A company contacted me in regard to conducting seismic tests in a 250 Sq mile area on Harrison,Guernsey and Belmount counties. They offered $5 an acre and was wondering if this is a normal offer fromt these companies? I assume they are trying to define the "sweet spot" even further testing. Thsi is a private company called TGS. They condusct the testing then sell this information to O&G companies. any info would be appreciated

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Were you contacted by mail, phone, or landman? The seismic companies only pay $5-$10 dollars per acre. And they don't do a lot on negotiating.


I have heard the same figures in one other post on here ($5) I think the other post said they pretty much just come in, do testing and leave.... in other words no D9 bulldozers coming in wrecking the place.

Over the past several years there has been a lot of discussion (both pro and con) on this very subject.

I would suggest that you go to the top right corner of the screen; where you will see a spot labeled "Search GMS: All Things ..." -- type in Seismic and hit the Search button.

My take is: $5/acre is the standard amount that they will pay; you will not get a penny more.

                   The contractors who acquire the data are service companies who do not make a lot of money at this; they barely stay alive - they are by no means the 'fat cats'. I know that $5 is only "peanuts"; but they sell the data to the O &G companies for little more than peanuts.

                   If you only have small acreage, they can acquire the data from beneath your property by undershooting it.

                  They will avoid all wells and springs and foundations that you inform them of (if not obvious); you will not suffer damage to well water or spring water (worst case - turgid water for day or two). The cows will still give milk, the chickens will continue to lay eggs (but lock up your daughters, even the ugly ones).

                  Some people here think that the raw data from 100 acres has some value to them and think that they should obtain a copy; that is nonsense ... all that which is acquired are digital (0's and 1's) data. This data then needs to be processed at the end of the survey (a process that might take a year from completion of entire survey). This data is then sold to companies who 'massage the data' further to get it into a form which a professional with 6 years of college education and a minimum of three years 'on the job' training can hopefully make sense of (with the aid of sophisticated computer software and support personnel). The data from a 100 acre farm is only one (very) small piece in a very large 'jig-saw' puzzle; think of a 250 sq mile jig saw puzzle, with 16,000 hundred acre jig saw puzzle pieces required to aget the full picture. To you (and anyone else), the data acquired from only 100 acres is meaningless gibberish.

My advice is to someone with small acreage is that if $5/acre will not buy a very nice dinner in a favorite restaurant for you and your significant other, tell them that you are not interested; they can rearrange the geometry of the survey (add a couple shots outside your land, or a few more strategically placed receivers) and obtain the data from beneath you without your involvement. It is easier for them to get everyone (big and small) to participate; but they really do not need the small acreage. You need understand that the $5/acre received is simply 'nuisance' money .... if it isn't enough to compensate for the nuisance ... perhaps you should say no (but saying no will not get you any more money).

                  Oil & Gas companies are most likely going to first drill where they have the most confidence; confidence which come from the knowledge gained from information. If seismic data are available, you are more likely to have a well drilled. If you want a well, I suggest that you allow them to obtain the seismic data (for the paltry $5/acre); the payment likely does not cover the 'nuisance' .... but looking at the 'big picture' - you want a well?; the seismic data increases the odds. If you DO NOT want a well, tell them to get lost.

                A lot of people will tell you to not allow them to acquire data on you; they will tell you that there might be the discovery of a 'fault' that will mean that you do not get a well. My take is that if there is indeed a fault, you want the O&G company to know about it. If there is a fault, they will situate the well bore so as to avoid it (you still get the well, a well drilled in an optimum location). If there is a fault that they encounter that they do not know about (and have not planned for); you will likely end up with a bad well or a sub-par well. It is in everyone's best interest to know as much as possible; so as to obtain the best results possible.

Me, I am just a landowner like yourself - one hoping for a well.

Unlike you, in a previous life, I was involved with this end of the business. When I worked in the industry, I owed them the loyalty that comes with the paycheck. When the paychecks stopped (I retired); I was once again nothing but a landowner; my current loyalties lie with my fellow landowners (long live the Marcellus and Utica).

I allowed them to shoot seismic on my land about one year ago; it took a couple phone calls to get some things cleaned up and to get the keys to the gates returned. I did not get rich off the $5/acre; but it was more than enough to compensate for the nuisance. But, most importantly, I expect that the availability of the data might increase the odds of getting a well (and royalties) while I am still around and able to enjoy it.



Quite a long reply and not to take away from everything else you said... but ALL data in digital form is 1's and 0's that don't mean it can't easily be transformed into something useful, they have programs which know how to read the data, it sounds like it de-crypts a government code.

None the less, just as you said $5 is what they generally offer.

RE: “ALL data in digital form is 1's and 0's that don't mean it can't easily be transformed into something useful”


Just because data is in digital form does not mean that it CAN easily be transformed into something useful.

The processing of 3D seismic surveys required the advent of high speed computers.

The first 3D surveys (10’s of square miles rather that hundreds of square miles) took two –three years to process (and the resolution was not that great, I assure you).


Two of the first Cray super computers were sold to Chevron (in Houston) and to Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (in Massy, France); the Chevron Cray was largely dedicated to processing 3D data and running reservoir modeling programs, the C.G.G. Cray was largely dedicated to processing 3D data (IBM 360’s just could not hack it in any reasonable fashion – too slow).


Another discipline that requires vast computation abilities is Meteorology (weather prediction/modeling); another of the first Cray computers went to the National Weather Services' Forecast System Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

There are also several Cray’s that ‘disappeared’ into the Federal Government (nuclear Detection; again using the seismic waves from nuclear tests/explosions to locate (in near real time) where it occurred the strength, etc. (also needed to differentiate the differences in acoustic signature between earthquakes, convention explosives and nuclear explosives). And, doubtless, one went for ‘code breaking’. This Cray (or one of its brothers also had the duty of recognizing the recognizing the signature of the launch of inter-continental missiles (and location of the launch).

RE: “they have programs which know how to read the data”

Obviously they do; it takes multiple programs with millions of line of code to accomplish the processing of 3D data.

There is the pre-stack processing.

There is the post-stack processing.

The data are ‘migrated’ to their true position in 3d space, using migration software.

Then there is post migration software that enhances various attributes of the data.

The acquisition and processing of 3D data utilizes professionals with a variety of skills.

The various steps typically involve the sequential work of a variety of teams; each contributing to moving the data forward.


Software for some of the more basic steps is commercially available.

The most sophisticated post migration software is almost universally proprietary software developed by the major oil companies; that is why (globally) the most difficult areas are the domain of the large U.S. and European Multinational oil companies (ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell). The technology resident in the multi-nationals are why smaller and national oil companies (Petronas, CNOOC, KUFPEC, Saudi ARAMCO, etc.) partner with the Multinationals; to gain access to proprietary software/technology, not otherwise available.


RE: “it sounds like it de-crypts a government code”

Processing 3D seismic data and code breaking both require substantial computational power.

A difference is that ‘code breaking’ software is relatively simple; but requires an enormous number of intelligent ‘trial and error’ substitutions (thus an enormous number of computations); in processing 3D seismic data the software is much more sophisticated AND there are an enormous number of computations. I have no intention to denigrate the skill that goes into developing and instituting ‘code breaking’ software; in turn, I do not consider it valid to in any way denigrate the skill and challenges in accurately imaging the earth (in detail and in three dimensions) using nothing but sound waves.  



I thought that's how its done...:)

I think you're blowing the amount of "power" this stuff requires, those first super computers were slower than molasses. Our new PC's can blow through data like a D10 bulldozer through butter. 

I direct you to this link http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/1122/technology-chevron-james-cea...

"What would have taken three months to render on a Cray in 1993 now takes two hours or less on a PC, says Barney Issen"


The keyword in Barney Issen's comment is render.  Rendering the image of a seismic section or rendering a 3D seismic volume is only a small part of the process Jack has previously described, and typically it occurs at the end of the seismic processing cycle.  While the hardware and software used for geophysical interpretation has evolved dramatically since the 1990's, it is still quite expensive and requires highly specialized knowledge to successfully operate.  I know there are common technologies for advanced visualization shared between seismic imaging and certain gaming platforms, but we are not going to see the average Halo player finding oil in his backyard with his Xbox anytime soon.  Interpretation and processing of seismic data covering significant acreage will remain costly, time consuming, and require experienced personnel for quite some time.  A single seismic workstation with a skilled operator can process, interpret and render seismic data from a small area in a reasonable amount of time, but even this setup will likely cost over $100,000.


You are right on. Global gave us $10 per acre and went out of business. I feel sorry for these guys.

Signed end of May for $5.00/acre. My thoughts are the same as yours on doing it. Think that the process will ,have minimal impact for what they will find out . Gt to think the upside far out ways any risk.

Why not ask for a little more. Just don't push them to the point they leave. That maybe $5 but why not ask.

I spoke with a representative of TGS on Friday in regard to their request to do seismic testing on our property in Guernsey County.  He was quite courteous, very open and addressed each question I had in a very friendly, informative and helpful manner.

The main concerns I had were with the proximity of the sources (explosive charges) to our lake and the effect it could have on the fish there.  We have a five acre lake with a healthy population of fish and the plot shows charges on each side as well as one in the water area (which I pretty much figured they wouldn't set).  He said the sources and receivers on the map are computer generated and when they do the actual work that they adapt to the features of the landscape and typically they avoid sensitive areas (wells, springs, ponds, buildings, etc.) and do not work within 200' of such spots.

In regard to our lake and fish, he recommended I add a restriction in the 'special conditions / additional instructions' section of the release form for the charges to be placed no closer than 300' to the shoreline, and to additionally address the issue of damage (or death) to any fish that occur (compensation for replacement fish or otherwise) and that TGS will be responsible for any damages.  They seem quite willing to work with landowners and address any concerns that may be present - and do their best to prevent any possible damages.

I also spoke with a representative of the Ohio Division of Wildlife today and they advised that there shouldn't be any problems with the fish and that even with charges set off directly in or on water, most often it only temporarily stuns nearby fish.  With ground charges 30' deep and 300' from the shore, any risk would be quite minimal.  He did state however that we should add a stipulation in the conditions section to document that the lake has always held water and hasn't had any loss or low level issues and should any occur after the testing that TGS is to be responsible for repair.  The lake is an excavated area left over from a previous strip-mine operation, 35+ feet deep, supplied by a stream running through and there is no dam present, so it is unlikely the testing will have much effect.

We are also in the process of having a new home built on the property (construction to begin in a couple weeks), but our property is located on the western edge of the survey area, in which they are only utilizing 33 of our 103 acres in their work, and our home will be approximately 700' outside the survey project boundary and we don't anticipate any problems there.

In the research I've done online, we're feeling quite comfortable with the testing and my wife and I are going to grant permission for it to be done.

If you are interested, there is a seismic testing video posted at the link below that can be quite insightful.  It takes a while to download but can be well worth the wait.



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