The market for seismic services in North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 2.11% during the forecast period of 2020 – 2025. Increasing exploration activities in unconventional reserves are one of the major factors driving the market during the forecast period. Also, drive for higher quality data using 4D for improved reservoir performance is expected to drive the market, as 4D seismic is a well-established technology, and it is making a valuable contribution to the production and development of hydrocarbons around the world. On the other hand, the sharp decline in oil prices, resulting in spending cuts and project delays across the world, especially in the oil and gas sector is expected to restrain market growth.
- The offshore segment accounts for the largest share in the seismic services market owing to the data that has much higher quality, due to several favorable conditions, when compared with onshore.
- The development of deepwater and ultra-deepwater water reserves can create significant opportunities for the seismic services market in the future.
- United States is expected to witness significant demand during the forecast period, owing to the increased investment in exploration and development, especially in ultra-high-pressure, high temperature (HPHT) technologies and projects present in the country.
Key Market Trends
Offshore Segment to Dominate the Market
- Offshore seismic data usually have a much higher quality compared to that of onshore, due to a number of favorable conditions, including repeatable and consistent sources, good conditions for coupling at sources and receivers, and the uniform property of water as the medium. However, offshore seismic data may have noise sources, especially multiple reflections, and most 3D offshore seismic surveys have much narrower azimuthal coverage than their onshore counterparts.
- North America witnessed increasing offshore exploration in the regions, such as the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). GoM has widespread untapped resources, which creates opportunities for oil and gas exploration companies. Thus, explorations in this region drive the seismic services market.
- During 2018, BP developed a technology called Wolfspar seismic, which uses low-frequency waves to see deeper below salt layers and identify untapped resources of oil and gas. During 2019, BP uncovered new resources in its Gulf of Mexico operations, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil at its Thunder Horse field and an additional 400 million barrels of oil at the Atlantis field, with the help of Wolfspar seismic technology.
- Recent discoveries in offshore Mexico are estimated to be much larger than recent finds in the United States GoM, at comparable depths. Such factors have been attracting foreign companies to invest in Mexico’s oil and gas exploration sector, and in turn, driving the demand for seismic services.
- The offshore oil and gas sector is offering a better market for seismic service compared to the onshore oil and gas sector in Canada. In 2018, Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board offered exploration license for 16 parcels, totaling 3,941,046 hectares in the Eastern Newfoundland Region, and one in the Jeanne d’Arc Region.
- Therefore, the above-mentioned factors such as new oil and gas discoveries and approval for seismic testing are expected to drive the seismic services market in North America over the forecast period.
United States Driving the Market Demand
- In the United States, the exploration activities were at a low level, following the oil price collapse during 2014. Upstream oil and gas companies turned their focus to conserve cash and invest in low risk, lower cost, and shorter cycle projects, such as shale reserves. Though the prices have recovered considerably till 2019, exploration activities continued to grow at a moderate rate, with a handful of explorers taking advantage of low service costs for drilling, while others were lining up their plans.
- During the beginning of 2018, the Trump administration allowed new offshore oil and gas exploration and development activity, in nearly all the United States coastal waters, opening more than a billion acres in the Arctic, and along the Eastern Seaboard.
- However, the plan has been stalled for several months, mainly due to protests from several states blocking Donald Trump’s order, to lift a ban on energy leasing in Arctic waters. Such a scenario has held the potential growth of seismic services in the country, especially in the offshore sector. After months of delay in November 2018, the Trump administration announced that it had approved seismic testing for oil and natural reserves, along the United States East Coast.
- In the onshore sector, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in November 2018, announced the Wolfcamp Shale, New Mexico’s Permian Basin and overlying Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of Texas, which contain an estimated mean of 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 46.3 billion barrels of oil, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquid. This is expected to create a significant demand for seismic services in the coming years, as oil and gas operators seek to exploit the unexplored areas.
- Therefore, based on the above-mentioned factors, United States is expected to have a positive impact on the seismic services market during the forecast period.
The North America seismic services market is fragmented. Some of the major players includes Halliburton Company, Schlumberger Ltd, CGG SA, Fugro NV, and ION Geophysical Corporation.
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