Tidelands Permian Basin

Tidelands Geophysical Explores Permian Basin with INOVA's Hawk® Nodal System

Tidelands Geophysical explores the Permian Basin to locate untapped hydrocarbons reservoirs with the Hawk autonomous nodal system.

Segment Land Seismic Acquisition
Region Texas, USA
Technologies Hawk Autonomous Nodal System
Related Products Hawk

The Challenge

The Permian Basin, located across West Texas and neighboring areas of southeastern New Mexico, has been an abundant source of hydrocarbons since the discovery of oil in the 1920's. Recent advances in drilling technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have enabled the basin's oil and natural gas to be extracted more economically than in prior decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), nearly 1.8 million barrels of oil are produced daily from this basin. With these new technologies available, E&P companies and geophysical service providers have reinvigorated their efforts to explore the region's untapped hydrocarbon resources.

Tidelands Geophysical, a subsidiary of TGC Industries, Inc., has been providing land seismic services across the United States for more than 40 years. They have earned a distinct reputation for exceeding their client's expectations and completing projects cost effectively. In 2014, Tidelands was awarded a major 3D acquisition project in the Permian Basin by one of their valued clients. They chose to conduct the project with an autonomous nodal system. These types of cableless systems are known to increase crew productivity in areas with heavy surface culture and minimize the environmental impact of seismic operations.

With the increased exploration demands by their North American customers, Tidelands had insufficient cableless channels available for this project. Faced with the need to purchase additional equipment, they had to reexamine their technology portfolio to meet the latest requirements of their customer base and further enhance their operational excellence. They wanted to partner with a leading seismic equipment manufacturer that offered exceptional support and provided a flexible recording system that can acquire high-quality data more efficiently than their current equipment. Tidelands would only invest in newer seismic technologies to complement their existing fleet of channels if these key requirements were met.

Tidelands is extremely pleased with the results of the Hawk system and the excellent service we received from INOVA on this 3D project. Incorporating Hawk into our product portfolio provided us additional flexibility and increased our crew efficiency during data acquisition. We are confident in the system’s abilities to meet any of our client’s requirements now and in the future.

Wayne Whitener TGC Industries' President and Chief Executive Officer

The Solution

As a satisfied customer of INOVA's products and services, Tidelands turned to them for a reliable cableless solution. After thoroughly evaluating INOVA's Hawk autonomous nodal system, they purchased 10,500 channels to be used on this exploration project. Tidelands was impressed with many of Hawk’s features including its unmatched sensor flexibility and leading edge data transcription capability.

Each Hawk field station supports up to three analog channels in any combination of 1C or 3C geophones and a digital interface for INOVA’s AccuSeis™ 1C and VectorSeis® 3C digital sensors. Hawk’s proprietary data retrieval reduces data download time and data volume—resulting in faster equipment turnaround in the field and a significant reduction in data management.

In order to meet the project schedule, INOVA delivered the entire Hawk system to Tidelands in late September 2014. Hawk's capabilities have been field proven on many projects globally, but this was the first usage of the system by Tidelands. INOVA arranged hands-on-training and onsite support to ensure proper setup and execution of the system. Their crew mobilized and began deployment preparations in mid October. From the start of the project, Tidelands quickly recognized the dedication from INOVA's engineering and field support personnel to complete the project as efficiently as possible.

Upon shot completion, the crew quickly downloaded, transcribed, and archived the data. Hawk's data download and transcription process is the fastest in the industry.


The Results

All field stations were configured with a multi-station takeout cable connecting three sets of geophone arrays. Each geophone array had a 6 x 2 arrangement. This layout allowed the crew to reduce the amount of ground electronics needed by one-third, thus minimizing overall equipment cost. The spread encompassed approximately 46 square miles of flat desert terrain, rolling hills, and thick bushes. Its design parameters included nearly 6,000 receiver points and 5,900 vibroseis source points. Source operations targeted 300 vibroseis points (VPs) per day, but the crew experienced many days reaching over 500 VPs.

The crew took advantage of Hawk's advanced wireless QC tools (Connex FieldTool and Connex Harvest Tool) during data acquisition. Performing routine QC of the spread without having to retrieve stations gave Tidelands greater confidence in their data quality. Upon shot completion, they swiftly gathered the stations from the field and proceeded to transcribe the data. The crew acknowledged the short duration it took to download the remaining data from the stations, transcribe and archive the entire project data set. 3 TB of data were output to final shot records in one hour and fifteen minutes. They were able to complete all of their client deliverables in one day instead of the expected three day time frame. This highly optimized data transfer process enabled them to gain valuable savings in time during data transcription. Tidelands completed this project in five weeks and delivered high-quality data to their client. After the successful outcome of this survey, they immediately used the Hawk system on a smaller 2D seismic project achieving the same favorable results.

In February 2015, it is anticipated that TGC Industries, Inc. and Dawson Geophysical Company will merge together into a stronger company. This strategic business combination will position themselves to better serve the needs of their client base. The collective resources of both companies will result in the reduction of costs, increased utilization rates, and improved services. The new Dawson Geophysical Company will be operating in the U.S. and Canada.

Raw field record from the Permian Basin project with the data sorted into a shot record.


The Permian Basin exploration project continues to demonstrate Hawk’s superior performance and INOVA's unwavering commitment to support its customers. The system's flexibility, reliability, and operational simplicity are unrivaled in the industry. Tidelands is now part of the distinguished list of autonomous nodal customers who have integrated the Hawk system into their product portfolio. Since its inception more than 150,000 channels of Hawk are in use today globally.

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