Where is a well?

Fugro study of Shell’s Irak asset considers tectonic plate motion in high accuracy positioning effort.

You may think that geomatics is hard enough with geographic projections, datums and such but, as a recent presentation by Fugro’s Jean-Louis Carme, speaking at France’s GeoPos event showed, it can be harder than you think to pin down an accurate location. The reason? Plate motion!

Various models of global plate motion have been proposed. But there is little consensus as to which to use. This can be problematical in geodesy, and also when using historical maps, especially in areas of rapid plate motion such as New Zealand or the Middle East.

Working for Shell on Irak’s Majnoon oilfield, Fugro studied some 13 geodesic reference points and integrated them with the ITRF2005 plate velocity field for future accurate positioning of assets. The study showed that for assets with large extent (like pipelines) plate motion needs to be considered. Checkout your local plate speed on the ITRF here.

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