Paper Summary

We present a case study of enhanced imaging of wideazimuth data from the Gulf of Mexico utilizing recent technologies; and we discuss the resulting improvements in image quality, especially in subsalt areas, relative to previous results. The input seismic data sets are taken from many large-scale wide-azimuth surveys and conventional narrowazimuth surveys located in the Mississippi Canyon and Atwater Valley areas. In the course of developing the enhanced wide azimuth processing flow, the following three key steps are found to have the most impact on improving subsalt imaging: (1) 3D true azimuth surface-related multiple elimination (SRME) to remove multiple energy, in particular, complex multiples beneath salt; (2) reverse-time migration (RTM) based delayed imaging time (DIT) scans to update the complex subsalt velocity model; and (3) tilted transverse isotropic (TTI) RTM to improve image quality. Our research focuses on the depth imaging aspects of the project, with particular emphasis on the application of the DIT scanning technique. The DIT-scan technique further improves the accuracy of the subsalt velocity model after conventional ray-based subsalt tomography has been performed. We also demonstrate the uplift obtained by acquiring a wide-azimuth data set relative to a standard narrow-azimuth data set, and how orthogonal wide-azimuth is able to enhance the subsalt illumination.