Offshore: Deep compressional wave imaging improves understanding of Gulf of Mexico play

Structural features such as salt domes have frustrated operators in the Gulf of Mexico for decades. The crystalline (evaporite) nature of the salt causes it to “flow” easily, while the unconsolidated, lower-velocity sediments surrounding it are much “slower.” The resulting velocity contrasts hinders understanding of structural traps and causes ambiguity about where to position wells in relation to the salt structure. Surface seismic can span miles of formation. However, its poor vertical resolution and the combination of complex shapes of steeply dipping flanks, adjacent overburden strata, and strong acoustic impedance and velocity contrasts at the sediment-sale interface prevent surface seismic from being able to detect bedding changes in close proximity to the salt structure. Conventional borehole imaging, on the other hand, has excellent vertical resolution but its depth of investigation is limited to fractions of an inch near the borehole wall. Click the link below to read the full article.

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