Improving strategies with better seismic software

Paul Boughton

Eugene McCarthy looks at how improved seismic software is helping E&P companies to design better strategies and improve production.

CGGVeritas has launched BroadSource, its broadband marine seismic source. BroadSource is a natural complement for BroadSeis, its industry-proven broadband marine seismic solution, to produce unrivalled images of the subsurface.

BroadSource combines a synchronised multi-level source with processing algorithms that fit seamlessly into the BroadSeis workflow to fill the source ghost notch. This innovative approach generates the same low frequencies as a deep-towed conventional source and extends the spectrum to higher frequencies, providing better resolution and clearer images of the subsurface.

BroadSource reinforces the benefits of BroadSeis to deliver what the company describes as the ultimate in high-resolution, broad-bandwidth, ghost-free seismic data, achieving a bandwidth of 2.5-200Hz. The combination further improves BroadSeis image quality with a sharper broadband wavelet which clearly resolves thin beds. The best-in-class low-frequency content reveals geological details, such as layering and subtle facies and fluid variations, says the company.[Page Break]

BroadSource has already seen successful pre-commercial deployment with impressive results for a BroadSeis survey conducted this summer for Lundin Petroleum in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The new broadband source will be gradually deployed on the BroadSeis fleet on demand (Fig. 1).

In a separate development, five months after CGGVeritas and Saudi Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding for collaborative R&D of geophysical acquisition, processing, analysis and interpretation technologies, the two companies have entered into a collaboration to conduct a major joint R&D project, known as SpiceRack, intended to herald a new innovative solution for seabed seismic acquisition.

Under the terms of the SpiceRack project, CGGVeritas and Saudi Aramco will work in close partnership to develop, manufacture and commercialise an innovative robotised solution for seabed seismic acquisition. Based on the deployment of self-propelled recording nodes, this innovative solution is expected to lead to a step-change in the efficient delivery of reservoir quality seismic data.[Page Break]

Samer AlAshgar, manager, EXPEC advanced research centre, Saudi Aramco, stated: "Technology collaborators such as CGGVeritas play a vital role in developing innovative technology solutions aligned with Saudi Aramco's long-term objectives in exploration and field development. The SpiceRack initiative augments EXPEC ARC's research and technology portfolio and is expected to deliver a game changer in automating seismic data acquisition."

Open source seismic interpretation software provider dGB Earth Sciences has launched its new OpendTect 4.4 software. The new version can be downloaded at

OpendTect 4.4 comes with three new plugins as well as significant improvements in its interpretation, editing and visualisation features.[Page Break]

The first of these is Seismic Net Pay, developed by dGB partner and UK seismic geophysics specialists ARK CLS. This estimates net pay from seismic colour inversion data by correcting average amplitude to seismic net-to-gross. Seismic net pay is used to make estimates of either net pay or net rock volume depending on the input data and calibration.

Second is seismic feature enhancement (SFE), also developed by ARK CLS. This is a powerful flat-spot enhancement tool that improves the signal of consistent flat events and reduces the noise of channel reflections. SFE complements common contour binning (CCB), a dGB plugin that stacks seismic traces along horizon contour lines to highlight subtle hydrocarbon-related seismic anomalies and pin-point gas-water, gas-oil and oil-water contacts. Through its ability to enhance flat spots earlier in the interpretation lifecycle, SFE can also play an important role in reducing the risk of drilling dry holes.

The third new plugin is computer log analysis software (CLAS), developed by Argentinian geosciences company Geoinfo. This is an open hole log analysis package that integrates petrophysics with geophysics. CLAS, through which well log petrophysics can be performed within OpendTect rather than having to be imported, will result in improved well-to-seismic ties, the enhanced calibration of seismic attributes to reservoir properties, more robust models, and the more accurate interpretation of 3D seismic data.

"With operators targeting ever more geologically complex fields and looking to maximise the effectiveness of drilling and production strategies, the extra value they can squeeze out of the seismic data can make the difference between success and failure," said Paul de Groot, president of dGB Earth Sciences. "Finding this extra value is what is being achieved through OpendTect 4.4 and its new innovative set of plugins, representing another milestone in our quest to become the leading player in the seismic interpretation software and services market," he added.

Other new features in OpendTect 4.4 include significant improvements in loading and editing of SEG Y data, the ability to create 3D volumes from 2D seismic data, improved cross plotting features, improvements in multi-machine batch processing on Windows and Linux, a new installer with auto-update features, a new multi-gather pre-stack viewer, variogram analysis, and much more.

An additional plugin for OpendTect 4.4, which creates and uses forward models in qualitative and quantitative seismic interpretation studies, will also be launched in the next few months.[Page Break]

In-house processing

In another seismic development, Divestco has expanded its in-house seismic data processing and imaging solutions with an agreement to acquire licenses for the use of Paradigm technologies. With over 40 years in the seismic data processing and imaging business, Divestco says its seismic data processing division has developed best-of-breed processing technology and is a recognised leader in seismic imaging services.

The addition of the Paradigm seismic data analysis suite will expand the division's offering to include near surface tomographic statics, modern multi component processing and imaging, seismic characterisation and interpretation, velocity model building and pre stack imaging technologies. Overall efficiency and turnaround will be positively impacted through this expansion and customers will benefit from these modern technologies through a better understanding of their reservoir characteristics.

The expansion of Divestco's offering to include Paradigm's product suite is consistent with the company's strategy to leverage its strong foundation to offer enhanced services to customers. Divestco's core imaging technologies combined with this enhanced suite of seismic data processing technologies expands services to include any type of seismic data, marine or land, time or depth with solutions suited to both conventional and unconventional resources.

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