Making the transition from discrete shot records to continuous seismic records and source wavefields, and its potential impact on survey efficiency and environmental footprint
S. Hegna, T. Kluver, J. Lima and J.F. Wisløff
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 67, No 6, July 2019 pp. 1472 - 1485
Info: Article, PDF ( 14.37Mb )
A marine seismic method based on continuous source and receiver wavefields has been developed. The method requires continuous recording of the seismic data. The source that may consist of multiple source elements can emit signals continuously while moving. The ideal source wavefield to be used with this method should be as white as possible both in a temporal and a spatial sense to avoid deep notches in the spectrum enabling a stable multi-dimensional deconvolution. White noise has such properties. However, equipment that can generate white noise does not exist. In order to generate a continuous source wavefield that is approaching the properties of white noise using existing equipment onboard marine seismic vessels, individual air-guns can be triggered with short randomized time intervals in a near-continuous fashion. The main potential benefits with the method are to reduce the environmental impact of marine seismic surveys and to improve acquisition efficiency. The peak sound pressure levels are significantly reduced by triggering one air-gun at a time compared to conventional marine seismic sources. Sound exposure levels are also reduced in most directions. Since the method is based on continuous recording of seismic data and the air-guns are triggered based on time and not based on position, there are less vessel speed limitations compared to conventional marine seismic data acquisition. Also, because the source wavefield is spread out in time, the wavefields emitted from source elements in different cross-line positions can be designed such that the emitted wavefield is spatially white in this direction. This means that source elements in multiple cross-line positions can be operated simultaneously, potentially improving the cross-line sampling and/or the acquisition efficiency.