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Our Technology Advantage

3D Seismic

How we got involved in 3D Seismic

Here is what set us apart many years ago…

Over the years the oil industry improved the tools used in reflection seismic recording and as computer power increased, allowing manipulation of massive amounts of data, the method of recording 3Dimensional seismic surveying became more practical. 3D seismic data collects information from a large cube of data; miles on every side and miles deep into the earth. The data points in this cube are only feet apart in the subsurface, allowing geophysicists to map small structures and faults with precision.

2D Seismic Rendering from a 3D Cube of Data

A Stroke of “Luck”

Now step back to 1971. A previous partner of Ranken Energy Corporation using traditional two-dimensional seismic data identified a possible Basal Oil Creek Sand structural prospect to be drilled in southern Oklahoma. They named the well the Lema #1-21 and drilled a well that had oil shows in the Basal Oil Creek Sandstone but the well was deemed non-commercial and it was plugged.

Some years later this same company shot a proprietary 3D survey in and around the Lema #1-21 well.  In 2004 Ranken proposed a well only 700 feet to the east of the Lema well and made a discovery well that produced over 150,000 barrels of oil prior to Ranken selling the well.  This location was picked utilizing the 3D seismic data previously referred to.

The quality of the seismic data being used is excellent and though we are twenty years past the time when it was originally recorded, we were able to precisely identify the structure and drill the well with confidence.

The Impact of Technology

This success launched Ranken Energy on an aggressive program of drilling utilizing proprietary 3D seismic data. Ranken Energy has drilled over 170 wells in Garvin and McClain Counties in Oklahoma using this data and Ranken subsequently distributed over 227 million dollars to our working interest partners in the last 17 years!


  • Wells Drilled Since 1986 (375 wells) 100%
  • Wells Drilled since implenting 3D seismic in 2001 (193 wells) 51%
  • Total prospects assembled using 3D seismic (109 Prospects) 56%
  • Successful 3D seismic prospects (70 Prospects) 64%

So Whats Next?

Recently Ranken Energy acquired, on a proprietary basis, 324 square miles of new, modern, high effort 3D seismic data in a fairway extending north to south in south-central Oklahoma in which we have initially identified 143 structural prospects.

Only 15% have been drilled!

Modern 3D Seismic Coverage in Square Miles

Structural Prospects Identified

Want to learn more about upcoming projects?

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Our 3D Seismic Operation

Here are some photos of our most recent 3D seismic operations.


To the left is a picture of the recording truck.  All the data from all the geophones flows into this vehicle cab. The entire data collection operation is managed from here.  The operations manager is in communication with every man on the crew via radio.

This is the operator’s station. He is managing the entire field operation from this location. The equipment and personnel he is managing can be spread over more than twenty-five square miles.
The plots on the table are quality control plots of the recording taking place at the moment. The map on the wall has many layers of information on it including “No Permit” areas, wet areas, every water well and structure, every oil or gas well, every pipeline, the layout and progress of the seismic survey.
These trailers are filled with geophones and cables when the crew is moving to a new job. Up to twenty-six other vehicles are employed as the job is shot. The crew compliment is 46 men or more.
This is a surveying GPS base station. GPS surveying is the way seismic surveying is done today but a Wal-Mart handheld GPS isn’t nearly accurate enough for seismic work. Base stations collect data from 11 satellites and calculate corrections, then send that correction to what are called the “Rovers” used by the surveyors.
The geophones are spread around this painted stake as a circle with a radius of about six feet.
This is a seismic energy source commonly called a “Vibrator”. Conoco patented this source calling it a “Vibroseis”. The unit between the wheels lowers by hydraulic rams lifting the weight of the vehicle and then is hydraulically shaken through a range of frequencies sending a signal into the ground that is reflected back to the geophones on the surface.
The “Vibroseis Pad” presses down the grass as shown above. The Pad exerts a peak force of 60,000#, but the grass will recover. For that reason the surveyors use biodegradable paint to mark the spot in case they must resurvey the point.
We do all this work to collect raw data that looks like this. Thousands and thousands of records like this are sent to the data processing center to make the final maps we use.
The final product, a seismic structural map generated out of the 3D seismic “cube.”

Have questions or comments? We want to hear from you.

Want to learn more about 3D seismic?

Check out these additional resources and videos.

This is great video illustrating the 3D seismic operational process.  

Video source:

Luke Patrick Illustrations

Here is a 3D seismic vibroseis truck in action!

Video source:


An explanation of 3D seismic in oil and gas exploration.

Video source:



Ranken Energy Corporation offers direct oil and gas investment opportunities that enable investors to participate in the potential cash flow and the unique tax benefits associated with oil and gas investments. Investing in oil and gas is highly speculative and could result in substantial losses.  The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any securities. Information on this site is not intended to be used as investment or tax advice. Consult your investment advisor or tax advisor concerning the current tax laws and effects on your personal tax situation.


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