and understanding of what is underground will be the key to releasing the resources that are available. For instance, exploring east Greenland is extremely difficult from an environmental point of view, primarily because of the presence of ice. Nevertheless, with new technological developments, and looking at what we have been able to achieve over the years, any reserve at some point in time will be exploitable with even greater precautions than today.

As we know, certain oil companies are helping the industry to define the new technological challenges while maintaining a strong focus on sustainable developments. Through the use of integrated operations, it could be possible to control all operations from onshore, and hence minimize drilling operations offshore.

As a highly regulated and visible industry, we must make sure that we operate with the safest standards, taking a high level of precautions to protect the environment, and developing our technologies to reduce the environmental impact.

In this part of the world, there are the resources available to conduct R&D and develop new technologies. Governments, political organizations, the oil and gas industry and others are willing to cooperate and develop the right methods and tools to ensure sustainable operations. The industry’s main concern will be to understand how we can develop the right technology to take even greater care with the environment and move into the really sensitive areas such as Lofoten, the Barents Sea and the Arctic.

Given the changes brought about by the Fugro Geoscience acquisition and the growing potential you see in multi-client for unlocking the Barents Sea, what would you like to accomplish on behalf of CGG in the near-term?

I feel rewarded to have been given many different opportunities at CGG. As a global company, the possibilities are exponential, and I consider it my role to raise the profile of our capabilities in Norway.

Today, most of CGG’s portfolio in Norway is based on marine activities. We have of course our vessel fleet of five to six vessels in Norway depending on the season.

However, we also have a high-end subsurface imaging center in Oslo, which is delivering market-leading imaging services for reservoir data from Permanent Reservoir Monitoring (PRM) operations. We are continuing to work on the multi-year Life-of-Field Seismic (LoFS) program for which we were awarded both the seismic data acquisition and processing. The program is being acquired with a four-component (4C) fiber-optic permanent reservoir monitoring (PRM) solution, deploying 16,000 Sercel OPTOWAVETM ocean-bottom channels.

In the future, we aim to expand our multi-client business, as well as our reservoir activity with 4D technology and PRM for marine activities. With our seabed joint venture with Fugro, we will also step up our seabed monitoring with PRM and finally we will develop our efforts in R&D, mainly focusing on 4D.

We also aim to stay fully focused on increasing our presence on the NCS, and to take part in supporting Norway’s next era of oil and gas in the Barents Sea.

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