Hydrocarbon detection is always one of the most critical sections in geophysical exploration, which plays an important role in subsequent hydrocarbon production. However, due to the low signal-to-noise ratio and weak reflection amplitude of deep seismic data, some conventional methods do not always provide favorable hydrocarbon prediction results. The interesting dolomite reservoirs in Central Sichuan are buried over an average depth of 4500 m, and the dolomite rocks have a low porosity below approximately 4%, which is measured by well-logging data. Furthermore, the dominant system of pores and fractures as well as strong heterogeneity along the lateral and vertical directions lead to some difficulties in describing the reservoir distribution. Spectral decomposition (SD) has become successful in illuminating subsurface features and can also be used to identify potential hydrocarbon reservoirs by detecting low-frequency shadows. However, the current applications for hydrocarbon detection always suffer from low resolution for thin reservoirs, probably due to the influence of the window function and without a prior constraint. To address this issue, we developed sparse inverse SD (SISD) based on the wavelet transform, which involves a sparse constraint of time-frequency spectra. We focus on investigating the applications of sparse spectral attributes derived from SISD to deep marine dolomite hydrocarbon detection from a 3D real seismic data set with an area of approximately 300  km2. We predict and evaluate gas-bearing zones in two target reservoir segments by analyzing and comparing the spectral amplitude responses of relatively high- and low-frequency components. The predicted results indicate that most favorable gas-bearing areas are located near the northeast fault zone in the upper reservoir segment and at the relatively high structural positions in the lower reservoir segment, which are in good agreement with the gas-testing results of three wells in the study area.

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