What to Know About The Relationship Between Seismic Data Management and The Cloud

Over the past decade, there has been a big shift in the business world — specifically that organizations across different industries have begun to adopt cloud solutions to solve their most pressing issues.


Big oil and gas companies may experience struggles with their internal processes because of outdated generational technology and standards of work — but cloud technology provides an opening for them to retire legacy systems and move toward an infrastructure capable of handling the modern demands of seismic data management.

What Are the Biggest Challenges Around Seismic Data Management?

As information is rarely deleted, oil and gas companies often have historical seismic data that goes back decades; through acquisitions and mergers, some organizations can double the amount of data they collect every two years. In addition, some surveys can result in collecting a petabyte (PB) of information each day. As a result, companies are scrambling to develop narrowly focused, short-term solutions that end up becoming obsolete — leading them to repeat the cycle over and over again.

The sheer volume of seismic data and related attributes makes geophysical data management a huge cost drain for IT departments. To deal with the growing data reserves, companies must shift to a more agile model of storage and processing. That provides organizations the flexibility needed to optimize production and generate more successful discovery strategies for new resources.

That’s hard to do when your primary storage method continues to be network-attached storage (NAS), USB devices, and magnetic tapes. Formats used to house data include SEG-D for field recordings and SEG-Y for any seismic data exchange. SEG-Y, despite its myriad variations, remains the industry standard for seismic data. One issue with SEG-Y is that the file can consist of a huge amount of binary data which slows down  data scanning and puts a significant load on the infrastructure while it goes so..

Oil and gas companies often run into data management issues like:

  • Data duplication
  • Inefficiencies within different storage mediums
  • Lots of manual work needed to reconcile different data sources
  • Incomplete or missing records
  • Inability to get a full view of the data held by an organization

To solve some of the most common data management issues, companies need a way to figure out:

  • What data is held within specific geographical locations
  • How to determine the format, quality, and data type of archived information
  • How to manage missing or insufficient metadata when trying to determine if a set of seismic data meets requirements

Connecting Seismic Data Management and the Cloud

As cloud data storage solutions became more commercially available, oil and gas companies showed increased interest in moving their considerable seismic data volumes over to the cloud. Many recognized the futility of continuing with old, outdated methods of dealing with geophysical data management which has led to a gradual embrace of investing in a long-term strategy to move away from legacy technologies.

The cloud represents a real opportunity for the industry to find ways to make long-standing processes more efficient. It’s also a way for companies to shake off stagnation and develop innovative new ways to leverage seismic data.

With the cloud, businesses in the energy sector no longer need to invest a lot of money in on-premises server management and can use cheaper cloud storage and SaaS solutions for storing, filtering, and managing information.

One of the things holding many companies back from moving to the cloud are security concerns. That’s a big sticking point for energy companies that hold massive amounts of proprietary and sensitive information on their servers. Storing information in a virtual hub compared to a local server makes it easier to create secure cloud storage services.

Benefits of Cloud Solutions for Seismic Data Management

Relying on cloud platforms to support seismic data management empowers oil and gas companies to start using data-driven insights to drive business decisions. Organizations can use analytics tools to process information quickly and make that information available to data scientists and other essential personnel.


In addition, investing in cloud technology to support analytics allows oil and gas companies to tap into:

  • Improved productivity
  • Enhanced safety and security both on and offshore
  • Use of legacy assets to make discoveries
  • More robust loss prevention systems
  • Increased sustainability

Companies turning to cloud platforms find themselves experiencing faster growth, giving them a competitive advantage over businesses continuing to cling to the use of proprietary data centers.

Cost Savings

Companies save money by not having to continuously invest in supporting aging legacy internal servers. Businesses that continue resisting the shift over to cloud platforms risk getting left behind. They’re going to continue spending money trying to keep their data centers up-to-date. As that technology ages, it will inevitably become harder to find personnel capable of servicing it effectively.

Organizations wedded to those legacy systems tend to rely on aging proprietary applications designed to work with specific platforms. Maintaining these applications is expensive and they’re hard to upgrade. As time passes, that organization experiences more business risk because it cannot quickly adapt to industry changes.

Improved Exploration Efficiency

Storing seismic data in the cloud allows energy companies to create analytics that help reduce the uncertainty of locating new data sources. For example, data scientists and analysts can use the data collected within the cloud infrastructure to more accurately manage and ultimately predict which geographical areas have the best chance of yielding new resources. That’s time saved by eliminating places that are likely to end up being a dead end. The data also helps organizations find ways to optimize exploration, digging, and harvesting processes.

Other reasons for energy companies to move toward cloud solutions include:

  • Scalability: Oil and gas companies can expand storage as needed, meaning they don’t have to worry about limits that hinder their seismic data collection efforts.
  • Flexibility: Cloud technology makes it possible for organizations to shift strategies quickly without being held back by the limitations of their storage technology.
  • Improved speed to market: Companies can improve their ability to bring solutions online to help meet production demands for customers around the world.
  • Access to new business models: Storing large volumes of seismic data on enterprise cloud platforms provides energy companies with access to innovative business models that expand an organization’s production and delivery capabilities.

A Cloud-Based Seismic Data Management Solution

Exploration Archives provides oil and gas companies with a comprehensive, dynamic cloud seismic data management solution — all while providing critical personnel with a 360-degree view of all the information collected by your organization. Set up a demo to see for yourself how Exploration Archives’ cloud platform can transform your company.