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Is 3-D Seismic Data the Bass-Finder of Oil and Gas?--Examples of some “honey-holes” in Southwest Alabama

K. B. Hill
Hill Geophysical Consulting, Shreveport, LA

The market place for oil and gas deals has undergone a rapid and dramatic change. Buyers of deals want the “perfect deal” with no risk. The best way to do this is to integrate a proper geologic model with a properly acquired, processed, and interpreted 3-D seismic program. It is sort of like going fishing with a good bass-finder. If you go to the best spots, but your bass-finder doesn’t see any fish, you should move on. When you see the action on your bass-finder, you can be assured that you have a much better chance of making the “BIG” catch.

The 3-D seismic tool helps in locating the elusive structural and stratigraphic traps that are hiding in the murky sub-surface “honeyholes” of the world. A prime example of the success of 3-D seismic is found in the Southwest Alabama Jurassic trend. Over the past 12 years over 350 square miles of 3-D seismic data has been acquired in the up-dip Jurassic trend of Monroe, Baldwin, and Escambia Counties, Alabama. Wells drilled with the help of 3-D seismic programs have yielded a success ratio of over 85%, and resulted in new reserves of over 50 MMBO. With a cost of about $40 MM for the seismic and returns of well over $750 MM for the product, it is quite evident that the project is an economic success.

A comparison of 2-D versus 3-D seismic data will be shown over existing fields. Examples of successes and failures of exploration with 3-D seismic will be covered.

Although a bass-finder can help you find the fish, you have to know what bait to use to catch them. A brief discussion of the importance of having the “expert guide” (with geological and geophysical knowledge) with the expertise of how to use the tools will conclude the talk.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90901©2001 GCAGS, Annual Meeting, Shreveport, Louisiana