Leading the Resolution Revolution
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P-Cable Technology from NCS SubSea

The P-Cable technology and its unique operational methods were invented by P-Cable 3D Seismic to provide extremely detailed ultrahigh-resolution images of the seafloor subsurface. P-Cable technology has been applied to a variety of targets, ranging from marine exploration, site surveys, and geohazard assessment to 4D marine seismic imaging and applied marine geology. This compact, flexible offshore exploration cable combined with robust technology, makes P-Cable the top choice for a multitude of marine seismic industry applications including offshore exploration, deepwater industry surveys, carbon capture and sequestration projects, and marine geologic studies.

P Cable 3D seismic as data provides detailed horizontal imaging of fractures and faults. This figure shows polygonal faults visible as dark lines on a time slice through a P-Cable 3D cube. The data is compared with a time slice from conventional 3D marine seismic acquisition data where the faults are completely absent due to spatial aliasing. Both datasets are processed using TGS’s Clari-Fi™ technique for broadband frequency content and enhanced resolution.

Patented P-Cable Technology
Industry Leader In Marine Seismic Imaging

The P-Cable system’s main component is a cross-cable towed perpendicular to the sailing direction of the vessel (hence P-Cable). The cross-cable is spanned by two paravanes typically 150-300 meters apart. The cross-cable provides power and communication to a number of closely-spaced, short offset streamers. The streamers are typically connected to takeouts at either 6.25- or 12.5-meter intervals along the cross-cable. Group spacing of the active sections varies between 1.5625 to 6.25 meters with a group length of only 1.4 meters.

For more than a decade, NCS SubSea and P-Cable 3D Seismic AS have been using P-Cable technology to participate in the collection of more than 85 surveys totaling over 3,600 square kilometers of ultrahigh-resolution (UHR) 3D seismic data. These commercial and research surveys have been acquired from arctic and tropical latitudes, and over 100 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts have been published based on these data.

Patents – P-Cable and associated technology and method patents and intellectual property.

Surveys – P-Cable surveys conducted worldwide by industry and research institutions.

Publications – P-Cable data published by our company, researchers, and collaborators.

P-Cable Achieves Ultrahigh Resolution Seismic Data

The short offsets and dense streamer spacing of P-Cable equipment result in dense CMP coverage with bin sizes as small as 3.125 or 1.5625 meters. Combined with a high-frequency seismic source, the effective vertical and spatial resolution is significantly increased compared to conventional broadband seismic technology data. Compared to broadband-processed conventional 3D marine seismic, the resolution achieved with the P-Cable offshore exploration cable is as much as four times better in terms of spatial resolution.

P-Cable Ultrahigh Resolution (UHR) 3D seismic data reveals incredible detail and provide superior marine seismic imaging of potential hydrocarbon reservoirs. This figure shows a complexly faulted Cretaceous overburden above a thin Jurassic sandstone reservoir in the Barents Sea. The P-Cable data are compared with conventional 3D marine seismic data – both datasets are processed with TGS Clari-Fi™.


P-Cable Calculator

Our custom-built P-Cable acquisition calculator tool will let you quickly assess the impact of survey geometry variations by adjusting basic survey parameters to determine the optimum tradeoff between spatial sampling, survey efficiency, and fold of coverage.

Economical, Versatile Acquisition & Processing of Marine Seismic Data

P-Cable technology provides economical and versatile operations for the acquisition and processing of marine seismic data and surveys. Several different target areas may be acquired in a single survey by combining different acquisition modes of the P-Cable system. The P-Cable offshore exploration cable can be used for both ultrahigh-resolution (UHR) 3D acquisition and 2D regional surveys. The 3D acquisition gives ultrahigh-resolution 3D data volumes in selected areas. When used for 2D, the wide-azimuth illumination and high-fold lead to crisp, detailed ultrahigh-resolution 2D marine seismic profiles. By combining these modes, P-Cable can be used for both prospecting and exploration during the same survey. This both lowers survey expenses and illuminates the geological environment at different scales with unprecedented resolution.


Program map for TGS Multiclient P-Cable data acquired offshore Norway in 2014 and 2015 with a combination of regional 2D lines and targeted 3D data volumes.


Lightweight, Flexible Seismic Cable for Survey Planning

To date, our lightweight, P-Cable systems have been deployed from more than 25 different vessels. The unique cross-cable design enables quick deployment of the complete spread of eighteen streamers, requiring a relatively small crew on the back deck of the survey vessel. The seismic cable system is designed for operation on medium-sized vessels. P-Cable technology delivers both cost-effective operations and flexible seismic survey planning in a multitude of seismic cable solutions.

Seismic crew preparing for a P-Cable UHR3D survey off the West African coast.


Aerial view of P-Cable spread showing the compact spread dimensions and closely-spaced streamers. For this configuration there are eighteen 100-meter long streamers separated by 12.5 meters in the crossline for a total spread width slightly over 200 meters.

High-Density Near
Zero Offset Data

The P-Cable seismic system is a versatile tool for acquisition of ultrahigh resolution (UHR) 3D data; time-lapse or 4D reservoir studies; and wide-swath regional 2D profiles. By focusing on the collection of near zero offset data at a very fine temporal sampling interval, we collect high trace-density marine seismic data, imaging the subsurface with up to four times the vertical and horizontal resolution compared to conventional 3D marine seismic data.




Comparison of convention 3D seismic (center) and P-Cable UHR3D seismic (right) to well log data (left). The P-Cable UHR3D data has far superior vertical resolution and clearly delineates the formations of interest.

Outcrop-Scale Resolution

P-Cable can resolve geological structures with outcrop-like resolution due to the high trace-density and small bin sizes, combined with a broad frequency spectrum. P-Cable data are useful for detailed imaging of petroleum reservoirs and overburdened, geotechnical site surveys and geohazard assessments; time-lapse (4D) seismic surveys; marine geological studies; and engineering scale analysis of shallow marine sediments.

Comparison of conventional 3D seismic (top) with P-Cable UHR3D seismic (bottom) from the Barents Sea. P-Cable UHR3D showing “invisible” glacial deposits that could constitute geohazards. Data courtesy TGS, VBPR and WGP.

Applicable Industries for P-Cable Seismic Technology

P-Cable systems are used by industry and academia to acquire Ultrahigh Resolution (UHR) 3D subsurface images in a wide range of applications including:

  • Marine Seismic Reservoir Imaging
  • Site Surveys & Geohazard Assessments
  • Deep Water Reservoir Monitoring
  • Applied Marine Geology
  • Carbon Sequestration / CO2 Storage Sites
  • Time-Lapse (4D) Reservoir Monitoring
  • Platform & Offshore Windfarm Construction
  • Pipeline Surveys