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Largest Moving Object on Earth

26 Mar 2007

The ambitious subsalt Wide Azimuth imaging project in the Gulf of Mexico, known as Crystal, represents an impressive set of record-breaking features and accomplishments. It should come as no surprise that what is needed to accomplish the challenging geophysical objectives is the most massive recording effort to date in the geophysical industry.

The Crystal spread with its 10 streamers at 120 m separation is more than a kilometer wide and more than 8 km long covering a surface area of 8.75 km2 at any time. Moving at a speed of 4.3 knots it is covering a total surface area of 215 km2 per day in full production. It represents the largest moving object on the face of the earth, bigger than any seismic spread ever deployed and bigger than anything else moving on land or at sea.


Deployed in record time it attests to the professionalism and competence of the men and women taking part in this operation. Ramform technology has always been widely acknowledged as the leading industry acquisition solution but seldom has it been so amply demonstrated. Two source vessels provide the seismic energy at different offsets and azimuths to provide the subsurface illumination needed in this complex geological setting.

The listening and recording capacity is impressive. Every 14 seconds 6480 channels are recorded 500 times a second with 4 byte resolution which amounts to 12.96 Mbyte per second, more or less non-stop, amounting to a total of 1.12 Terabyte per day. It captures echoes from the subsurface more than 15 km away, as deep as 10 km into the ground.


As one can imagine, it is a daunting task to put together all these different channels and signals into the data volume which will ultimately give a new and improved picture of the complex subsurface where hydrocarbons can be found. The thousands of computers, the ingenuity of the people developing and applying processing technology can not be underestimated. But it all starts with the Largest Moving Object on Earth.

Ramform Viking’s streamer spread moved to Manhattan Island



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