Geology and geophysics
In searching for crude oil and natural gas, RWE Dea employs many different state-of-the-art methods for taking geoscientific measurements.
Among them, reflection seismics ranks as the most important of the geophysical methods. Here, artificially generated seismic waves bounce off the boundaries between different subsurface layers and travel back to the surface, where they are registered by special recording equipment. The signals recorded in this way are then used to construct detailed 3D images of the subsurface structure down to a depth of several kilometres. By interpreting the layers and fault lines depicted using reflection seismics, geologists are able to understand the tectonic and sedimentological history of the structures being investigated and identify potential trap formations that may contain oil and gas reservoirs.
By combining geological analyses of structures and special seismic methods of evaluation, geologists and geophysicists are able to pinpoint potential hydrocarbon reservoirs underground and predict both the structural characteristics and the extent of the reservoirs. In addition, specially developed geophysical methods to measure properties such as electrical conductivity, magnetism and gravity provide additional information about subsurface rock formations.
Research activities at RWE Dea cover both the ongoing further development and improvement of existing methods as well as the identification and testing of new and innovative exploration techniques. The company’s geoscientific expertise is maintained and further enhanced through joint research projects with internationally recognised consortia such as the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah.
Research at RWE Dea also means investigating the suitability of various geoscientific methods for monitoring short-term and long-term changes within a reservoir for the purpose of making reliable predictions about a reservoir's commercial viability. When planning extensive flow stimulation measures, such as multi-stage “fracs” within the same borehole, it is important to prevent negative mutual interaction between the artificially created fracture zones and the extensive monitoring of the subsurface activities.