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NESTVOLD, E. O., Consultant, Dallas, TX

ABSTRACT: 3D Seismic Technology: Impact on Exploration and Production

Since the first 3D survey 18 years ago, the power of 3D seismic to produce high-resolution images of the subsurface has been thoroughly proven. In addition to its initial use for structural mapping, 3D seismic is used increasingly to evaluate trends in reservoir quality.

There are now enough surveys progressed beyond the appraisal drilling and development planning stage for a critical assessment of the value of this technology to be made. There is a growing consensus that indeed 3D provides excellent value for money. Nowadays, it is recognized that 3D is a powerful tool for appraising a field and for providing valuable input into the development plan.

Furthermore, we are increasingly aware that the use of this technology is a good exploration strategy. Concession holders are now prepared to plan surveys over prospective, but undrilled, areas. In fact, early investment in 3D surveys can shorten the time required for development planning, and result in increased profitability.

Most probably, 3D will become an even more significant part of the total geophysical effort in the future with surveys planned earlier in the exploration/appraisal/development cycle, and with each survey covering a larger area. Technical advances will continue to brig improvements in subsurface resolution. Improved quality control, coupled with ever more powerful computers, will bring about significant reduction in turnaround times.

Examples will demonstrate the fundamental impact of these surveys, especially when done early in the exploration phase but also when surveys are commissioned for mature fields.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90988©1993 AAPG/SVG International Congress and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela, March 14-17, 1993.