ABSTRACT

The Tahiti field is a recent major development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The field’s prolific Miocene reservoir section lies below a thick salt canopy with structural dips as high as 80 degrees, adjacent to a near-vertical salt root. Successful appraisal and initial development was enabled by interpretation of proprietary depth imaging products generated from narrow-azimuth seismic data. However, reservoir-scale mapping and fault definition remained problematic due to seismic imaging and illumination challenges. In 2009–2010, the Tahiti partnership initiated a reimaging project using multiclient wide-azimuth seismic data. The project employed current technologies for multiple attenuation, tilted transverse isotropy velocity modeling, and migration. Increased azimuthal coverage and inherent multiple suppression provided by wide azimuth acquisition delivered significant imaging enhancements. Advanced noise and multiple attenuation techniques provided cleaner data with improved signal-to-noise. Earth models representing multiazimuth subsurface velocities and anisotropy parameters calibrated to well control with detailed salt interpretation resulted in higher confidence structural imaging. Comparison of Gaussian beam, one-way wave equation, and reverse time migration algorithms shows that reverse time migration generally provides superior subsalt and salt-body data quality, with improved event positioning, higher resolution, and enhanced steep dip imaging. The resulting seismic volumes enable accurate mapping of reservoir horizons and faulting. This will improve resource determination and future well placement in the next phase of field development.

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