Abstract

We describe a new shortcut strategy for imaging the sediments and salt edge around a salt flank through an overburden salt canopy. We tested its performance and capabilities on 2D synthetic acoustic seismic data from a Gulf of Mexico style model. We first redatumed surface shots, using seismic interferometry, from a walkaway vertical seismic profile survey as if the source and receiver pairs had been located in the borehole at the positions of the receivers. This process creates effective downhole shot gathers by completely moving surface shots through the salt canopy, without any knowledge of overburden velocity structure. After redatuming, we can apply multiple passes of prestack migration from the reference datum of the bore-hole. In our example, first-pass migration, using only a simple vertical velocity gradient model, reveals the outline of the salt edge. A second pass of reverse-time, prestack depth migration using full two-way wave equation was performed with an updated velocity model that consisted of the velocity gradient and salt dome. The second-pass migration brings out dipping sediments abutting the salt flank because these reflectors were illuminated by energy that bounced off the salt flank, forming prismatic reflections. In this target-oriented strategy, the computationally fast redatuming process eliminates the need for the traditional complex process of velocity estimation, model building, and iterative depth migration to remove effects of the salt canopy and surrounding overburden. This might allow this strategy to be used in the field in near real time.

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