Abstract

Full-waveform inversion (FWI) has the potential to be a game changer for the seismic industry since it produces accurate velocity models at a resolution that cannot be matched by conventional traveltime tomography, with the additional advantage that it runs on basically raw data. Today, these two features should be better exploited to maximize the business value that FWI can deliver to an oil and gas operator. Provided that we acquire adequate data sets, FWI can be run starting from a smooth velocity model so that traveltime tomography is completely bypassed. As very little processing is required, FWI can be executed in parallel with the main preprocessing efforts, with the results of shortening considerably the overall project turnaround. For imaging purposes, FWI can be limited to the low-frequency range (∼ 10 Hz) but if run in the high-frequency range (∼ 30 Hz), FWI velocities have such a resolution that they can be used directly for interpretation. In particular, applications in the field of pore-pressure prediction and shallow hazard have great potential. In the current implementation, the main limitations are linked to data quality and computational power, but both these issues can be adequately addressed.

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