New open data and a competition

First, a quick announcement. EMC, the data storage and cloud computing company, has stepped up to sponsor the Subsurface Hackathon in Vienna in a few weeks. Their generous help will ensure a fun event with some awesome prizes — so get signed up and start planning your project!

New open data

A correspondent got in touch last week about an exciting new open seismic dataset. In the late summer and early autumn of 2015, the WesternGeco-acquired a large new 2D seismic survey in the Rockall Basin and the Mid North Sea High for the UK Government. The survey cost about £20 million and consists of 20,000 km of new broadband PreSTM data. At the end of March, the dataset will be released to the public for free download, along with about 20,000 km of legacy 2D data, 40,000 km of new gravity and magnetic data, and wells.

© Crown Copyright — Used under fair use provision.

If you are interested in downloading the data, the government is asking that you fill out this form — it will help them figure out what to make available, and how much infrastructure to provision. Excitingly, they are asking about angle stacks, PSTM gathers, not just the full stack. It sounds like being an important resource for our community.

They are even asking about interest in the field data — all 60TB of it. There will almost certainly be a fee associated with the larger datasets, by the way. I asked about this and it sounds like it will likely be on the order of several thousand pounds to handle the full SEGD data, because of course it will be on physical media. But the government is open to suggestions if the geophysical community would like to find another way to distribute the data — do let me know if you'd like to talk about this.

New seed funding

Along with the data package, the government has announced an exciting new competition for 'seed funding':

The £500,000 competition has been designed to encourage geoscientists and engineers to develop innovative interpretations and products potentially using [this new open data]...

The motivation for the competition is clear:

It is hoped the competition will not only significantly increase the understanding of these frontier areas in respect of the 29th Seaward Licensing Round later in the year, but also retain talent in the oil and gas community which has been affected by the oil and gas industry downturn.

The parameters of the competition are spelled out in the Word document on this tender notice. It sounds like almost anything goes: data analysis, product development, even exploration activity. So get creative — and pitch the coolest thing you can think of!

You'll have to get cracking though, because applications to take part must be in by 1 April. If selected, the project must be delivered on 11 November.