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SPMI P1.

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Common reflection angle volumes for subsalt seismic imaging


Graham Winbow*, Ted Clee, and Mike Rainwater, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company

Summary This paper explains why common reflection angle migration (CRAM) is a practical way of producing superior images in subsalt seismic data. Multipathing is an essentially universal feature of imaging near salt boundaries. Common reflection angle images separate signal and noise better than common offset images. CRAM is able to combine both of these features in a cost-effective way. CRAM images can be QC'd using illumination plots as a function of dip angle. Introduction Theoretical discussion and synthetic data examples for CRAM can be found for example in Xu et al (2004) and cited references. We have developed and applied to field data a computationally efficient algorithm for 3D CRAM. The method uses dynamic ray tracing to accurately account for 3D geometric spreading and uses traveltime derivative information to allow relatively coarse sampling to be employed in the traveltime images. The present paper focuses on a physical explanation of why CRAM works well for a broad class of subsalt imaging problems. Theory and Method Multipathing is a nearly universal characteristic of seismic imaging near the edge of salt. A key goal of such imaging is to obtain an image that is as continuous as possible from outside the salt to underneath the salt, and in particular has acceptable signal/noise. In order to achieve this all physically significant rays must be included in a ray-based imaging method. As Fig. 1 illustrates this means that the imaging method must include rays that: travel directly from source to target reflector to receiver, and are reflected from the salt as well as from the target reflector, and are refracted through the salt as well as reflected from the target reflector. Why are all these rays generally significant in forming an image? As the source approaches the salt the reflected ray approaches tangential incidence to the salt face. From the "Lloyd's mirror" effect, well known in optics, the direct and tangentially reflected rays must interfere destructively, and have comparable amplitudes. Simple calculations with a planar interface between a lower and a higher velocity medium and with source and receiver in the lower velocity medium show that when such interference is strong, the combined effect of the direct and reflected rays is less than the refracted ray, which therefore cannot be ignored. A detailed exposition of this model is contained in Ewing et al. (1957). Thus we conclude that generally all three rays have non-negligible amplitudes and must be taken into account in imaging near a salt flank. This is confirmed by direct calculations with dynamic ray tracing codes. It follows that a multipath imaging code will generally produce better results than a single path imaging code (i.e. conventional Kirchhoff imaging). An illustration of this for 2D synthetic data is contained in Fig. 2, where the multipath code images subsalt reflectors poorly imaged or absent from the Kirchhoff image. Multipath imaging is best performed in the common reflection angle domain. The basic reason why this is so is that given an image point, a dip and a reflection angle, the ray paths from the source and receiver to the image point are uniquely defined. This is not true for common offset data in a multipathing situation. These conclusions can be illustrated with the following example. A commonly occurring situation is that there are gently dipping reflectors (say at angles around 10 degrees) adjacent to a steep overhanging salt face dipping at say 45 degrees, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 3. How can we best image in this situation? A key observation is that under the salt it will be impossible to image the reflector with rays that are totally clear of the salt. The best that we can do is to use one ray through the salt and one clear of the salt, as schematically illustrated by the dashed line reaching the surface in Fig. 3.

SEG/Houston 2005 Annual Meeting

2017

SPMI P1.5

Common reflection angle volumes


Downloaded 11/21/12 to 222.124.203.42. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright; see Terms of Use at http://library.seg.org/
A second key observation is that the rays most favored to get from the image point to the surface are those that are relatively close to normal incidence to the lower salt face. With the dip angles under discussion this favors larger reflection angles over smaller reflection angles. A key goal of subsalt imaging is to optimize signal/noise. Possible sources of noise include: unfocussed multipath energy reverberations within the salt P-S conversions reverberations between the top of salt and the sea floor. These are only important in locations where the top of salt is close to the sea floor, for example in offshore Angola. Common reflection angle migration is able to address the first two of these issues. For the configuration under discussion smaller reflection angles are difficult to image under the salt. This happens as follows. For the smallest reflection angles, an upgoing ray from the image point will be totally reflected off the underside of the salt, and will generally reach the surface from a complex ray path that will be unfavorable for imaging. It will be especially sensitive to velocity errors. For somewhat larger reflection angles, rays upgoing from the image point can excite reverberations within the nose of the salt, and therefore produce highly undesirable short period multiples as shown by the dotted line in Fig. 3. Finally for larger reflection angles, such intra-salt multiples tend to be directed down into the wider part of the salt wedge, as shown by the dashed line reflected from the top of salt in Fig. 3. They tend to be suppressed in several different ways: they either do not reach the surface at all, or if they do they may be at such large offsets that they are not recorded, or they have such large reverberation periods that they are harmless. Obviously any or all of these conclusions can be changed depending on the shape of the salt and on the dip of the target reflectors. For example if the reflectors dip at an angle greater than the salt face they can be imaged under the salt overhang with small reflection angles. However the situation we have described is a common one, and clearly illustrates the merit of imaging at common reflection angles rather than common offsets. A further merit of CRAM is that it is possible to store all of the ray angles actually used at any selected image point. From these one can produce a plot of all the dip angles actually used in the data. This can be viewed as an illumination map with respect to angle, taking account of the actual source and receiver geometry in the seismic acquisition. Mathematically, such plots made as a density plot are proportional to the Radon transform of the point spread function. Fig. 4 illustrates such plots for a GOM dataset. In Fig. 4a all the reflection angles are between 32 and 48 degrees. We refer to these as the "far" angles. In Fig. 4b the reflection angles are less than 16 degrees (the "near" angles). The 'X' marks the dip of a particular event of interest in that dataset, having a dip angle of about 11 degrees colatitude and about 185 degrees longitude. In this dataset we would expect to image the event of interest only on the far angles. This is in fact the case for the seismic data and incidentally verifies the previous discussion for an idealized salt wedge. If the event of interest had been, for example, at a dip of 0 degrees longitude and 11 degrees colatitude it would have been invisible on the far angles but visible on the near angles. Conclusions The above remarks show that near the edge of salt CRAM is generally superior to Kirchhoff because it is advantageous to image using multipath imaging at common reflection angles. Kirchhoff retains an advantage where large volumes of single path migrated data are needed. In comparison with WEM (wave equation migration) CRAM has an advantage in speed, timing and cost particularly because it is conveniently implemented in target-oriented mode. In addition the algorithm is arithmetically faster (N5 rather than N6 where N is a measure of the size of the target). For rough salt WEM is preferable because it can produce a more accurate representation of the wave field transmitted through the salt mass. On the other hand we have found that much GOM salt is sufficiently smooth that CRAM gives an acceptable image at an affordable cost and with rapid delivery time. References Ewing, W. M., Jardetzky, W. S., and Press, F., 1957, Elastic waves in layered media: McGraw Hill, pp. 94105. Xu, S., Lambar, G., and Calandra, H., 2004, Fast migration/inversion with multivalued rayfields: Part 2Application to the 3D SEG/EAGE salt model: Geophysics 69, 1320-1328

SEG/Houston 2005 Annual Meeting

2018

SPMI P1.5

Common reflection angle volumes


Downloaded 11/21/12 to 222.124.203.42. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright; see Terms of Use at http://library.seg.org/

Fig. 1. Schematic of multipath illumination near a salt mass Receiver Source

Ray reflected directly from target

SALT

SEDIMENT

Ray reflected from target & refracted through salt

Target reflector

Ray reflected from salt & target

K irc h h o ff

CRAM

F ig . 2 . C o m p ariso n o f sin g le p ath v s m u ltip ath m ig ratio n

SEG/Houston 2005 Annual Meeting

2019

SPMI P1.5

Common reflection angle volumes

Downloaded 11/21/12 to 222.124.203.42. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright; see Terms of Use at http://library.seg.org/

Fig. 3. Schematic of subsalt imaging and intra-salt multiple noise Sources Receivers

SEDIMENT

SEDIMENT

SALT

Target reflector

Fig. 4. Subsalt illumination in terms of dip direction in 3-dimensional space

(a) Far angle illumination

(b) Near angle illumination

SEG/Houston 2005 Annual Meeting

2020

EDITED REFERENCES Note: This reference list is a copy-edited version of the reference list submitted by the author. Reference lists for the 2005 SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts have been copy edited so that references provided with the online metadata for each paper will achieve a high degree of linking to cited sources that appear on the Web. Common reflection angle volumes for subsalt seismic imaging References Ewing, W. M., W. S. Jardetzky, and F. Press, 1957, Elastic waves in layered media: McGraw Hill, 94105. Xu, S., G. Lambar, and H. Calandra, 2004, Fast migration/inversion with multivalued rayfields: Part 2 application to the 3D SEG/EAGE salt model: Geophysics 69, 13201328.

Downloaded 11/21/12 to 222.124.203.42. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright; see Terms of Use at http://library.seg.org/