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Unlike so many technologies that take decades to catch on, the uptake of electromagnetic technology applied to subsea sediments has been remarkably rapid. The technology is based on the same principles of electrical resistivity that gave rise to the ability to detect hydrocarbons in situ from a wellbore and, arguably, a key in ushering in the modern-day oil field, as well as starting the oilfield services giant Schlumberger. Resistivity is measured from a controlled source that “pumps” electrical energy into the seafloor and is detected at some distance away. Anomalously resistive readings imply a less conductive layer of rock, such as with hydrocarbon-filled pore space.
The uptake has been rapid, both because of the reduction in risk that the technology gives, as well as the luck of having gone commercial at the start of another great boom in high oil prices. But the technology has had difficulty with applications to shallow water.
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