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Enhancing an Old 3D Seismic Dataset with a State-of-the-Art

Processing Workflow in the Partitioned Zone of Saudi

Fugen Zhou, Ram K Thakur, Kalyan K Chakraborty, Oscar Yepes
Wafra Joint Operations

The Wafra land 3D Survey is located in the Wafra field in the Partitioned Zone of the State of
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Wafra field produces from multiple reservoirs ranging from Lower
Cretaceous Oolitic limestone to Eocene carbonates. Cretaceous Wara and Burgan formations are the
only sandstone reservoirs in the field. Stratigraphic zones of interest also include the Jurassic Marrat
and Mingur formations. The seismic data volume was acquired and processed in 1996 and 2003 with
post stack time migration and DMO stack time migration respectively.
The recent re-processing of the data volume has included several up-to-date technologies available
in the industry. All kinds of tests were performed to make the near surface velocity model more
geological reasonable. 5D interpolation were tested and applied to the data resulting in more input
traces to pre-stack time migration. The re-processing improved the positioning, geometry and
integrity of Wafra field subsurface images and provided more accurate structural.


The Wafra 3D land survey is located in Wafra Field in the Partitioned Zone (PZ) between the
States of Kuwait and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The 3D seismic data was acquired
between November 1995 and January 1996. The source was vibroseis, consisting of 4
vibrators sweeping 6 sweeps of 8 seconds duration and 8-64 Hz bandwidth. Each shot was
recorded into 8 receiver lines of 140 channels each. Source and receiver spacing was 50m.
The receiver lines were laid in an east-west direction with a spacing of 350 m. The source
lines zigzagged between the receiver lines. The seismic data was first processed in 1996 using
post stack time migration, and again in 2004 using DMO stack time migration.
Wafra Field produces from multiple reservoirs ranging from Lower Cretaceous oolitic
limestone to Eocene carbonates. The Upper Cretaceous Burgan and Wara formations are the
only sandstone reservoirs in the field. Other zones of interest include the Jurassic Marrat and
Minjur formations.
Two different approaches were tested to make the near surface velocity model more geologically
realistic and to improve the statics solution. 5D interpolation were tested and applied to the data,
resulting in more input traces to pre-stack time migration. The reprocessing improved the positioning,
geometry and integrity of Wafra Field subsurface images and provided more accurate structural
interpretations of Wafra reservoirs.
Near Surface Model Building

Near surface velocity anomalies generate severe distortions in seismic imaging in PZ. Delaytime methods have traditionally been employed in this area to address the problem. Delay
time analysis is a layer-based method which iteratively estimates source and detector delay
times in conjunction with some refractor-velocity estimate to produce a least squares solution.
Two basic approaches to delay-time analysis and Tao-P tomography were tested and compared
The first approach utilized uphole information to set the Rus refractor depth. However, since
there were only 5 upholes in the area, this risked introducing an artificial near-surface
structure. In the second approach, a replacement velocity of 4500 m/s was used from the
intermediate datum to the processing datum. Different weathering velocities were then tested
to calculate the weathering layer thickness.
Refraction Tau-P tomography has recently become a popular tool in the industry, but the quality of
the initial model and non-linear inversion depends on the processors expertise; lack of experience
can lead a bias in the final refraction statics solution (Konstantin Osypov,1999).
Figure 1 shows the results from three approaches. Comparing Fig (a) and (b) which included 5
upholes, it has been observed that the area with low weathering velocity has the thin layer. To
obtain a geologically reasonable outcome a constant weathering layer velocity of 2500m/s
was used in the final production.

(a) Weathering velocity from upholes.

(b) Weathering layer thickness from upholes.

(c) Weathering layer thickness from Tomo. (d) Weathering layer thickness from v1= 2500m/s.

Figure 1 (a) the weathering velocity was generated from 5 upholes and (b) is the calculated
weathering thickness. (c) Tomo-statics has the same trend. (d) To make the geological
reasonable the constant weathering velocity 2500m/s was used in the final production.
5D Interpolation

Compact Fourier interpolation (COMFI) is a minimum mean-square-error interpolation

algorithm that interpolates irregular data to arbitrary locations. The interpolated data are
computed as a weighted sum of the actual data in a neighbourhood of the selected
interpolation locations (Ian Moore, 2008). Wafra 3D dataset has 30 fold and lacks of very
short offset and causes severe shallow breaks due to acquisition foot print and sparse
distributed noisy near traces. Its 45 degree slant shot pattern (figure 2a) constrained the
application of the most effective cross spread. Both of them limit the ability to suppress the
amplitude of shot and noisy of near offset traces (especially shallow data). 5D interpolation
was applied before prestack time migration in the main flow. After tested different patterns
we interpolated a shot line and a receiver between two original shot and receiver lines and
then a shot and receiver points between two shots and two receivers so total trace number
after 5D interpolation is 16 times original traces.
Figure 2(a) and (b) show the shot lines before and after 5D (16 times) interpolation. Figure
2(c) and (d) compare the prestack time migration sections using input data without and with

5D interpolation. After 5D interpolation the shallow gaps have been in-filled and seismic
events have better continuation.

(a) Original shot lines

(b) Shot lines after interpolation

(c) PSTM section before interpolation

(d) PSTM section after interpolation

Figure 2: (a) original shot lines without 5D interpolation and (b) shot lines after interpolation;
(c) PSTM section before 5D interpolation and (d) PSTM section after 5D interpolation. After
interpolation, shallow data quality has been improved in signal-to-noise ratio and in resolution.
Through extensive testing, a geologically reasonable near surface velocity model was achieved for the
Wafra 3D dataset. The use of 5D (x, y, offset, azimuth and time domain) interpolation, a

leading-edge technology in the industry, improved the signal-to-noise ratio in the shallow
section and helped to meet the geological interpretation needs in PZ. PSTM improves position
accuracy of seismic events as well as geometry and integrity of the subsurface images relative to

existing 2003 post stack dataset. Mapping efforts based on new volume translate into more accurate
structure maps and fault frameworks for development prospects identification
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and permissions received from the Saudi Ministry of
Petroleum and Mineral Resources, the Kuwait Ministry of Oil, the Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, Saudi
Arabian Chevron for this paper. The authors would also like to thank Western-Geco for processing
the data and Mr. Helmut Hsaio for technical support.

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