Abstract

From 2015 through 2018, BP acquired six large-scale 3D vertical seismic profile (VSP) data sets at their Gulf of Mexico assets, two at each of the Thunder Horse, Mad Dog, and Atlantis fields. The acquisition of these large-scale data sets was enabled by the development of a 100-level wireline tool and the adoption of simultaneous shooting. With those two developments, it became feasible to acquire data sets with the coverage and data density needed to build high-quality images of the subsurface using 3D VSP acquisitions. There have been recent advances in finite difference modeling to guide the survey design and the high-quality processing that is required to create the 3D VSP image volumes. These volumes have two main advantages over conventional surface seismic data. First, in 3D VSP acquisition, the receiver can be located below the overlying salt bodies, which allows for illumination of the reservoirs that cannot be achieved using surface seismic data. Second, the location of the receivers closer to the imaging targets enables higher frequency content of the resulting VSP data compared to conventional surface seismic images. Both imaging enhancements can have a significant business value, and the resulting VSP data sets have demonstrated a clear impact on business decisions. In the three case studies, we demonstrate the business impact of the 3D VSP data acquired through improvement of imaging of stratigraphic edges, improved interpretation of fault geometry and orientation, and related improvement of the quality of well planning and targeting. We conclude with discussion on cost, global impact, and present recommendations and lessons learned for future surveys.

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