Neos, Lockheed Martin develop new sensor to seek out oil, gas
SAN FRANCISCO, California -- Neos and Lockheed Martin are building a unique sensor, which is so advanced that it could find a 10-m tall hill buried 1 km below the earth's surface. Put another way, the technology could find an armored truck full of gold 20 m below the earth, purely by sensing the effect the bullion imparts on the local gravity field.
The new technology, called Full Tensor Gradiometry (FTG) Plus, has 20 times the sensitivity and 10 times greater bandwidth than current gravity gradiometers. Lockheed Martin is building the prototype specifically to detect natural resources from aircraft owned and operated by Neos.
"FTG Plus transforms what we can do and what we can see from the air," said Jonathan Faiman, chairman of Neos. "Remote sensing is going to dominate the exploration market, and with this sensor Neos will have the most advanced in the world. It will enable us to image resources cleaner, quicker and at a lower cost to our customers."
Neos acquired the FTG Plus program as part of its acquisition of assets from CGG SA.
"The advances we will make here are extraordinary. One of the reasons is that in the past we and competitors have used military hardware, modified for geophysical survey purposes," said Gregory Paleolog, FTG Plus program lead for Neos. "FTG Plus is the first time Lockheed Martin has specifically built a sensor for our precise use and needs. That is a fundamental change; it is an entirely new design for us, and we have exclusive rights to use it."
Neos has exclusive use of the technology for applications related to oil, gas and mining and will use FTG Plus in its fleet—either Twin-Engined Basler BT-67s, single turbine engine Cessna C-208B Caravan aircraft or Reims-Cessna F406 twin turbine airplanes. The sensors can also be used in helicopters.
The technology has the potential to change the way governments, energy ministries and exploration teams find valuable resources, and ultimately lead to faster, more informed decisions about where to explore, lease and drill.
"At a time when so much marine seismic equipment is being cold-stacked, we will be able to use non-seismic technology with a new sensor 20 times better than anything we have ever seen before," Paleolog said. "This means we will find more resources, quicker and with more accuracy than ever before. It will be transformative."
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