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In the past decade, Gulf of Mexico exploration has been focused on uncovering hidden subsalt traps through depth migration techniques. Until recently, large-scale pre-SDM projects generally were based on the Kirchhoff algorithm. Most Kirchhoff traveltime calculations have difficulty reconstructing complex travel paths, especially in a subsalt environment. A few years ago, due to limitations in hardware systems, large-scale regional pre-SDM projects were generated on a grid-line basis with heavy decimation of both input and output data. These approaches, in conjunction with the limitations of Kirchhoff, were insufficient to image near irregular salt bodies.
Most 3D seismic data in the GOM are acquired with conventional multi-streamer vessel configurations. In these acquisition schemes, the line-offset component is relatively small compared to the inline component, making it easier to justify the use of common offset/ common azimuth (COCA) migration schemes. The speed of this migration technique facilitates the generation of full-volume iterations during model building in a relatively short time. Implementing true amplitude terms and illumination compensation ensures fast and accurate results for regional or detailed production studies in a cost effective manner.
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