Published on 08th May 2023
Geophysical companies play a key role in exploring and developing natural resources. Apart from companies with expertise in geophysical techniques, the demand is also increasing for companies with seismic surveying and seismic testing capabilities.
Let’s try to understand the geophysical method and survey in detail before moving on to the list of top market players.
A geophysical method measures the physical properties of materials to gain information about the Earth’s surface and subsurface, including subsurface conditions and subsurface formations. Geophysical methods are also used in hydrogeology for groundwater exploration and contamination studies.
Here are the most common geophysical methods:
Examples of geophysical methods include ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and seismic reflection and refraction. Geophysical devices like magnetometers and seismographs are used in seismic investigations for detecting earthquakes and surveying the Earth’s crust.
Another common method of acquiring geophysical data is “borehole logging (borehole geophysics),” which involves analyzing geophysical data collected within boreholes, test holes, or wells.
A geophysical survey refers to collecting geophysical data systematically for spatial studies.
For instance, airborne geophysical surveying is a process used to measure the variation of many key physical or geochemical parameters of the Earth, such as conductivity, magnetic susceptibility, radioactive element concentration, and rock density.
Compared to ground surveys, aerial geophysical surveys are ideal for cost-effective, rapid scanning of target areas.
Based on revenue, the top geophysical equipment and services industry players include Schlumberger Ltd., PGS ASA, CGG SA, and TGS ASA.
Read on to learn more about the major companies providing a complete range of geophysical and seismic solutions and services to customers worldwide.
Table of Contents
Global Top 6 Geophysical Equipment and Services Companies 
China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL)
Blackridge Research & Consulting – Global Geophysical Equipment and Services Market Report
Here are the world’s leading geophysical equipment and services companies (listed alphabetically):
Location: Paris, France
CGG SA (CGG) is a geoscience technology services company providing a variety of data acquisition, interpretation, and processing services.
CGG (La Compagnie Générale de Géophysique) was established as a result of the merger between the seismology and magnetometry specialists—SPE (Société de Prospection Électrique, which is the precursor of Schlumberger Ltd.) and SGRM (Société Géophysique de Recherches Minières).
CGG leverages decades of experience in 3D imaging of airborne, land, and marine datasets and other capabilities to provide geoscience solutions for complex challenges related to energy transition, environment, and natural resources.
CGG’s geoscience solutions comprise the following:
CGG integrates geological, multi-physics, and well log information into advanced imaging workflows to give deeper insights into the subsurface.
CGG’s subsurface imaging technologies include:
CGG uses satellite mapping expertise and technology to deliver actionable information to the Defense, Energy, Engineering, Environment, and Mining sectors. As an independent supplier for satellite operators worldwide, CGG offers best-in-class satellite imagery (including optical and radar satellite imagery) and satellite elevation data.
Geology & Engineering
CGG’s geoscience expertise helps reduce risk and optimize project delivery for sustainable natural resource exploration and exploitation.
CGG provides a comprehensive range of geology & engineering solutions, including:
CGG provides high-performance 3D inversion engines to analyze and interpret multiple-domain data for minerals exploration, O&G, and geothermal energy markets.
CGG also offers monitoring services to conduct feasibility and screening studies using electromagnetic, passive seismic, and time-lapse gravity data.
In addition, CGG’s Geotools™ software enables the generation of reliable 3D Earth models on the CGG Cloud for MT (magnetotelluric) data analysis, modeling, and inversion.
Location: Beijing, China
China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) is a leading integrated oilfield service provider and a majority-owned subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned company “CNOOC Group” (China National Offshore Oil Corporation).
As a company with 50+ years of experience in O&G operations, COSL is reported to have “the largest and most diverse offshore oilfield services facilities in China,” with services running through all stages of offshore O&G exploration, development, and production.
COSL’s business is divided into the following categories:
COSL’s geophysical and surveying services include:
Furthermore, COSL has strong Equipment R&D and Manufacturing capabilities. According to COSL, the company operates and manages the following:
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
Halliburton Company (Halliburton) is a globally recognized provider of products, services, and integrated solutions for O&G exploration, development, and production. Halliburton was founded by Erle P. Halliburton—a pioneer in oil-well cementing.
Halliburton provides solutions at multiple scales to reduce uncertainty, reveal hydrocarbon potential, understand complex reservoir architecture, and maximize hydrocarbon recovery.
Halliburton Subsurface Intelligence services include:
For example, geologists can recommend safe and efficient means to extract O&G deposits by studying mineral samples, rock formations/rock types, and other areas on land and under water.
Halliburton Borehole Seismic services include:
The Halliburton FiberVSP™ service offers a cost-effective, quick, and low-risk solution for acquiring high-spatial-resolution VSP (Vertical Seismic Profile) data.
According to a press release, Halliburton and TGS announced a collaboration to advance seismic reservoir monitoring by incorporating Halliburton FiberVSP™ and Odassea™ distributed acoustic sensing solutions with TGS’ seismic imaging workflows.
In addition, the Halliburton Geosciences Suite is an integrated solution that increases subsurface understanding and optimizes lifecycle management with an end-to-end suite of cross-domain workflows. Moreover, the Geosciences Suite mitigates data gaps and errors while negating redundancy and repetition across Geophysics and Geology domains.
Here are the features of the Geosciences Suite:
Assisted Lithology Interpretation – The cloud application uses supervised ML (Machine Learning) technology to predict lithology from well data rapidly for improved efficiency and reduced costs.
Petrophysics – Petrophysics is a single, unified platform enabling integrated workflows across subsurface disciplines for single and multi-well studies.
Scalable Earth Modeling – A cloud-based application that is geologically and computationally scalable with a powerful Earth-modeling capability.
Seismic Engine – A DecisionSpace® 365 cloud application is the industry-leading software that enables faster decision-making by processing unlimited volumes of seismic data with no reduction in fidelity.
Location: Lysaker, Norway
Formerly known as “Petroleum Geo-Services ASA,” PGS ASA is an oilfield services company providing marine-focused geophysical services. As an integrated marine geophysics company, PGS supports the energy industry, including carbon storage, O&G, and offshore renewables.
PGS organizes its activities into the following business areas:
Sales & Services (promotes and sells seismic services, such as imaging services, MultiClient library data, and tailored acquisition contracts)
Operations (plans, manages, and executes a wide range of acquisition projects)
Here’s a brief overview of PGS’ offerings:
The PGS data library focuses on areas with good potential for accessing acreage. Energy companies use advanced subsurface images from the PGS data library to explore hydrocarbons and sites for renewables projects.
PGS’ survey types include:
PGS acquisition solutions de-risk carbon storage projects, hydrocarbon exploration, and offshore wind farm developments. In addition to core technology platforms (Ramform vessels and GeoStreamer), PGS offers hybrid streamer-node surveys, multiphysics (multiphysics stimulation), and ultra-high-resolution solutions.
While the multisensory GeoStreamer is ideal for broadband imaging, PGS marine seismic survey vessels (including the Ramform range) are known in the industry for excellent efficiency, reliability, and safety.
For example, PGS creates 360-degree virtual representations of a seismic vessel for maintenance planning and situational awareness and uses the imagery along with other contextualized data to develop a digital twin that represents all of the vessel’s working areas.
Imaging & Characterization
PGS imaging technology is customizable for diverse data needs—from delineating the smallest shallow hazards to the deepest and most complex targets for hydrocarbons/renewables. Apart from expert characterization services, PGS offers a comprehensive suite of full wavefield depth imaging solutions.
PGS’ expertise and extensive experience make it a trusted partner for many governments and oil companies in managing all subsurface pursuits—from licensing and exploration to appraisal, development, production, and carbon storage.
Comparing two or more 3D seismic datasets helps track changes in a reservoir’s physical properties over time. PGS’ subsurface monitoring solutions (such as repeatable acquisition using GeoStreamer (ideal for monitoring CCS storage and reservoir production) and 4D reservoir imaging) assist in making reservoir management decisions.
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
Schlumberger Ltd. (also known as “SLB”) is a globally renowned oilfield services company that is reported to be the “world’s largest offshore drilling company and offshore drilling contractor by revenue.”
Founded by the Schlumberger brothers (Conrad Schlumberger and Marcel Schlumberger) as the Electric Prospecting Company, SLB has established itself as a company with a legacy worth celebrating and a pioneer in unlocking new possibilities in energy access.
Schlumberger’s geophysics software helps perform high-quality geophysical interpretation to solve complex structural and stratigraphic challenges—from regional exploration to reservoir development.
By leveraging the Petrel platform, Schlumberger enables engineers and geoscientists to create a shared vision of the reservoir and empowers companies to standardize workflows across E&P (Exploration and Production).
Schlumberger offers the following under “Geophysics Software”:
Structural & Stratigraphic Interpretation
Seismic Attributes Computation & Extraction
Well & Seismic Calibration
Velocity Modeling & Time/Depth Conversion
Seismic Processing & Depth Imaging
Locations: Oslo, Norway (Corporate Headquarters) and Houston, Texas, United States (Operational Headquarters)
Formerly known as “TGS NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA,” TGS ASA (TGS) is a world-renowned energy data and intelligence company founded by Prentis Tomlinson. TGS provides industry-leading seismic and geophysical data using robust imaging and technology solutions.
Apart from a diverse and an extensive energy data library, the company offers specialized services, including advanced processing and analytics and cloud-based data applications and solutions.
TGS’ data and insights encompass seismic, well data, wind, solar, and carbon divisions. TGS’ seismic industry expertise comprises the following:
TGS’ comprehensive range of advanced acquisition technologies is used for enhanced reservoir delineation, characterization, and monitoring. Moreover, TGS’ multi-client team can tailor cost-efficient acquisition programs using superior OBN technology.
With global access to over 70% of the seismic multi-client data market, TGS makes it easy to explore and evaluate multi-vendor libraries through Versal—the unified seismic data ecosystem.
TGS multi-client data coverage includes the following regions:
TGS also provides the following solutions for accurate and insightful subsurface interpretation:
TGS leverages its advanced OBN seismic imaging technology to provide marine data acquisition services for proprietary and multi-client models. TGS technology significantly improves the following:
TGS’ innovative seismic acquisition technology provides high-quality data (full-azimuth 4C data) to make informed decisions.
Imaging and Processing
TGS is continually developing imaging and processing technologies, such as the ones listed below, to meet the operational challenges of the quest for hydrocarbons:
DM FWI: Dynamic Matching Full Waveform Inversion (DM FWI) iteratively minimizes the misfit between modeled and observed seismic data.
OBN: OBN enables the collection of cleaner, richer, and more complete data near subsurface targets.
2DCubed: A structurally conformable interpolation engine that uses 2D data to create an interpretable 3D volume on a regional scale.
DAS: The cost-effective and robust Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) VSP helps monitor CO2 plumes and reservoirs (onshore and offshore).
Multiple Attenuation: A suite of multiple prediction and attenuation tools for interbed and surface multiples in different environments (deep to shallow).
Furthermore, TGS’ data and geoscience experts work with customers to customize seismic solutions specific to their requirements.
Let’s look at other significant players in the seismic and geophysical services market and related organizations:
Blue Ocean Seismic Services: Blue Ocean Seismic Services is an oil and energy company specializing in low-cost and reduced carbon emission ocean bottom seismic acquisition. The company is stated to have developed “the world’s first autonomous, low-impact, subsea nodes to capture high-quality imaging data from the ocean floor.”
BOEM: BOEM’s (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) website provides information on the status of any requests received from private companies for permits to use G&G (Geological and Geophysical) seismic surveys.
Breckenridge Geophysical: Breckenridge Geophysical is a seismic data acquisition services company offering ambient and microseismic surveys, equipment rentals, VSP surveys, and other services.
Dawson Geophysical Company (NASDAQ: DWSN): Dawson Geophysical Company is a land seismic data acquisition company specializing in the acquisition and processing of 2D, 3D, and multi-component seismic data for clients, including O&G companies and independent O&G operators.
Geophysical Electrical Supply Company (Gesco): Gesco is an authorized dealer of several reputed electrical equipment brands and the leading resource for electrical products needed in the O&G, manufacturing, and mining industries.
Geophysical Supply Company: Geophysical Supply Company is a family-owned business supplying quality products (cables, beam clamps, connectors, meters, wires, etc.) to industrial markets around the world.
Liberty Oilfield Services: Liberty Oilfield Services (Liberty) is an oilfield services firm offering an innovative suite of completion services and technologies to onshore oil and natural gas E&P companies.
Pulse Seismic Inc.: Pulse Seismic Inc. is a seismic data licensing business engaged in acquiring, marketing, and licensing 2D and 3D seismic data for the energy sector.
SeaBird Exploration: SeaBird Exploration is a seismic survey company that provides marine 2D and 3D seismic data and source vessel services to the O&G industry.
Spectrum Geophysics: Spectrum Geophysics is an independently owned and operated company specializing in the subsurface characterization of industrial, military, and urban settings.
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Rising energy requirements are supporting strong investments in geophysical investigations and seismic operations.
Consequently, there is a growing demand for integrated geophysical services involving diverse activities, such as locating and measuring the extent of subsurface resources (oil, gas, minerals, etc.) and conducting diverse surveys (gravity surveys, magnetic surveys, seismic surveys, etc.)
A subsurface investigation is carried out to know more about the geometry of the soil, rock, and water beneath the surface. For example, mapping the subsurface plays a key role in the O&G industry to mitigate hazards and discover new areas for detailed exploration.
Similarly, seismic exploration companies not only help with seismic data collection for petroleum exploration but also provide related products and services like project management (for conducting feasibility studies, providing onshore support, etc.).
For example, a geophone is a seismic instrument that transforms ground vibrations generated by seismic waves into electrical impulses.
The global seismic survey market is also witnessing steady growth due to increasing exploration activities driven by the high energy demand across regions.
For instance, shale explorations along with offshore shallow water and deepwater exploration are leading to the development of new seismic projects.
Tackling today’s geophysical and seismic challenges requires specialized knowledge and proven experience besides collaborative innovation.
Geophysical and seismic companies provide industry experience and technological expertise to minimize uncertainty and maximize value in the quest for natural resources.