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Applying full-azimuth angle domain imaging to study carbonate reefs at great depthsNormal access

Authors: Bazar Eskozha, Marat Aimagambetov, Andrey Kondratenko, Vladimir Sementsov, Vladimir Pankratov, Aigule Kuanysheva, Alexander Inozemtsev, Vadim Soloviev and Zvi Koren
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 35, No 3, March 2017 pp. 77 - 83
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.41Mb )
Price: € 30

The main goal of the seismic surveys conducted in the target area in Kazakhstan was to image and detect a major Devonian carbonate barrier reef and to characterize the density and orientation of its main fracture zones. This area is unique in that the carbonate layers occur at great depths, from 5700 to 8500 m, with a complex structure of overburden layers of interbedded clay, sandstone, salt and others (Table 1). These different lithology plays and morphology rocks create strong vertical and lateral velocity variations, resulting in a complex seismic wave phenomenon. In addition, the target carbonate structures contain heterogeneous objects and require high-quality processing of the recorded data. Under such conditions, it is crucial to use full-azimuth, long-offset and dense (high fold) acquisition patterns. Advanced processing sequence tools and high-end depth migrations are required to handle both strong heterogeneity and azimuthal anisotropy effects. Traditional Kirchhoff migrations, even the most accurate ones (wavefront reconstruction, beam), have not been able to provide the required image quality and level of detail required at the target zones (Figure 1). Conventional Kirchhoff migrations generate surface offset-azimuth/offset domain common image gathers (CIG). In this particularly complex area, the correlation between the surface offset-azimuths and the actual, in situ, subsurface slowness-azimuths (azimuth of the incidence/reflected ray pairs at the image points) is relatively poor, leading to significant errors in the estimation of fracture orientation. Additionally, Kirchhoff migrations do not account for multi-pathing (multi-wave path solutions between image points and surface source/receiver locations), which is essential when imaging in areas involving complex wave phenomena. Kirchhoff beam migrations map surface beams with given directions backward to the subsurface. Since they account for the multi-pathing, they provide better results. However, they normally generate the same type of surface offset-azimuth/offset CIGs and therefore cannot be accurately used for azimuthal studies. They also cannot ensure sufficient subsurface illumination, especially at the complex target subsurface regions.

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