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China set to dominate deep-sea exploration

China’s new leading technology is set to revolutionise Oil and Gas deep-sea exploration

By Eslam Emam

The exploration vessel, Haiyang Shiyou 720 by kees torn via Flikr

It is often taken for granted that every day, new leading technology is born in the Oil and Gas field, especially with the fast development of exploration devices. However, this latest step means we could soon launch previously unimaginable Oil and Gas explorations in deep-water environments.

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has completed a map and collected data for the first 3,000-meter stratigraphic structure. The map covers an area of 2,500 square kilometres, located about 500 kilometres from the south of Zhuhai city in Guangdong (a Chinese province). This map is a significant breakthrough in developing deep-sea coring and mapping ability, as it has allowed CNOOC to do a preliminary determination of the area’s oil and gas potential despite its depth. The company achieved this by using revolutionary technology, developed and manufactured in China, called "Haijing". This exploration technology can record accurate stratigraphic maps for seabed geology up to 3,500 meters deep, with a higher degree of identification and reliability than ever.

How does the system work? The secret is the new cables. During a one-month offshore trip, a giant deep-water geophysical exploration vessel, Haiyang Shiyou 720, deployed ten submarine cables of the "Haijing" system. Hydrophones have been developed to have ultra-high sensitivity, which can detect even weak signals reflecting from the seabed for up to ten thousand metres under sea level. Components have also been developed and changed for the cables, so they adjust the distance between themselves to avoid collision and maintain the balance under the sea - increasing the data’s quality. For example, using substantial technology, they have included an ultra-low noise acquisition circuit and a vastly improved signal detector. The hydrophones were, therefore, able to capture the acoustic energy transmitted by seismic waves through the water, which, after being transformed into electric signals, were used to successfully collect the seismic data of the seabed, which was then developed into six-metre segments of stratigraphic interpretation maps.

China's breakthrough core equipment has been nicknamed "sea pulse" by its benefactors, and this new technology will undoubtedly allow China to dominate the Oil and Gas field’s deep-sea exploration for decades.


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