Using new seismic imaging technique, BP finds significant additional resources in the Gulf of Mexico
BP announced a major breakthrough in seismic imaging that has identified more than 200 million barrels of additional resources at BP’s Atlantis field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. As a result of this early success, BP now is deploying this technique to fields elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico as well as in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The innovation has enabled BP to enhance the clarity of images that it collects during seismic surveys, particularly areas below the earth’s surface that complex salt structures previously obscured or distorted. The sharper seismic images mean that BP can drill new development wells in deepwater reservoirs with higher confidence and accuracy.
Proprietary algorithms developed by BP’s Subsurface Technical Center were applied on seismic data run at BP’s Center for High Performance Computing, one of the largest supercomputers in the world dedicated to commercial research. The algorithms allowed data that would normally take a year to be analyzed to be processed in only a few weeks, accelerating BP’s development decisions for the field.
The algorithms enhance a technique known as Full Waveform Inversion (FWI), which matches seismic simulations with existing seismic data to produce high quality subsurface images.
Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) uses advanced algorithms to iteratively refine models of the subsurface by generating seismic wave simulations and adjusting the values of subsurface properties based on the quality of the match between the simulated and recorded data. The subsurface property models that are created by FWI are used to create high quality and high resolution images of oil and gas reservoirs.
This innovation again shows that BP remains at the forefront of advanced seismic imaging and digital technologies. The new technique has produced the best images of this reservoir that we have ever seen.—Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology
BP invented and was the first company to deploy wide-azimuth towed-streamer (WATS) technology to better illuminate and image below complex structures like salt. Established in 2016, BP’s Subsurface Technical Center specializes in advanced seismic imaging and enhanced oil recovery.