To reveal potential oil and natural gas reservoirs

FairfieldNodal, an oil and gas seismic company based in Sugar Land, Texas, says it wants to search for undiscovered oil and gas several miles offshore Elmer's Island, Grand Isle and the Grand Terre Islands in the Gulf of Mexico, an area covering about 20,000 acres.

The work is part of a larger seismic imaging project that spans offshore areas of Lafourche, Plaquemines and Terrebonne parishes as well as federal waters further off the coast.

Seismic imaging involves bouncing sound waves off of underground rock structures to reveal potential oil and natural gas reservoirs.

FairfieldNodal Senior Vice President Roger Keyte said much of seismic work along the Louisiana coast was completed decades ago with outdated technology.

Keyte said the company wants to use newer methods to identify oil and gas that companies may have left behind after all the easy-to-find deposits were tapped.

"We believe there is a lot of undiscovered oil and gas both in state waters and federal waters offshore," Keyte said. "It's just a question of getting the seismic technology up to the level where one can see the structures and work on it so the oil industry knows where to drill."

Activity on the Outer Continental Shelf off the Louisiana coast has waned in recent decades as oil and gas companies have moved into deeper waters to find larger and more lucrative oilfields.

But older Shelf fields are again generating interest, particularly as so-called unconventional drilling techniques make it more affordable to get to harder to reach oil and gas underground.

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