Reverse time migration (RTM) has been widely used for imaging complex subsurface structures in oil and gas exploration. However, because only the adjoint of the forward Born modeling operator is applied to the seismic data in RTM, the output migration profile is biased in terms of amplitude. To help partially balance the amplitude performance, the RTM image can be preconditioned with the inverse of the diagonal of the Hessian operator. Yet, existing preconditioning methods do not correctly consider receiver-side effects, assuming that the receiver coverage is infinite or the velocity model is constant. Therefore, we have provided a comparative study aiming to give a clearer understanding on the importance of incorporating receiver-side effects by developing a frequency-domain scattering-integral reverse time migration (SI-RTM). In our SI-RTM, the diagonal of the Hessian operator is explicitly computed in its exact formulation, and the source-side wavefield and receiver-side Green’s functions are obtained by solving the two-way wave equation. The computational cost is relatively affordable when compared with the more expensive least-squares RTM. In the comparative counterpart, the diagonal of the Hessian operator is approximated by the source-side illumination. We perform two synthetic numerical examples using an overthrust model and a complex reservoir model; the final migration images were significantly improved when receiver-side effects were accurately considered. A third application of SI-RTM on one field data set acquired from the East China Sea further demonstrates the importance of incorporating receiver-side effects in normalizing the RTM image. Our findings are expected to provide a theoretical basis for improving the ability of RTM imaging of subsurface structures, thereby critically advancing the application of geophysical techniques for imaging complex environments.

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