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AAPG GEO 2010 Middle East
Geoscience Conference & Exhibition
Innovative Geoscience Solutions – Meeting Hydrocarbon Demand in Changing Times
March 7-10, 2010 – Manama, Bahrain

A New Era in Land Seismic for the Middle East and Beyond

Timothy Keho1; Panos Kelamis1

(1) Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In the recent past, the seismic technology focus has been on the marine environment, particularly deep water. However, we are about to enter a new, exciting era in land seismic for the Middle East and beyond due to four key trends: world growth in energy demand; exploration and development focus on low-relief structures, stratigraphic traps, and horizontal well placement; advances in seismic acquisition technology; and advances in seismic processing due to continually expanding computer capability.

World population growth and rapid economic development in emerging economies will lead to greater demands for energy. This will motivate more investment in exploration and in increasing recovery factors for existing fields, which will renew interest in areas where hydrocarbon potential occurs in land environments.

As large structures are drilled, focus will turn to low-relief structures and stratigraphic traps. These play types require accurate near surface velocity models for depth conversion. The use of horizontal wells for field development will continue to grow. The high quality seismic attribute maps required for placing horizontal wells will motivate solutions for data quality problems originating in the near surface.

This new era will require solutions to near surface challenges, such as energy penetration, scattering, source generated noise, surface generated multiples, statics, and source and receiver coupling. Solutions to these problems will become possible due to advances in simultaneous source acquisition and wireless seismic driven ultra-high channel systems. Within a few years 100,000 channels will be common. These technologies will lead us to our ultimate goal - acquisition of true 3D data with point source/receiver, full azimuth, long offset, high density geometries.

Growth in computational capability will foster advances in seismic processing technology for the huge data volumes that will be one or two orders of magnitude larger than today. Advances in computer capability will make non-travel time based methods, such as full waveform inversion, practical for aiding determination of near surface velocity models. Joint inversion with micro-gravity and other non-seismic data types will become more common. Ultra-high channel counts and point receivers will create new opportunities in multi-component acquisition and processing. And finer spatial sampling will allow the near surface to be addressed more commonly as an imaging problem.