HP and Shell develop wireless sensing system for oil exploration

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Hewlett Packard and Shell have agreed to develop a wireless sensing system that will be used to acquire high-resolution seismic data for the oil and gas industry.

According to Cliff Saran of ComputerWeekly, the two corporations are in the process of designing wireless accelerometer sensors, similar to the controllers used in the Nintendo Wii, but a "thousand times more accurate."

The sensors are apparently based on microelectromechanical devices (Mems), which were originally developed for HP print heads.

"These Mems devices have been developed to take electrical signals and convert them to ink droplets," HP spokesperson Rich Duncombe told Computer Weekly.

"Just as in the semiconductor industry, the device can be used for another function."

Gerald Schotman, executive vice president, Innovation/Research and Development, Shell, explained that the oil and gas industry requires high-quality seismic data to accurately assess exploration prospects for commercial viability and to effectively monitor producing reservoirs.

"The [new] system is designed to integrate seamlessly with Shell's high-performance computing and seismic imaging environment and to be deployed safely and more cost-effectively than current systems," said Schotman.

"We think this will represent a leap forward in seismic data quality that will provide Shell with a competitive advantage in exploring difficult oil and gas reservoirs, such as sub-salt plays in the Middle East or unconventional gas in North America."