Abstract

Salt basins, mainly Tertiary basins with mobilized salt, are notoriously difficult places to explore because of the traditionally poor seismic images typically obtained around and below salt bodies. In areas where the salt structures are extremely complex, the seismic signal-to-noise ratio may still be limited and, therefore, complicate the estimation of the velocity field variations that could be used to migrate the seismic data correctly and recover a good image suitable for prospect generation. We have evaluated the results of an integrated seismic-electromagnetic (EM) two-step interpretation workflow that we applied to a broadband marine controlled-source EM (mCSEM) research survey acquired over a selected ultra-deepwater area of Espirito Santo Basin, Brazil. The presence of shallow allochthonous salt structures makes around salt and subsalt seismic depth imaging remarkably challenging. To illustrate the proposed workflow, we have concentrated on a subdomain of the mCSEM data set, in which a shallow allochthonous salt body has been interpreted before. In the first step, we applied a 3D pixel-based inversion to the mCSEM data intending to recover the first guess of the geometry and resistivity of the salt body, but also the background resistivity. As a starting model, we used a resistivity mesh given by seismic interpretation and resistivity information provided by available nearby wells. Then, we applied a structure-based inversion to the mCSEM data, in which the retrieved model in step one was used as an input. The goal of that second inversion was to recover the base of the salt interface. The top of the salt and the background resistivities remained fixed throughout the process. As a result, we were able to define better the base of the allochthonous salt body. That was reinterpreted approximately 300–700 m shallower than interpreted from narrow azimuth seismic.

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