What Exactly Does a Seismic Broker Do?

Allow me to answer that question for you.

Simply put, whenever oil companies buy a licensed copy of seismic data that has been previously shot by a different company, a seismic broker acts as the facilitator for both the purchaser (Licensee) and the seismic data owner (Licensor).

This licensed copy of seismic data is subject to specific terms and conditions provided by the Licensor. Some terms and conditions of the license include that the Licensee will not sell, trade, exchange or transfer the contents of the license to any person outside the Licensee’s company.

The term of the license varies between seismic data owners, but most license terms are between a 50-year term and a perpetual license. This process is similar to downloading a song from iTunes, you are downloading a licensed copy of the song for your personal use. It’s illegal to sell, trade or exchange this file.

The Broker’s Role

The Broker’s role in this process shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The Broker has the responsibility to understand the rights, limitations and obligations of both the Licensee and the Licensor, and to prevent any unauthorized use of the Licensor’s data. The Broker not only gathers data selected by the Licensee for QI, but will also recognize and advise that several seismic data owners have specific terms and conditions regarding their licenses that MUST be part of the license agreement.

With our 50 years of experience in the seismic data industry, Sigma has compiled seismic locations from several sources including producing companies, provinces that grant us access to their seismic permitting records and corporate publications that identify their proprietary seismic.

Currently our seismic database has a record of over 970 unique data owners in North America, and includes 567,000 2D-line locations and 10,400 3D surveys.

The Sigma Advantage

There are at least two significant advantages to using our vast seismic database to purchase a licensed copy of seismic data, rather than shooting one’s own:

Cost – purchasing a licensed copy saves you approximately 70% of what it would cost to acquire new data.

Time – licensed copies of data can be copied and delivered to the Licensee in less than three days; acquiring new seismic data can take months, years, or in some cases, such as in environmentally sensitive areas, new seismic data can’t be acquired at all.

How it Works:

  • Oil companies typically seek seismic data in a specific area and will request a map view of all the potential seismic locations in that area.
  • A broker will then contact the seismic data owners in the area to find out which owners will grant licenses to their data.
  • If the seismic is available for licensing, the Licensor will provide a sample image of the final processing in the form of a tiff image. This image will be presented by the Broker to the Licensee and the Licensee will make notes on the suitability of the data for their purpose.
  • This tightly regulated QI (Quality Inspection) process allows the Licensee the opportunity to review the shooting parameters and confirm that the parameters and quality of the seismic is adequate to image the geologic formations that they are interested in pursuing.
  • During this entire transaction the Licensee’s identity is always kept confidential. The Licensee knows the identity of the Licensor, however the Licensor only knows the identity of Sigma, and not the identity of the Licensee that Sigma represents.
  • When the Oil Company agrees to a purchase a license copy of seismic, they receive a copy of all of the original raw seismic data from the Licensor and, in most cases, they will also receive a copy of all of the digital stack outputs, as well as the license agreement stating the terms and conditions of the license.

At Sigma, our full-time seismic brokers and their expert capabilities is central to our success. Now that you understand what we do, connect with us today to experience for yourself the advantage of working with Sigma.

Trent Olson
VP Seismic Data Marketing