Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 940 geophysical surveying and mapping service providers in the US gather, interpret, and map geophysical data, primarily for oil and natural gas companies. Individual clients commission proprietary or exclusive surveys, which generally cover a limited area. Multi-client surveys are funded by geophysical surveying companies, which then own and market or license the data to clients.

Dependence on the Fossil Fuel Industry

Demand for geophysical surveying and mapping services is dependent on the level of spending in the oil and natural gas industry, which is cyclical and affected by global market conditions.

Uneven, Seasonal Demand

Demand for geophysical surveying and mapping services is uneven and influenced by seasonal factors.

Industry size & Structure

The average geophysical mapping and surveying provider operates out of a single location, employs about 7-8 workers and generates $1-2 million annually.

    • The geophysical mapping and surveying services industry consists of about 940 firms that employ about 6,900 workers and generate about $1.7 billion annually.
    • The industry is highly concentrated; the top 50 companies account for about 80% of industry revenue.
    • Large firms, which include Dawson Geophysical, SAExploration Holdings, Echo Seismic, Breckenride Geophysical, and Paragon Geophysical Services, often have international operations
    • Small firms typically operate one or two crews and specialize in specific regions or types of operations.
                            Industry Forecast
                            Geophysical Surveying and Mapping Services Industry Growth
                            Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                            Recent Developments

                            Jun 23, 2024 - Record High Producer Prices
                            • Producer prices for architectural and engineering services reached a record high in April, rising 2.6% compared to a year ago after climbing 3.5% in the previous annual comparison, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Strong demand for architectural and engineering services, which includes geophysical surveying and mapping, is supporting higher prices and rising industry wages. Average wages for nonsupervisory employees at architectural and engineering services rose 2.6% in April to a new high of $41.56 per hour, and employment by the industry rose 2.7% in May, BLS data show.
                            • Oil and gas extraction companies are expanding offshore drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico in part because doing so releases fewer greenhouse gases than drilling on land, The New York Times reports. Industry executives are betting on sustained demand for oil and gas for years to come and argue that offshore drilling is better for the climate than drilling on land because offshore operations emit far less greenhouse gases than producing the same amount of oil and gas on land, according to NYT. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with extracting a barrel of oil from the Gulf of Mexico are as much as a third lower than emissions from producing a barrel of oil from fields on US soil, according to a report published last year by the National Ocean Industries Association, an industry group for offshore oil, gas, and wind businesses, cited by NYT.
                            • At a March meeting with lawmakers, an EnerGeo Alliance board member testified before the US House Natural Resources Committee on the critical role of geophysical surveying and mapping services in developing low-carbon strategies, including developing offshore sites for carbon capture storage and wind farms. Alliance board member and CEO of Fairfield Geotechnologies Joe Dyer urged policymakers to prioritize efficiently permitting the geoscience surveys required to identify and monitor the storage areas and siting offshore wind facilities. “As these projects are developed, it is critical that they are sited, designed, and managed in a manner that ensures and demonstrates the long-term technical and environmental integrity of the storage or sequestration.” Dyer urged the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Biden administration to align regulations that currently exist or may be in development so that geoscience activities are analyzed and authorized under the same metrics.
                            • EnerGeo Alliance asserted there’s insufficient evidence to suggest that seismic surveys are irreparably damaging to marine life – a charge that has long plagued the industry – Engineering News reports. EnerGeo Alliance, whose members include offshore and onshore survey operators, said at a recent media briefing that geological scientists continuously research the effects of seismic surveys on marine life to understand and mitigate the impacts thereof, adding that seismic survey vessels often contribute to efforts to restore and recover marine life. It also stressed that seismic surveys always took unique considerations of the area into account, including breeding habits of rare species and seasonal factors. The group’s scientific director, Alex Loureiro, also noted that laboratory results often exaggerate the amount of time and proximity of exposure of hydrophones to animals, which do not apply to realistic exposures throughout a seismic survey, Engineering News reports.
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