3D seismic exploration of oil fields at the edge of the French Pyrenees

In a predominantly agricultural region right in the South-West of France, Essen based DMT GmbH & Co. KG is currently performing a 3D seismic survey on behalf of the Canadian oil and gas producer Vermilion Energy Inc. Alongside the technical and organisational aspects, a particular challenge they are faced with is not to impact local environment and disturb local residents.


The survey is being carried out in the department of “Pyrénées-Atlantique” (concession of Vic-Bilh), which lies North of the town of Pau and is heavily influenced by wine-growing and other agricultural activities. Vermilion Energy Inc., who has been active in France since 1997, is now looking to optimise conventional oil production from the existing Vic Bilh oil field. Due to the complicated nature of the rock strata, previous projects carried out in 1977 and 1984 failed to deliver sufficient information about the structure and formation of the subsoil and subsequently the potential oil yield.
“DMT is responsible for the surveying and data acquisition", explained Rüdiger Misiek, who is heading the project on DMT's side. "In order to “see” the 35 km² target area at depths between 2,000 and 3,500 meters our surveying will cover a total area of 92 km² at ground level. The surveying will commence in mid-July and will last two months.
The exploration is being performed using the so-called vibroseis method, in which sound waves produced by vibrators, in this case type AHV 4, are sent into the subsoil and the reflected waves recorded by geophones at the surface. The geophones are microphones protected from water and dirt which are positioned in the ground in a predefined grid. Underground geological structures can then be determined based on the time delay of the "echoes" produced.
"It's inevitable that this kind of geological exploration causes some interference for the local residents and the environment, but thanks to our highly-experienced specialists and the latest technology we are able to keep any encroachment to a minimum", said Misiek. He added, "This is a commitment to our customers that we clearly demonstrated in our last successfully completed project in Spain. We hope that through our combination of practical experience and wide-ranging expertise we can further improve our market position in southern Europe".
"The Exploration & Geosurvey Division at DMT doesn't only specialise in areas of intensive agricultural use", explained Bodo Lehmann, Division Head. "Our reference list also covers projects in city centres and vast open spaces, areas with lakes or watercourses (the so-called Transition-Zone) as well as offshore projects".

Contact and further information:

DMT GmbH & Co. KG
Exploration & Geosurvey Division
Dr. Rüdiger Misiek
Am Technologiepark 1
45307 Essen
Phone: +49 201 172-1923
Fax: +49 201 172-1971

Download the press release Seismic Exploration France