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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

GCAGS Transactions


Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions Vol. 58 (2008), Pages 843-851

Illuminating Asset Value at Mad Dog through New Seismic Technology

Michael J. Staines1, Scott Michell2, Dean Chergotis3, and John Sharp1

1BP Exploration and Production Inc., 200 Westlake Park Blvd., Houston, Texas 77079
2BP Exploration and Production Inc., 501 Westlake Park Blvd., Houston, Texas 77079
3BP Exploration Alaska, 900 E. Benson Blvd., Anchorage, Alaska 99519


The ability to reduce risk and uncertainty across the full life cycle of an asset is directly correlated to creating an accurate subsurface image to enhance our understanding of the geology. As the industry has moved into more complicated geologic settings conventional narrow-azimuth surveys no longer meet the subsurface imaging objectives for well-informed field development and production decisions. The complex salt canopy overlying a large portion of the Mad Dog Field generally results in poor seismic data quality on narrow-azimuth seismic data. Advanced processing techniques improved the image, but gaps still remained even after several years of technology development and application effort. We concluded that wide-azimuth acquisition was required to illuminate the field in a new way and conducted the industry’s first at-scale wide-azimuth towed streamer (WATS) survey over the field in 2004/2005. The initial results provided significant enhancement over the narrow-azimuth data, immediately impacting well decisions. Subsequent reprocessing using new and emerging wide-azimuth techniques and a complete rebuild of the salt velocity model provided further enhancements in data quality with the products being fully utilized in subsurface decisions on the field. The need to mitigate business risks in highly material subsalt plays led BP to explore the technical limits of the seismic method, testing novel acquisition techniques to improve illumination and signal to noise ratio. These were successful in illuminating previously hidden parts of the field. This paper focuses on the objective of imaging below salt for development of the BP-operated Mad Dog Field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

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