New Technology Could Revolutionize Oil Exploration
Source: Keith Schaefer, Oil & Gas Investments Bulletin (5/26/10)
Resonance coupling uses satellite data to detect oil or gas underground. . .matches oil to oil at a molecular level.
Robert Fisher, CEO of Leaf and Stone Resonance Services Inc. in Saskatoon, uses a process called resonance coupling that he says can tell if there is oil and/or gas on a property, onshore or offshore.
To date, he has mostly used the technology to help find mineral formations; Fisher says it's good for finding gold, and for kimberlite pipes, the geological host for diamonds.
Fisher says his Texas-based partner, David Carr, developed and tested resonance coupling in oil and gas for 21 months in the Permian Basin in Texas. Fisher's Leaf and Stone is a marketing company for the technology. To date, they have had one commercial success with oil—the delineation of a heavy oil field near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.
The technology costs $100 per acre; and with oil companies paying up to $4,000 per acre in land costs for big resource plays in Canada (Cardium, Bakken, etc.), it could end up saving companies millions of dollars in exploration.
Resonance coupling is basically matching oil to oil at a molecular level. "Every molecule has a unique resonance," Fisher said in a recent interview. "We figured out how to measure it and how to match it. The hydrogen atom has one electron in orbit—which puts it off balance. It vibrates in its own unique way.
"Oil has a unique resonance. Since oil is a liquid, it absorbs materials from the surrounding reservoir whereas natural gas does not. Different samples of oil have their own unique resonance, whereas gas does not."
Fisher, who hails from Saskatoon, says that he must have a sample of oil from the property to match it with his proprietary technology. He has to get the molecular structure set to find it again in the ground. He explains how the technology works:
"We use data from commercial satellites, as they capture the range of spectrum that we need to do our resonance technology. We are buying regular data; but we don't use the visual light spectrum.
"We determine the land area to be surveyed and then figure out the acquisition cost of data. We quote the client, sign the contract and in six to eight weeks we get the data back from the satellite company. We use the Earth Resource Satellites, which do the earth in 11–14 days, so it can take up to four weeks to get data, and another four weeks to process data."
Fisher says that client gets a visual picture of the data. Points are plotted along a vector, and each point says no oil, no oil, no oil, oil, oil, no oil, no oil, etc.—clients can connect the dots among the many vectors to see the oil pool.
He says energy companies should still use 3D seismic, which shows structures which may contain oil—but 3D can't tell if the oil is there. Fisher says his technology can, but it doesn't show if the reservoir characteristics would be economic.
Carr says the technology works best with hydrocarbons to find more in a field that has already been discovered. "You can't use it as pure exploration for new fields," he says. "You need a sample from an existing well to match to a pattern."
Fisher says they also have a scale, going from one-to-six, in which they tell the client how much oil is there. "Anything under 2.5 will have oil, but not in commercial quantities," Fisher says.
Now, there are a couple ethical issues here—what if I want to see what my neighbor has on his property?
"The technology is so powerful that we have decided not to survey other people's ground," says Fisher. "You have to show us you own the land or have an option to own it. A discussion of the ethics of testing land not owned results in no winners."
But any crown land anywhere in the world is fair, he says. And that opens up A LOT of possibilities for the industry, worldwide.
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Oil Exploration Could Be Revolutionized Worldwide with This New Technology