How long after seismic do operators begin drilling?

Once they do the seismic activity what is the time frame that it takes for them to decide the best place to drill and start drilling?

Dear Ms Michalec,

First, it depends on how the shoot was financed. If it were a speculative shoot, it will take about (vaies) 8 months or so on the average to get the data processed. Then it may have to be reprocessed based on the well control in the area.

Then it's put on the shelf and the salesman try to sell all or a portion of the surveys.

If the shoot was financed by a group of oil companies, as partners, or an individual company, the above applies, except that the seismic does not sit on the shelf waiting to be sold. Many times, there will be leases purchased prior to exploration that have time running on them, or geophysical options that have time running on them, which can surely affect the timing of exploration.

After about 5 months after the company gets the reprocessed data, they will start having prospects fall out of the data. They will start buying leases as soon as they determine either a strong geologic lead or a prospect.

When the leases have been acquired and the entire (mostly) mapped, then the prospects are ranked as to risk. Most companies will want to drill their less riskier prospects first (picking low hanging fruit). If partners are involved, there may be a bit of back in forth on the ranking methods.

Thank you Buddy. The land around here has been leased for over 3 yrs already and we are now on the 2 yr option of our lease and they have just concluded doing all the seismic testing in the immediate area. From what I understand Conoco holds our lease and those around here in north Lavaca County and the seismic crew told us that Conoco had just hired them to begin all the testing in this area. After almost 4 yrs of waiting it has just been exciting to see activity around here since watching it bloom with wells by EOG an avg of 3 to 5 miles from here going west to Gonzales County. Not sure who is working to the North of us around the Moulton area but they too have wells coming up everywhere. So now that they have concluded seismic we were really curious how long before we knew anything. Appreciate you taking the time to explain above some points to me. I understand what seismic waves are doing when they use those trucks and vibrate and record the data underground - what I don’t know as far as that is what is the range of the seismic waves from the area they are actually vibrating the truck?? I understand it goes down and pings back - but width?? Does it spread to the surrounding area or do the waves just record down where the truck is actually sitting when they operate? When I think of acres and acres of land they are testing was curious to the range of the vibrations where the trucks sit and operate.

Dear Ms Michalec,

Conoco, huh? Did you know that they invented vibroseis?

Vibroseis is one of many (6 or 7) energy sources that can be used to generate energy that creates waves that will reflect or refract off subsurface strata and can be heard by a geophone and sent to the recorder.

Dynamite (or more properly pentonite, a biodegradable form with a high gelatin content), creates a single pulse of energy using a shaped charge that directs most of the energy down. However, there will be a surface wave.

Vibe Units (typically set in groups of 3, synchronized by computer) employ a shaker unit that is put on the ground and then the entire truck is lifted until all the truck weight is placed on the shaker unit. When it is turned on the 3 vibe units synchronize the up and down movements of the shakers, so that they are in phase. A more continuous form of energy is put into the earth and software correlates the returns and converts it into a single pulse.

You can put a glass of iced tea on a shaker unit and it will not tump (you're from Texas so you know that is a real word) over. The Vibroseis method is extensively used in cities or subdivisions where there is a lot of culture (that means water wells and buildings) because more of the energy is directed straight down.

What causes damage to homes is the surface wave. Water and irrigation well damage is caused by the reflection wave.

The seismic contractor will do "test shots" to measure the peak particle velocity (PPV) and make sure that they stay far enough away from culture to do no harm. PPV is a measure of movement of the soil basically over time, such a PPV of .7"/sec.

Never works, though. I know of no shoot around homes where there were not damage claims. However, using Vibroseis will cut down on claims.

Oh, to answer your question, the surface wave on vibe units is not much. The halo on the surface wave can hardly be felt through your boots if you were standing right next to the pad. I have seen in used within 40 yards of a house with no damage to the structure.

Thanks again Buddy - had no idea Conoco had all that to do with this invention.

When they did all the seismic around here we never felt anything - just heard the humming noise coming from the trucks and as you said there were 3 of them hooked together. We are on 16 acres in between land to our north and east of 300 acres and then around a 100 acres to our west were they are testing. When the seismic crew was out here they told us they were starting at the corner of our land and they have done all of the 300 acres to date. The seismic crew told us that usually on smaller acreages they don't necessarily test them for drilling purposes but test the larger acreage and can tell what we have also and would be pooled in - which is why I was curious how far those waves go in telling them what is under our ground when they are across the fence line (about 80 yards from our house) so to speak where they have done the seismic testing.

Ms. Michalec,

I am a new member to this forum and was perusing the discussions and stumbled upon your inquiry about the next step after seismic survey is done. I too have several questions regarding this process. A geophysical company (Dawson Geophysical company /contractor on behalf of TRNCO) sent me a request for permission form to have a seismic done and are offering 500 dollars for total acreage of 40. I am yet to sign this form as it seem so general and did not point out what the next step would be. Where do I stand in this equation after the survey is done (mineral right:;)? This company is also privately owned and the Better Business Bureau site had no information on them. seeking help from anyone. Kindly email me when people reply.