Consulting Seismic Data Processing

Seismic data processing – the challenge during and after data acquisition

Consulting seismic data processing

Reflection seismic surveys are indispensable as part of all exploration of deep underground rock formations. Of all of the geophysical exploration methods, seismic boasts the greatest and most accurate potential to determine the nature of the geological situation underground. However, the extent and accuracy of the interpretations it provides depend not only on the seismic survey itself, but also very largely on the treatment of this data, the so-called “processing”.

Field processing already takes place during the seismic acquisition itself, to reveal the quality of the data as it is being collected, and to provide an initial impression of the reflectivity and the structure of the underground rock formations.

The main processing of the seismic data usually takes place after the survey has finished. This processing turns the raw seismic data collected in the field into a structural image of the subsurface which is then used by geologists to interpret the sections relevant to the specific project. Just as the seismic survey itself, the main processing must be adapted to the specific task involved (e.g. with respect to target depth and the resolution of the rock formations at the target depth, etc.). For instance, detailed parameter tests are carried out to produce much more accurate results than the field processing, which usually only uses empirical values. When completed, the main processing operation not only provides cross-sections through the underground rock formations (stacks, migrations), but also velocity fields, static correction values, the thickness of the weathered layers and other seismic attributes.

The seismic data processing is usually continually monitored and checked by the client to ensure that the most important parameter decisions are based on the definition of the primary targets as well as the incorporation of concepts and ideas on how the interpretation is to be carried out. If the client does not have access to the expertise within its own organisation, external consultants are hired to act as intermediaries between the processing contractor and the client, and thus to take over this important job of supervising the processing of the seismic data.

KBB UT provides comprehensive consulting services with regard to reflection seismic data processing. We supervise the processing, provide assistance during parameter decision making, and check the quality controls. The repertoire also includes the evaluation of old seismic data and estimating the benefits of reprocessing the old data.

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