Shallow Hazard Solutions

GEMS’ roots are in 3-D and 2-D high-resolution seismic data interpretation and the use of the data for conducting geohazards assessments throughout the world’s marine environments. 3-D data and 2-D, high-resolution geophysical data (including deepwater AUV-collected data) are used in many projects to provide high-resolution ensonification of the seafloor, and greater detailed analyses in the foundation zone, especially for shallow hazard assessments and exploratory wellsite permitting.

GEMS’ shallow hazards team has worked on hundreds of deepwater projects in various geologic settings.   Our staff offers a wide range of capabilities and specializes in the following:

  • Assessing seafloor conditions, stratigraphy, and geologic processes
  • Interpretation and mapping of geologic and man-made constraints with 3-D and 2-D high-resolution geophysical data
  • Assessing wellsite locations, mooring spreads, anchor locations, and foundation zones
  • Produce supporting maps to show water depth, topography, shallow structure, and seafloor and shallow geologic conditions and features in an area that may have impact on drilling
  • Prepare final reports needed for permit application to governmental and insurance agencies

GEMS can take a geohazard study a step further through our integrated studies and cross-disciplinary teams by supporting the field development design and installation processes.  Check out our Integrated Solutions for more information on these types of projects.


Desktop and Planning Solutions

GEMS’ Desktop Studies provide a comprehensive preliminary analysis of a desired location.  These studies are the compilation of proprietary and public data to develop initial pipeline routing corridors.

GEM’s Planning Studies expand on findings from the Desktop Study by incorporating additional data and researching the area in more detail.  Planning Studies are founded on an understanding of the seafloor, shallow stratigraphy, and soil conditions, and how these conditions will impact the selection of pipeline routes and other seabed infrastructure. GEMS has reliable information available to make plans and recommendations in our GIS database. GEMS has access to various GIS platforms, allowing us to be efficient in managing project data, yet flexible in our application and client support. The GEMS staff works closely with the clients’ scientific specialists to select project-appropriate data sets for use in the planning studies.

Our staff routinely provides expertise that includes:

  • Feasibility studies to address site or route conditions
  • Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies support
  • Optimized scope of future site investigations
  • Foundation alternatives for conceptual design
  • Span analysis input data for pipeline designers
  • Seismic hazard assessment
  • Risk assessment to address potential adverse effects upon siting, design, construction, or operation

Integrated Solutions


Over the last decade, GEMS has assembled a diverse team of professionals with proven expertise in the art of seafloor geoscience and engineering. We work with our clients to:

  • Acquire exploratory drilling permits
  • Define geohazards that pose risks and constraints to seabed facilities
  • Analyze and help select the most appropriate foundation alternatives

Our integrated method provides many financial benefits and added value for our clients that include:

  • Expediting project completion
  • Identifying of potential design constraints early
  • Optimizing the scope and cost of geophysical and geotechnical surveys


Our cross-disciplinary team works closely with our clients and the design team to develop a clear understanding of the project area. Our team is responsible for:

  • Defining the stratigraphic section using available 3D seismic data to mitigate shallow exploratory drilling risks
  • Providing pipeline routing and field layout guidance using existing geologic and geotechnical data
  • Managing all data and project infrastructure in GIS format throughout the project
  • Interpreting critical geologic and geotechnical parameters that define the spatial and temporal processes affecting foundation design of all the facilities interacting with the seafloor
  • Developing three-dimensional geologic models to better define seafloor and subsurface conditions and constraints
  • Documenting the geologic setting and processes that produced the geotechnical properties of the subsurface soils
  • Planning and optimizing the scope of the geophysical and geotechnical field and laboratory programs using all existing geoscience and engineering data
  • Performing detailed analyses and design of foundation elements
  • Analyzing, evaluating, and recommending optimum drilling and foundation locations and types, avoiding geohazards that pose costly installation and foundation risks

The ultimate benefit to the end user is a reduction in overall cost to the offshore development. GEMS takes pride in participating and providing a multi-disciplined approach to these projects. We have changed our way of looking at the seafloor knowing that the art of seafloor engineering is most effective when the depositional and structural evolution of the subsea geology is more clearly portrayed.