ABSTRACT

Seismic imaging in salt geology is complicated by highly contrasted velocity fields and irregular salt geometries, which cause complex seismic wavefield scattering. Although the imaging challenges can be addressed by advanced imaging algorithms, a fundamental problem remains in the determination of robust velocity fields in high-noise conditions. Conventional migration velocity analysis is often ineffective, and even the most advanced methods for depth-domain velocity analysis, such as full-waveform inversion, require starting from a good initial estimate of the velocity model to converge to a correct result. Nonseismic methods, such as electromagnetics, can help guide the generation of robust velocity models to be used for further processing. Using the multiphysics data acquired in the deepwater section of the Red Sea, we apply a controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) resistivity-regularized seismic velocity inversion for enhancing the velocity model in a complex area dominated by nappe-style salt tectonics. The integration is achieved by a rigorous approach of multiscaled inversions looping over model dimensions (1D first, followed by 3D), variable offsets and increasing frequencies, data-driven and interpretation-supported approaches, leading to a hierarchical inversion guided by a parameter sensitivity analysis. The final step of the integration consists of the inversion of seismic traveltimes subject to CSEM model constraints in which a common-structure coupling mechanism is used. Minimization is performed over the seismic data residuals and cross-gradient objective functions without inverting for the resistivity model, which is used as a reference for the seismic inversion (hierarchical approach). Results are demonstrated through depth imaging in which the velocity model derived through CSEM-regularized hierarchical inversion outperforms the results of a seismic-only derived velocity model.

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