The SEAM Phase I Subsalt Earth Model is a 3D representation of a deepwater Gulf of Mexico salt domain, complete with fine-scale stratigraphy and fluid-filled reservoirs. The model measures 35 km east-west by 40 km north-south by 15-km depth. A pictorial overview of the model is shown in file PhIEarthModelReport_Day_ AM2009.ppt, which was presented at the SEAM workshop in October 2009.
SEAM’s mission is to produce earth models and simulations on those models to advance the state of the art in multiple disciplines over a multiyear period. Phase I pushed the limits of model building. The model is not only large, but it also is highly complex with realistic faults, overturned beds, overhanging salt, density diffractors to generate diffracted multiples, turbidite fans, and braided stream channels reservoirs. Some compromises had to be made due to limitations of model-building tools available. (See “Model Construction Methodology” for details.) There was some limited progress in this area during Phase I, but much more could be done. We tried to make the best model we could for the SEAM project, given the limitations in hardware, software, and time available. The following sections point out the areas where compromises were made and where there are open areas for development. There is a joke about cabinetmakers that goes something like this: The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional does not point out his mistakes in a project. If our goal as an industry is to learn and improve, then we need