The use of near-seafloor 3D seismic data in deepwater exploration and production
G. S. Steffens, R. C. Shipp, B. E. Prather, J. A. Nott, J. L. Gibson, C. D. Winker, 2004. "The use of near-seafloor 3D seismic data in deepwater exploration and production", 3D Seismic Technology: Application to the Exploration of Sedimentary Basins, Richard J. Davies, Joseph A. Cartwright, Simon A. Stewart, Mark Lappin, John R. Underhill
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The analysis of 3D seismic data in the near-seafloor interval is a useful speciality in deepwater exploration and production. In addition to the well-established benefits of 3D seismic data, the higher frequency content of near-seafloor data has a variety of applications throughout the life cycle of deepwater plays. These benefits include: (1) depositional process modelling, (2) stratal architectural information for building reservoir models, and (3) drilling hazard assessment.
Detailed mapping of well-imaged 3D seismic intervals in the near-seafloor interval is providing new insights to deepwater depositional processes and architectures. Depositional patterns are more confidently identified in near-seafloor settings, enabling the investigation of testable relationships between stratal stacking patterns, gradient changes and accommodation. These relationships as well as spatial and geometric information from these data are useful for building and constraining reservoir models, linking key observations from subsurface data at prospective levels with fine-scale outcrop analogue data. In particular, near-seafloor 3D data can image surfaces related to episodes of aggradation, starvation, bypass, and/or erosion that are typically hard to recognize or map at exploration depths, but are critical in controlling reservoir bed-length and connectivity in three dimensions. Near-seafloor 3D seismic data can supplement or even replace traditional 2D-based site surveys for assessing potential drilling hazards. Although usually lower in vertical resolution than 2D site survey data, 3D data have the distinct advantage of better imaging of 3D geometric bodies, providing insight into complex stratal stacking patterns, and allowing data volume manipulation and perspective.
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A ‘new age’ of subsurface geological mapping that is just as far ranging in scope as the frontier source geological mapping campaigns of the past two centuries in emerging. It is the direct result of the advent of 2D, and subsequently 3D, seismic data paralleled by advances in seismic acquisition and processing over the past three decades. Subsurface mapping is fuelled by the economic drive to explore and recover hydrocarbons but inevitably it will lead to major conceptual advances in Earth sciences, across a broader range of disciplines than those made during the 2D seismic revolution of the 1970s. Now that 3D seismic data coverage has increased and the technology is widely available we are poised to mine the full intellectual and economic benefits. This book illustrates how 3D seismic technology is being used to understand depositional systems and stratigraphy, structural and igneous geology, in developing and producing from hydrocarbon reservoirs and also what recent technological advances have been made. This technological journey is a fast-moving one where the remaining scientific potential still far exceeds the scope of the advances made thus far. This book explores the breadth of the opportunities that lie ahead as well as the inevitable accompanying challeges.