A Noninvasive Technology for Mapping Underground
|Adrok's ADR technology captures and classifies images by measuring and reading resonate energy responses of materials as they interact with pulsed electromagnetic radio waves.|
The oil and gas and mining industries face increasing pressure to be environmentally conscious. Oil and gas has relied heavily on traditional seismic imaging methods to identify different subsurface structures, while the mining industry has primarily used electromagnetic surveying techniques. Both methods are costly, time-consuming and involve a substantial amount of drilling.
A breakthrough deep subsurface technology for geophysical surveying promises to improve the process. Called Atomic Dielectric Resonance (ADR), the patented technology is being pioneered by the geophysical survey firm Adrok, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a new U.S. office in Houston.
ADR captures and classifies images by measuring and reading resonate energy responses of materials as they interact with pulsed electromagnetic radio waves, microwaves or radio waves passing through them. This technology not only determines what lies beneath the surface, it also dramatically decreases the time, cost and risks associated with drilling in the wrong place.
“This technology is different than traditional subsurface imaging technology because it measures dielectric permittivity,” said Stuart Goldstein, vice president of Adrok Geosciences, North America. “We are focusing a combination of microwaves and radio waves and seeing how they interact with different rocks and minerals within the subsurface and then evaluating the responses of what we see.”
The result, Goldstein says, is a faster, cheaper and greener way of exploring subsurface natural resources. ADR is done predrilling and enables clients to investigate subsurface conditions through “virtual boreholes” before actually drilling a physical hole.
“We can cover a lot of ground quickly,” said Goldstein. “Not only is it faster, but it’s also cheaper. You can typically drill 10 virtual boreholes for the same cost as drilling just one actual borehole. ADR is also highly precise, providing more subsurface information than traditional methods, and environmentally benign because you are not disturbing the ground.”
The technology is also lightweight, portable (the systems are small enough to be checked as baggage on an airplane and are portable in the field) and energy efficient, which allows crews to work at close or long range without depleting their battery power.
“Two people can harness to a unit and carry it, wheel it or put it in a car or truck and take it places where larger vehicles cannot physically go or are not allowed to go,” Goldstein said.
Adrok is particularly attractive to the oil and gas and mining industries because it is noninvasive. No holes are actually drilled during the subsurface investigation. Goldstein said ADR offers a distinct advantage over traditional technologies by being able to penetrate several kilometers of depth.
“We can provide clients with better resolution and a better understanding of what is in the subsurface,” said Goldstein. “When we talk to people about this technology, they get excited. They see value in that we are looking at subsurface in a very different way.”