Oil & Natural Gas Projects
Exploration and Production Technologies
Innovative Wave-Equation Migration
This project was funded through DOE's Natural Gas and Oil Technology Partnership
(NGOTP) program. The program establishes alliances that combine the resources
and experience of the Nation's petroleum industry with the capabilities of the
National Laboratories to expedite research, development, and demonstration of
advanced technologies for improved natural gas and oil recovery.
The goal of the project was to dramatically improve the capability of seismic
migration for imaging complex structures that cannot be imaged by conventional
seismic migration techniques.
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM
Several wave-equation-based seismic migration methods have been developed and
implemented for 2-D and 3-D depth imaging. Migration results of synthetic and
real data sets of the new methods demonstrate that they can produce vastly improved
images of complex structures compared with conventional migration methods.
Ray theory-based Kirchhoff migration continues to be a major industry tool for
imaging the Earth's subsurface structures for oil and gas exploration. This
research provides industry with greatly improved migration algorithms based
on wave theory. The new algorithms can produce more accurate images of complex
regions than Kirchhoff migration can and can image complex structures that cannot
be imaged by Kirchhoff migration. In addition, this research provides a novel
approach for extracting physical information of materials during amplitude-preserving
wave-equation migration for reliable seismic reservoir characterization, which
is vital for resource assessment. The research of this project could significantly
increase the success rate of oil and gas exploration in geologically complex
regions such as those in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The complex structures beneath salt bodies are difficult to image using conventional
ray-based Kirchhoff migration. As exploration for natural resources takes place
in complex regions such as those below salt structures in the Gulf of Mexico,
the use of wave-equation migration has become more popular in the petroleum
industry. As the development of wave-equation migration is rather new for oil
and gas exploration, many issues need to be addressed to allow this new technology
to reach its full potential. In general, more accurate imaging methods are less
computationally efficient. One challenge is to increase migration accuracy without
increasing computational costs. Another challenge is to obtain physical information
of materials other than geometrical structures from migration images for reliable
reservoir characterization. These were the two primary issues addressed in this
The companies participating in this project included ADS, Amerada-Hess, Applied
Geophysical Service, Baker Atlas, BHP, ChevronTexaco,ConocoPhillips,ExxonMobil,
Fairfield Industries, Globe Exploration Service, Kerr-McGee, GX Technology,
Paradigm, PGS, Screen Imaging, Shell, TomoSeis, Unocal, and Veritas DGC.
Among the major project achievements, researchers developed:
The researchers developed several new wave-equation migration methods in the
shot domain, two new methods in the offset domain, and one new method for extracting
physical information from migration images. 2-D and 3- synthetic and real data
were used to test these methods. The results demonstrated that the new methods
dramatically improve migration capability for imaging complex structures.
- A split-step Pade migration method.
- A split-step Fourier Pade migration method.
- A globally optimized Fourier finite-difference migration method.
- A stationary-phase wave-equation migration.
- A 3-D wave-equation migration method in the offset domain.
- Two controlled-aperture wave-equation migration methods.
- A method for extracting physical information from migration images.
Current Status (October 2005)
This project is complete.
Kirchhoff migration image
Wave-equation migration method developed by this project
Huang, L. and Fehler, M.C., Globally optimized Fourier finite-difference migration
in three dimensions, proceedings of the 5th SEGJ International Symposium,
2001, Imaging Technology, pp. 67-74.
Huang, L. and Fehler, M.C., Advanced wave-equation migration, proceedings
of the 5th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Exploration Geophysics
(RAEG2001), 2001, pp. 38-45.
Roberts, P., House, L., Huang, L., Wiley, R., and Sekharan, K.K., 3-D imaging
of seismic data from a physical model of a salt structure, proceedings of
71st Annual International SEG Meeting, 2001, pp. 1119-1122.
Huang, L., and Fehler, M.C., Split-step Pade migration, proceedings of 71st
Annual International SEG Meeting, 2001, pp. 1041-1044.
Huang, L., and Fehler, M.C., Split-step Fourier Pade migration method, proceedings
of 72nd Annual International SEG Meeting, 2002, pp. 1144-1147.
Fehler, M.C., and Huang, L., Modern imaging using seismic reflection data,
Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 2002, V. 30, 259-284.
Huang, L., and Fehler, M.C., Normal-reflection image, proceedings of 73rd
Annual International SEG Meeting, 2003, pp. 929-932.
Huang, L, Sun, H, Fehler, M.C., and Li, Z., Controlled-aperture wave-equation
migration, proceedings of 73rd Annual International SEG Meeting, 2003, pp,
Huang, L, Sun, H., Fehler, M.C., Stationary-phase wave-equation migration,
proceedings of 74th Annual International SEG Meeting, 2004, pp. 993-996.
Sun, H., Huang, L, Fehler, M.C., Controlled-aperture wavepath wave-equation
migration, proceedings of 74th Annual International SEG Meeting, 2004, pp.
Cheng, C.H., Huang, L., Sun, H., and Fehler, M., 2004. Crosswell seismic
imaging of complex structures, proceedings of SEG/CSEG 2004 Meeting.
Fehler, M., Wu, R., Huang, L., and Xie, X., Numerical investigation of migration
imaging resolution: Roles of data-acquisition configuration and imaging propagators,
proceedings of the 7th SEG International Symposium-Imaging Technology, 2004,
Huang, L., Fehler, M., Li, Z., and Schultz, P., 3-D common-shot depth imaging
with an optimized Fourier finite-difference scheme, proceedings of 75th Annual
International SEG Meeting, 2005, accepted.
Sun, H., Huang, L., and Fehler, M., Globally optimized Fourier finite-difference
migration in the offset domain, proceedings of 75th Annual International SEG
Meeting, 2005, accepted.
Project Start: April 12, 2001
Project End: April 11, 2005
Anticipated DOE Contribution: $495,000
Performer Contribution: $0
NETL - Purna Halder (email@example.com or 918-699-2083)
LANL - Lianjie Huang (firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-665-1108)