There has been a recent increase in the use of controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) surveys in the exploration for oil and gas. We developed a modeling scheme for 3D CSEM modeling in the frequency domain. The electric field was decomposed in primary and secondary components to eliminate the singularity originated by the source term. The primary field was calculated using a closed form solution, and the secondary field was computed discretizing a second-order partial differential equation for the electric field with the edge finite element. The solution to the linear system of equations was obtained using a massive parallel multifrontal solver, because such solvers are robust for indefinite and ill-conditioned linear systems. Recent trends in parallel computing were investigated for their use in mitigating the computational overburden associated with the use of a direct solver, and of its feasibility for 3D CSEM forward modeling with the edge finite element. The computation of the primary field was parallelized, over the computational domain and the number of sources, using a hybrid model of parallelism. When using a direct solver, the attainment of multisource solutions was only competitive if the same factors are used to achieve a solution for multi right-hand sides. This aspect was also investigated using the presented methodology. We tested our proposed approach using 1D and 3D synthetic models, and they demonstrated that it is robust and suitable for 3D CSEM modeling using a distributed memory system. The codes could thus be used to help design new surveys, as well to estimate subsurface conductivities through the implementation of an appropriate inversion scheme.

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