ACTIVITIES 2019-2020

THE SEISMIC SURVEY PROJECT

Between 2019 and 2020, the company initiated and concluded the first phase of the hydrocarbon exploration project

From March 2019 to April 2020, Maurel & Prom Italia has carried out an important study activity of the subsoil, called “Seismic Survey” aimed at hydrocarbon exploration in an area covering the provinces of Syracuse, Ragusa and Catania (in particular in the Municipalities of Buscemi, Rosolini - later suspended due to the pandemic emergency - Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa, Modica, Giarratana, Comiso, Monterosso Almo, Chiaramonte Gulfi, Mazzarrone, Caltagirone and Licodia Eubea, for a total of about 660 km² of Sicilian hinterland).

The activity has been executed specifically to combine the survey with the peculiarities of the territory involved.
The project adopts a non-invasive scientific method, with vibroseis of low vibrations that generates elastic waves, captured by sensors (called wireless geophones) as large as an orange, placed on the ground. In this way, the image of the geological structure of the subsoil is generated, through mapping.

It is an advanced technology permitting an extremely precise study and, at the same time, having an almost zero environmental impact.
The Sites of Community Importance, Rete Natura 2000 sites, properties far away from cities under constraint due to their cultural importance and the areas crossed by rivers or streams have been completely excluded from the activities.
Moreover, the residential areas and UNESCO sites have not been affected by vibration emission. Finally, all the activities took place tens of km far from the sea.

Maurel & Prom Italia has adopted the values of landscape and cultural heritage preservation, environmental health, biodiversity conservation in the area. Every day, they are totally respected with care and professionalism during all the activities phases.

SURVEY PHASES

THE “PERMITTING” PHASE

The Seismic Survey is an operation in site, so in order to carry out it, M&P Italia has obtained the prior permits to proceed by the owners of the concerned land.
The exploration activities concern an area of about 660 km², as mentioned above. For this reason, it has been necessary to proceed with the identification of the land suitable for the activities and their owners through a map, which represents the product of several instruments.
For this phase of gathering information – called “permitting” in this project – the G.I.S. (Geographic Information System) technology has been used, allowing data from different sources to be brought together in a single territorial analysis project.
The data, divided into layers, have been analysed and crossed in order to create a final image of their geographical position on the earth’s surface. The comparison of the map of the lands under investigation with cadastral data has made possible to identify and reach a large number of parties concerned, but not all. A direct action in the territory, almost door to door, made of word of mouth and direct connections, has helped the aforementioned work. The team devoted to this very important phase of the project has been able to trace back to about 6000 landowners, who, upon their consent, soon would have accepted the passage on their properties of Maurel & Prom Italia technicians and vehicles.
The Seismic Survey project was explained to everyone, pointing out the scientific validity and potential for the territory.
The total safety of operations without an invasive impact was showed with a descriptive video (available at italiamp.com) and with some demonstrations.
Moreover, to increase the protection of the owners, the Company has delivered a complete information sheet containing a chart, in the event of damage, with the possible compensations elaborated by a team of expert agronomists of the territory with the cooperation of the competent authority.
It has been a huge work achieving excellent outcomes, reinforced by the consent to the Seismic Survey gave by all the interested parties.

OPERATIONS IN SITE

The Seismic Survey is carried out in site. The first phase is the topographic survey in order to identify the geophones placement, which are the technical instruments capturing the elastic waves emanated from vibroseis. The second phase is therefore that of their placement. Then, there is the phase of vibroseis passage on the lands where “vibrations” shall be performed. During the fourth phase, called “pick up”, the geophones are collected and brought to the Base Camp where data contained within them are downloaded and analysed.
- Geophone and ground positioning
- A vibroseis performs the ``vibrata``. A geophone is placed in the data collection housing

HOW DO THEY WORK?

There are different Seismic Survey technics, so the use of wireless geophones and vibroseis is based on seismic reflection. Energy is inserted in the ground (1) and the geophone records arrival times (2).

Therefore, there is a recorded starting time and this allows identifying the moment in which the wave comes from one point to another.

No installation of permanent instruments

No earthmoving

Specialized technical personnel

Continuous monitoring of operations

RESULTS

As a medical scan, information is elaborated and an image is produced, the so-called Geophysical Profile.
In particular, it is possible to observe the geological layers of the subsoil, fundamental for the hydrocarbons exploration.
This type of information is of great interest, delivered to the competent authorities of Sicily Region.