The latest information about the SEG Advanced Modeling (SEAM) Corporation and its projects is available at http://www.seg.org/SEAM/.
The SEG is a not-for-profit professional society with more than 30,000 members and the mission “to advance the science and technology of applied geophysics.” One of SEG’s several volunteer committees is the Research Committee, with membership composed of interested individuals from corporate research centers, technology start-ups, national laboratories, and universities. During the mid-1990s, this committee organized a volunteer effort to create two 3D earth models and simulated seismic data sets — the SEG/EAGE Salt and Overthrust Models (Aminzadeh et al. 1997). The computing facilities were provided for free, and the project took substantially longer to complete than anticipated. The result was a data set that spurred much successful research in seismic imaging and that still today occasionally shows up in academic research papers. SEG’s only regret was that this was a “one-off’ activity. Computing technology has advanced. Seismic acquisition and imaging technology has advanced. There are many big challenges (not only deepwater subsalt) that would benefit from collaborative earth modeling and geophysical simulations.
In 2005, the SEG Research Committee recommended the concept of SEAM to SEG’s Executive Committee. The intent was to establish a repeatable approach in which one modeling/simulation effort would be followed by another. The focus of each project would be driven by industry need. A research consortia would be formed in which modeling challenges would be broadly shared. Participants would pay a set amount during specific finite-duration projects.
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SEAM Phase I: Challenges of Subsalt Imaging in Tertiary Basins, with Emphasis on Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
“SEAM is a collaborative industrial research effort dedicated to largescale, geophysical numerical simulation projects. The projects are designed to provide the geosciences exploration community with earth models and simulated data that represent significant geophysical challenges of high business value to the petroleum resource industry. The Phase I project produced a deepwater subsalt earth model designed to capture as much physics and realism as possible in a 3D model that was relevant to oil and gas exploration. The 3D model covers a 40 õ 35 õ 15 km area and includes a complex salt intrusive in a folded Tertiary basin. The primary deliverable was the seismic data set of variable density acoustic simulations consisting of 200 TB of uncompressed traces for over 60,000 shots. Also delivered to the participants were several smaller compressed subsets of these data (“classic” data sets) intended for easier handling, simpler distribution to third parties, and easier comparison of imaging tests results. This report covers how the prime objectives of Phase I were met. Details are outlined in chapters on Model Development, Numerical Design and Vendor Qualification, Acquisition Design, Production Simulations, Quality Control, and Data Storage and Distribution.”