Abstract

A 3D gravity model was developed in the western Gulf of Mexico in the East Breaks and Alaminos Canyon protraction areas. This model integrated 3D seismic, gravity, and well data; it was constructed in support of a proprietary seismic reprocessing project and was updated iteratively with seismic. The gravity model was built from seismic horizons of the bathymetry, salt layers, and the acoustic basement; however, the latter was only possible to map in seismic data during the latest iterations. In addition, a deep layer representing the Moho boundary was derived from gravity and constrained by public-domain refraction data. A 3D density distribution was derived from the seismic velocity volume using a modified Gardner equation. The modification comprised imposing a depth dependency on the Gardner coefficient, which is constant in the classic Gardner equation. The modified coefficient was derived from well data in the study area and public-domain velocity-density data sets. The forward-calculated gravity response of the composed density model was then compared with the observed gravity field, and the mismatch was analyzed jointly by a seismic interpreter and a gravity modeler. Adjustments were then made to the gravity model to ensure that the resultant salt model was geologically reasonable and supported by gravity, seismic, and well data sets. The output of the gravity modeling was subsequently applied to the next phase of seismic processing. Overall, this integration resulted in a more robust salt model, which has led to significant improvements in subsalt seismic imaging. The analysis of the regional trend in the observed gravity field suggested that a stretched continental crust underlay our seismic reprocessing area, with an oceanic-continental transition zone located to the southeast of our reprocessing region.

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