The Triangle Ranch Headquarters Canyon Reef field is long and narrow and in an area where near-surface evaporites and associated collapse features degrade seismic data quality and interpretational reliability. Below this disturbed section, the structure of rocks is similar to the deeper Canyon Reef structure. The shallow structure exhibits very gentle relief and can be mapped by drilling shallow holes on a broad grid. The shallow structural interpretation provides a valuable reference datum for mapping, as well as providing a basis for planning a seismic program. By computing an isopach between the variable seismic datum and the Canyon Reef reflection and subtracting the isopach map from the datum map, we map Canyon Reef structure. The datum map is extrapolated from the shallow core holes.In the area, near-surface complexities produce seis-mic noise and severe static variations. The crux of the exploration problem is to balance seismic signal-to-noise ratio and geologic resolution. Adequate geologic resolution is impossible without understanding the exploration target. As we understood the target better, we modified our seismic acquisition parameters. Studying examples of data with high signal-to-noise ratio and poor resolution and examples of better defined structure on apparently noisier data led us to design an acquisition program for resolution and to reduce noise with arithmetic processes that do not reduce structural resolution.Combining acquisition and processing parameters for optimum structural resolution with the isopach mapping method has improved wildcat success from about 1 in 20 to better than 1 in 2. It has also enabled an 80 percent development drilling success ratio as opposed to slightly over 50 percent in all previous drilling.

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