The Search Model explained

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Traditionally, hydrological exploration for groundwater is focusing on the shallow depths of the subsurface, up to about 400m depth. This shallow groundwater source is not available everywhere, due to geological conditions and climatic factors.

Due to various reasons (e.g. climate change, drought, sea water intrusion, increasing population, poor management of water and increasing agricultural output) problems can arise, resulting in boreholes running dry or deterioration of the water quality and ultimately these boreholes cannot be used anymore.

Research of deeper formations require different and more expensive techniques that are not easily accessible to the water industry, and therefore the deeper subsurface remains unexplored.

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However, the Oil and Gas industry has spent billions of dollars on exploration for hydrocarbons around the globe. A big part of the exploration phase is gathering information about hydrocarbon prospects by acquiring seismic surveys to image the subsurface, and perform extensive analysis programs of the wells that are drilled to get detailed information on the fluids and geology. All of this information is sensitive as it is one of the companies most valued assets, and therefore hold tight to the chest or sold for millions.

But this information is not only valuable for the Oil and Gas industry. For the water industry it is very important to start venturing deeper to find new and undistubed fresh water resources. The information form the Oil and Gas industry can help with this.

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With the access to well and seimsic data from the Oil & Gas industry, it is possible to create 3D geological models that og deeper than 400m. This enables the visualization of potential deep aquifer systems and the modeling of deep hydrological systems.

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Modeling the deeper subsurfaces enables to make a model of the subsurface to a depth of a couple of kilometers, much deeper than traditional hydrology. This model can be used to find prospective areas for deep groundwater, at depths more than 400m, and the drilling of successful water wells.

Water in the sursurface is residuing in spaces between the grains of the rocks or in fractures, depending on the type of geology.

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Our endeavors are no doubt a significant contribution towards a global awareness of these prospects. Data already acquired in the search for hydrocarbons can now be repurposed to find deep groundwater and provide a new source of revenue and purpose for the oil & gas industry.

The potential application of the Search Model not only includes developing countries, but also first world countries relying on desalination as a freshwater source. The use of existing oil data together with hydrogeological knowledge allows for quick and thorough assessments of the potential of deep groundwater without having to set up costly and time-consuming exploration projects. Recycling existing data lowers the cost of potential groundwater wells. Deep groundwater is a cost-effective solution for countries or regions that rely on non-secure water sources and has a lower cost compared to current desalination.

The Search Model identifies deep aquifers along passive margins and is applicable to similar settings around the world. Potential markets are Australia, Iraq, Kenya, Yemen, South Africa, South-East Asia and North America to name a few.

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