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Moving shots on a 3-D seismic survey: The good, the bad, and the ugly (or How to shoot seismic without shooting yourself in the foot!)
TERRY W. DONZE, Independent Geophysicist, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, U.S. JOE CREWS, Western Geophysical, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
s with real estate, there are three problems with seismic: location, location, and location. That is, the three big concerns are location of shots, location of receivers, and location of depth points. This paper deals with the first problem, location of shots when they have to be moved while shooting a 3-D survey. Note the when is not if. The only thing constant about 3-D surveys from design to field is change. Changes in shot locations are necessary due to a variety of factors, including inaccessible terrain, houses and buildings or other structures, roads and pipelines, wells, crops, or no-permit areas. Regardless of the reason, when a shot is moved, the recorded depth points also move. The problem is how to get the best coverage while minimizing damage to the original design. Most surveyors are diligent and will attempt to place the shot closest to its original location. But because depth points change with shot movement, even a small move to a poor location can have a detrimental effect on fold between adjacent bins. Not being geophysicists, surveyors need to be apprised of the effect that moving shots will have on depth points and of how they can minimize problems. Moving shot locations also has an effect on azimuth and offset distance distributions, but these are not as consequential as losing coverage entirely due to misguided shot moves or causing significant changes in coverage between adjacent bins. As we take one giant leap into 3-D, here are a few small practical steps to take when moving shots to minimize damage to coverage: 1) Skid the shotpoint in a zone of up to one-fourth of the shotpoint interval in the shot-line direction and up to onefourth of the receiver group interval in the receiver-line direction. 2) Move the shotpoint in the receiver-line direction in increments of the receiver-group interval up to half the distance to the next shot line (in either direction) or up to a distance equal to the receiver-line interval, whichever is less, but as close to the original shotpoint as possible. Skid as in No. 1 if necessary. 3) Move the shotpoint perpendicular to the receiver line to an adjacent swath (either one) at an offset equal to the receiver-line spacing. Alternate adjacent swaths if it is necessary to move the same shot in adjacent racks. Again, skid as in No. 1 if necessary. 4) Move the points in No.3 according to guideline No. 2 as needed. 5) Avoid L offsets in the same swath, especially if shots in adjacent racks are moved into similar positions. Avoid lining up several shots in the receiver-line direction. Avoid clumping shots. Avoid long moves when the target is shallow. Lets look at a small 3-D patch to see how each of these guidelines helps maintain coverage, while violating them will Figure 2. The effect of one shot moved in the receiverline direction.

Coordinated by Guillaume Cambois

Figure 1. A simple 3-D patch showing color-coded depth points recorded for each shot.



MAY 2000

Figure 3. The effect of one shot moved a distance of the receiver-line spacing in the source-line direction. hurt. Figure 1 shows a simple patch of eight receiver lines with 48 stations, each surrounding one rack of four shots. The depth points covered by each shot are color-coded. The number of receiver lines, stations per line, or number of shots per rack is immaterial, because these guidelines will work for any patch. Suggestion 1. Of course, the easiest way to maintain the modeled fold is to not move the shots out of their original positions. Thus, if an adjustment is needed to avoid proximity problems to power lines or other obstructions that do not necessitate a farther offset, our first recommendation is to skid the shot location up to one-fourth of the shot/receiver interval. Any move greater than one-fourth of the shot/receiver interval will cause the depth point to fall near the edge or even outside its modeled bin, decreasing the fold in the lost coverage bin and increasing it in the adjacent bin. All modeled shotpoints have a one-fourth interval spacing tolerance to keep the depth points in the same bin. Suggestion 2. If a shot has to be moved due to wells, pipelines, buildings, etc., generally the moves are farther than the onefourth interval allowance to skid the shot, and fold coverage will change. The problem is to figure out which move will cause the least damage to coverage. If possible, the best way to offset a shot is to move it in the receiver-line direction. Whichever way it is moved in this direction, only the longer offsets on the opposite side of the rack from the move will be lost. Moving the shot three receiver intervals will cause the three longest offsets on each receiver line to be dropped, and a loss of one fold in each of the respective bins (Figure 2). Additionally, there is a corresponding increase of one fold in the three depth points that are now recorded on each receiver line on the side of the rack where the shot was moved. Ideally, one would wish to minimize the number of offset intervals because a move of only one interval would result in a loss/increase of one fold in only one depth point on each respective end of the receiver lines, minimizing the bin-to-bin fold change. Longer offsets will result in one fold being lost/added in more bins. It is suggested that the moves

Figure 4. What to avoid: an L move in the same swath.

Figure 5. The ultimate in bad 3-D recording: shots aligned parallel to the receiver lines. be limited to as much as half the distance to the next shot rack or a distance equal to the receiver-line spacing to avoid losing more fold and clumping shots, although sometimes this is not possible due to surface culture. Any moves farther than this should be cleared with the crew supervisor or client representative. Suggestion 3. Sometimes, again due to culture, it is not possible to move shots in the receiver-line direction. The next best alternative is to move the shots into an adjacent swath (Figure 3). Seismic crews can undershoot the correct position to maintain original binning coverage by moving the recording patch in the opposite direction, but this is highly inefficient due to extra equipment and time requirements, and extra costs may be incurred. Efficiencies can be maintained by shooting into the new patch for the moved point

with minimal damage to coverage. Moving the shot into one of the adjacent swaths by a distance of the receiver-line spacing will cause a loss of one fold across the patch in the receiver-line direction due to dropping the farthest line opposite the direction of the shot move. Concurrently, one fold of coverage will be gained across the patch in the receiver-line direction due to picking up another receiver line in the direction of the shot move. The loss/increase of coverage will cause only a one-fold difference between adjacent bins, which will generally not be a problem for interpretation purposes. Again, the new point could be skidded one-fourth of the shot/receiver interval if necessary. Suggestion 4. If the move into an adjacent swath (per suggestion 3) is not feasible, a combined move using it and suggestion 2 is the next best option. Move the shot a distance of the receiver-line interval into an adjacent swath, then move it in the receiver-line direction to a tolerable location. This will result in a combined loss/gain of coverage shown in Figures 2 and 3, and points can be skidded as before, if necessary. Suggestion 5. Significant coverage problems will occur if this last suggestion is not followed. First, avoid moving shots both parallel and perpendicular to a receiver line, an L move, in the same swath (Figure 4). Each L move in the same swath will result in a complete loss of one fold over the entire modeled patch and cause a two-fold bin-to-bin change in subsurface coverage because of the corresponding increase in fold in the bins that are sampled. If two similarly positioned shots in adjacent racks are moved into the same L position, the coverage change gets much worse. The extreme case arises when all shots are moved into a line paralleling the receiver lines (Figure 5). In this case, only one row of bins is sampled per receiver line, causing high fold adjacent to low or no fold. Another problem occurs when shots are clumped in proximity to each other, not so much from a fold perspective but from an azimuth and offset-distance perspective. The lack of separation between two adjacent shots offers almost no change in azimuth or distance to far offsets and should generally be avoided if possible. A good rule of thumb is to keep adjacent shots at least two receiver intervals apart in the receiver-line direction. Additional care must be taken when making moves in surveys with shallow targets to avoid holes in the data due to deeper mute zones occurring from long offsets. In extreme cases, it may not be possible to move shots to acceptable locations without causing subsurface coverage problems. These areas should be noted to caution data processors and interpreters. The general suggestions above will help avoid major coverage problems in 3-D acquisition and can be used in adjusting almost all designs. Examples abound where shots were unnecessarily moved so severely that coverage was lost entirely, or where the shots were moved such that bin-to-bin changes caused significant acquisition footprint in the final product. If it moves on the surface, shoot itbut think subsurE face! L
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Baker Hughes/Western Geophysical for support and computer use in preparation of this paper. Corresponding author: Terry Donze has almost 30 years of experience in all phases of geophysical oil and gas exploration. Joe Crews has concentrated on design of 3-D seismic arrays for the past 10 years.