A View on Future OBS Surveying

De Kok, R.

Extended abstracts H013, 73rd EAGE Conference.
Vienna Austria,23-27 May 2012


In spite of considerable advances in Ocean Bottom System (OBS) acquisition, recorded data generally still lack consistency. Also, efficiency of deployment of in-water equipment remains relatively low. Certain methods, such as planted nodes do have the potential to deliver quality data, but deployment is costly and time consuming. More efficient methods, using cables do not provide optimal coupling. Recent developments in micro-electronics, sensors and batteries allow for prolonged data recording in small autonomous nodes. This clears the way for a new generation of smart surveying techniques enabling both efficiency and accuracy To illustrate the possibilities that may open up with next generations smart systems, the concept of a Self Coupling Autonomous Node (SCAN) is presented here. A SCAN unit is a slim device designed to free fall rapidly through the water column, then impact and penetrate the seabed. After penetration, the sensors are separated from the main unit to improve coupling. Dedicated navigation enables steering of the nodes to their desired positions. The smart nodes are recovered by means of floating bags, activated on remote command. It is estimated that efficiency and costs of future OBS surveying methods can be decreased significantly and arrive at standard marine surveying levels.