A small geologic consulting firm in Calgary, Canada, is able to provide services to oil & gas exploration companies thanks to the competitive pricing of the Golden Software product line. The firm, Geo-Libre Inc., is run by Francois Marechal, (P. Geo APEGA-EGBC, CPG AIPG-State of Alaska) and offers an integrated suite of geologic analysis and GIS mapping services.

During decades of working for large players in the Canadian oil & gas industry, Marechal – a geologist by training – learned to search for and visualize hydrocarbon reservoirs using several well-known geologic mapping software packages. He and his wife, a GIS expert, decided to launch Geo-Libre about two years ago. Recognizing the cost prohibitive nature of the software he had come to depend on, Marechal spent time looking for alternatives, sensing that those previous products were not financially practical for an independent consultant.

Having looked at the packages offered by Golden Software, he bought Surfer, Strater, Grapher and Voxler for his fledgling geologic consulting business. Relying on experience previously gained while working with the more expensive packages, Marechal taught himself how to use the Golden products in a short period of time.

“They are relatively easy to use,” he said. “But more to the point, they are affordable…about a tenth the cost of the other main stream products typically used in large corporations.”

Marechal is currently working on compiling a comprehensive assessment of geologic oil & gas and other opportunities across major Canadian basins using Surfer, Voxler and Strater. The objective is to use this geographic and 3D database as a platform for ongoing exploration, exploitation and other projects.

Surfer is quickly becoming Marechal’s go-to mapping package to create colorful visualizations of subsurface geologic structures and isopach maps of strata. Of particular use in Geo-Libre projects are the built-in analysis tool functions available with Surfer and other Golden software packages. These can help to easily visualize subsurface trends, such as formation porosity, and isolate certain sections of the structure based on user-selected values.

For Marechal, Voxler is becoming an interesting tool to use when planning and visualizing directional well drilling. 2D mapping packages allow one to pinpoint locations of the wellhead and bottom hole and interpolate everything in between. Voxler however further allows for the display of subsurface strata grids in 3D with the projected or precise path of a directionally drilled wellbore going through all layers of interest.

“Voxler displays the well path in real space, and you can turn it around to look at it from different perspectives,” he said.

Geo-Libre Inc. uses Strater to build well log displays either singly or in cross-sections. The range of fill patterns and vivid colors make correlations easy and effective as presentation displays. A favorite feature in Strater that the Calgary geologist uses repeatedly is the Templates function. He can assign colors and fill styles to represent specific lithologies or strata in a report and then save them in templates, perhaps for a given client, to reuse as presentation standards in the future.

Now becoming successful in the application of Surfer, Voxler and Strater to perform nearly all of the same oil & gas mapping and analysis work he once did with the big-name software, Marechal says what impresses him most about the Golden Software products (after affordability) is their versatility.

“They can be used in a variety of industries that is geologically based, including groundwater hydrology and structural engineering,” said Marechal, adding that Geo-Libre Inc. plans to next deploy the Golden software products in an upcoming mineral exploration project.

Exceeding expectations

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