Seismic Applications

Some remarkable breakthroughs in data quality have been shared in recent reviews, and the ongoing technical developments in data acquisition and processing remain truly exciting. With an ever-growing toolbox of geophysical technologies, selecting the right technology solution, however, can be challenging. Fueled by many published success stories—for instance, about marine broadband streamer seismic or wide-azimuth surveys combined with reverse time migration—business expectations about achievable data quality and turnaround times are high.

At the same time, the industry has to respond to increased public concerns about the effect of seismic activities on the environment. Tighter environmental and safety regulations are evolving for all areas, and, more than ever before, the industry has to demonstrate that seismic operations are managed in a responsible way. Detailed planning and survey design are needed to reduce the operational footprint and to minimize the environmental impact. The effect of sound and seismic measurements on marine life has been and remains a particular focus. Continued joint industry research efforts including environmental studies and marine source technologies have to alleviate public concerns and ensure that the dialogue with the public and regulators is supported by adequate scientific evidence.

Scalable data-acquisition solutions are essential to meeting the high demands on data quality, survey productivity, reduced environmental impact, and cost. Scalable technologies enable smart, flexible, and cost-efficient survey designs that cope with the operational conditions and environmental constraints in the field while still meeting all processing and imaging requirements. The optimal balance between source and receiver efforts will always be a key design parameter, though the actual ratio obviously will vary with changing environments, survey sizes, and acquisition techniques.

Ocean-bottom seismic surveys with cables or autonomous nodes do not yet offer the high channel count of advanced streamer seismic and generally depend on higher source efforts compared with towed-streamer seismic. For onshore surveys, the source density and achievable channel count will largely depend on terrain conditions, and solutions will differ between open desert environments and more challenging terrains with limited access.

Against this background, the papers selected for this review should provide interesting examples for exploration, development, or reservoir monitoring in various settings and terrains. The commonality in the selected papers is the ability to tailor technology solutions to the dominating technical, operational, and environmental challenges, and to the prevailing business challenges. A career in geophysics has never been as integrated, as challenging, as interesting, and as rewarding as it is today.

This Month's Technical Papers

Subsalt Imaging in the Kaombo Development, Angola

Innovative Processing of 3D Land-Seismic Data

Instantaneous 4D Seismic Used to Monitor Offshore Water-Injector Wells

Recommended Additional Reading

IPTC 16907 Seismic-Velocity Uncertainty Analysis in an Underexplored Basin by R. Bacenetti, Eni, et al.

IPTC 16804 Variable-Depth Streamer: Benefits for Rock-Property Inversion by L. Michel, CGG Veritas, et al.

IPTC 16763 Marine Seismic Acquisition at Scott Reef, Western Australia: Minimizing Environmental Impacts in a Sensitive and Remote Location by Mark Taylor, Woodside Energy, et al.

Gerd Kleemeyer, SPE, is manager of integrated geophysical services in Shell’s Global Solutions Upstream organization in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. During his 19 years with Shell, he has worked on exploration and development projects in the Netherlands, Norway, UK, and Russia and as geophysical consultant for global new venture exploration. Kleemeyer holds an MS degree from the Technical University of Clausthal, Germany. He is a member of the JPT Editorial Committee.

Seismic Applications

Gerd Kleemeyer, SPE, Manager of Integrated Geophysical Services, Shell

01 March 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 3