Abstract

Marine controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) surveying has been in commercial use for predrill reservoir appraisal and hydrocarbon exploration for 10years. Although a recent decrease has occurred in the number of surveys and publications associated with this technique, the method has become firmly established as an important geophysical tool in the offshore environment. This is a consequence of two important aspects associated with the physics of the method: First, it is sensitive to high electrical resistivity, which, although not an unambiguous indicator of hydrocarbons, is an important property of economically viable reservoirs. Second, although the method lacks the resolution of seismic wave propagation, it has a much better intrinsic resolution than potential-field methods such as gravity and magnetic surveying, which until now have been the primary nonseismic data sets used in offshore exploration. Although by many measures marine CSEM is still in its infancy, the reliability and noise floors of the instrument systems have improved significantly over the last decade, and interpretation methodology has progressed from simple anomaly detection to 3D anisotropic inversion of multicomponent data using some of the world's fastest supercomputers. Research directions presently include tackling the airwave problem in shallow water by applying time-domain methodology, continuous profiling tools, and the use of CSEM for reservoir monitoring during production.

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