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Case study: Seismic acquisition research on salt dome structure in Tarim Basin
Xu Ligui*, Yan Feng and Shi Haifeng , BGP , CNPC
Summary Salt dome structure is an important object in oil exploration in Tarim basin. In the year 2002, the goal of the seismic acquisition research in Quele-zhongka is to locate the salt dome structure of the Tertiary in the area. We implemented the delicate near-surface survey and statics, optimized the specific 2D layout for the structure of deep salt domes, and intensified the excitation in single hole deep to high velocity layers in mountain areas. As a result, the quality of the seismic section has been obviously improved, and the structures of salt domes and anticlines are clearly displayed in the section. Introduction Tarim basin, located in the west of China with an area of 560,000km2, is the biggest oil-gas-bearing basin in China . In the significant thickness of sedimentary mantle formed in Camberian, Carboniferous, and Tertiary periods, there exit four layers of salt beds, among which the salt bed distributed in the lower Tertiary system of Kuche foreland basin in the north of Tarim is related most to the enrichment of petroleum and natural gas. In the light of the practice in many years, it is possible to find out the oil-gasreservoirs so long as the structural configuration of salt dome, especially the sub-salt structural configuration and trap is clear. Affected by the features of salt dome itself and the complex surface and underground geological structure in the foreland thrust fault belt, the data quality of some salt domes in Kuche foreland basin is very poor, even no reflection occurs somewhere. This badly restricts the further discovery of oil-gas reservoirs. To resolve this problem, a research project, 2-D seismic acquisition on salt domes, was carried out by BGP and Tarim Oil field Company, CNPC in 2002. Difficulties in exploration Research area, Quele-Zhongka district, is located in the southwest part of Kuche foreland thrust fault zone, the north of Tarim basin (Fig.1). The thick salt beds developed in the lower Tertiary system were strongly pressed during the later period of Himalayan orogeny, and plastically deformed into many salt domes, which are usually buried below the depth of 4000m. The thick sandstone layer beneath the salt domes is the main reservoir of petroleum and natural gas. So it would not be possible to find out the sub-salt reservores unless the structures of salt domes were found out. The obstacles display at four aspects as follows: x The conditions of seismic acquisition operations are very poor because of complex and various types of topographies. In this area, there are many types of topographies such as the mountains, the Gobi desert, incompact soil covering layers, and swamps and so on. In mountain areas, the surface is badly cut by gullies developed in different directions. The maximum relative elevation difference in the mountain area may reach as high as 200m. Such complex topographies result in the extreme difficulties and very low efficiency in the seismic acquisition operations. x Static corrections are very hard to do owing to great differences in the near-surface structures. The thickness and velocities of low-velocity layers in the area vary rapidly both in lateral and vertical directions. In mountain areas, the structure of the low-velocity layers is not clear, and their thickness may reach 100m; in swamp areas, the layer has the structure of double sublayers, weathering thickness is between 2 and 10m; in Gobi area, the incompact soil covering layer is also with double sub-layer structure, and the thickness of the layer is 8 to 50m. All of these make the near-surface surveys and precise statics very difficult. x Receiving and shooting condition are poor and the absorption and attenuation of seismic waves are strong in mountain areas. The mountain bodies in this area were formed during the later period of Himalayan orogeny in the end of Quaternary period. The width of the mountain areas along measuring lines are generally 5000~8000m. In the near-surface of the mountain bodies, not only the thick low-velocity layers are developed, but also exist structural cracks and rain eroded holes. So the attenuation of seismic waves in acquisition profiles is very strong, and may further badly influence the effective reflecting information of salt domes and the sub-salt structures. x The imaging quality of salt domes and the sub-salt structures is very bad due to the large embedding depth of salt beds and serious breakage of the overburden of

Fig.1: Schematic diagram for the location of the seismic acquisition research area

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Delicate near-surface survey and statics Tomography exploration on the near-surface is practiced. i. Within the strip of mountain bodies by the size of 5500m long and 400m wide. The former is for refraction survey. so the quality of the raw seismic data gets improved. while in mountain areas.. Lithology and stratigraphic dip survey is performed and the outcrop profiles along the exploration line are plotted so that the basic data can be obtained by selecting the proper acquisition parameters and establishing the near-surface model. The main part of the salt dome structure is just in the position of the mountain areas. establishing the accurate near-surface velocity model and doing fine statics computation.e. is adopted. two spread lengths of 656m and 198m are adopted. This will further result in the strong absorption of reflecting seismic wave energy so that the ratio of signal-to-noise of the salt dome and the sub-salt strata becomes very low and their imaging effect is very poor. b: first break refraction-based method.0. Acquisition techniques and strategies The aim of the seismic acquisition research in 2002 is to obtain seismic data with good reflection from the deep salt dome structure. 13 uphole surveys are all drilled to the depth of 80m so that the high velocity layers are reached in every uphole survey. Because the action of push-up tensile stress caused by the salt dome. the embedding depth of salt beds is about 4000~5500m. the linear interpolation method is applied to interpolate the velocity field of the low-velocity layers and top interface of the high-velocity layer. the similarity coefficient method is also practiced to interpolate the thickness of the weathered layer. but in the refraction exploration of the Gobi desert area with relatively thick weathered layers in front of the mountain. we optimize the geometry design to be suitable for the receiving of the reflecting waves both from deep salt dome and from shallow layers with high S/N. firstly. and the best is from tomographic method (Fig. the careful analysis of the issue about how to observe the reflecting waves from the salt domes is conducted. Considering the difficulties in exploration in this area. Detailed outcrop survey is carried out. The results of different statics correction methods are compared in shot gathers. the latter is for tracing survey. We apply the spread length of 198m in refraction survey in swamp or Gobi desert area where the relatively thin weathered layers are covered. In swamp. The near-surface velocity model is inversed by the Fathom software so as to get a higher inversion accuracy. and the depth of petroleum and natural gas is 5000~6000m. Comprehensive near-surface surveys Flexible refraction survey methods are applied according to different near-surface conditions. It is found that the continuity and smoothness of the first arrival in gathers resulted from model-based and tomographic methods are better than that from other two methods. we increase the shooting energy by drilling single shot hole deep into high velocity layers in mountain areas where there exist very thick covering layers. Optimization of static correction method The quantities of the statics are calculated with four kinds of methods. and the SEG International Exposition and Seventy-Third Annual Meeting Main Menu . The depth and the distribution points of uphole surveys are enlarged in mountain areas. Gobi and desert areas. Design and application aimed at the mid-depth and deeper layers On the base of the geological models set up in the light of the legacy data. c: model-based method. first break refractionbased method. elevation method. besides what is applied above.2: Effect of statics in CMP gathers (a: Original. d: tomographic method) 2. we try to solve the static corrections by implementing delicate near-surface structure survey.2). which is developed by BGP. Comprehensive near-surface structure model building.Main Menu Case study: Seismic acquisition research on salt dome structure in Tarim Basin the salt beds. the different near-surface structure models are established by different methods. receiver gathers and stacked sections to find out the most suitable method for the area. secondly. The techniques applied in the seismic acquisition research are as follows: 1. Fig. thirdly. zonation based model-base method and tomographic method. In the area. It is decided that the acquisition software KLSeis2. According to the characteristics of the near-surface structures. a large amount of cracks and faults in the overburden of the salt dome are produced.

and the quality of the records from a single shot in the depth near the interface between low-velocity layer and high-velocity layer is also better than that in the record from a shot totally within the low-velocity layers. Techniques of shot hole deep to high velocity layers in mountain areas of reflection from salt dome structures. All of these measures can effectively improve the S/N of the data from shallow layers. the displacement of the shot point should be within a reasonable range. the top of the salt domes and the deep layers. middle and deep part of the section is very low.3 shows a comparison between the stacked section of the research line 02A along S-N direction processed at site and the legacy final stacked section neighboring and parallel to the research line 02A. Disscussion about the seismic sections It is the application of the techniques such as delicate nearsurface surveys. the noise along the line can be reduced by trace arrays. and to improve the effect of explosions as well as to reduce the length of explosive bar and the depth of shot hole.areal array with “triangle” pattern . a large amount of shot experiments are carried out in the mountain areas. 3) Select the proper place where the shot hole can be drilled into high-velocity layers. through which the quality of the seismic sections get improved materially. 2) Increase the construction efforts to build the road along the research line across the mountains so that the drilling machine can be carried to the right places for drilling on the mountains. long spread and suitable folds. the S/N in shallow. Although the legacy stacked section is the final processing result. the past seismic acquisitions were all implemented with the array of shallow shot holes within the weathered layers. and the reflection signals from the bottom of salt domes and the sub-salt strata are intensified obviously. 4) Use the appropriate explosive with high density to guarantee the effective coupling between the explosive and the surrounding rock in the shot hole. Fig. Therefore. provide proper mud. and 30 additional shots are added on each of the flank so that the folds in structural targets are enhanced to a number over 120. and enhance the capacity of seismic drilling rig from drilling depth of 30m to more than 80m. and the single shot holes deep into highvelocity layers. The long spread is helpful to the receiving of reflection signals from deep layers.a string of geophone is stretched in lateral direction. the exciting in a single shot hole deep into high velocity layers is an effective approach to improve the S/N of the raw seismic data and the quality SEG International Exposition and Seventy-Third Annual Meeting Main Menu . however. and the folds can be enhanced by the arrays of the CMP gathers. the layout aimed at middle and deep layers. in addition to strict field operation monitoring and quality control management. The layout has some advantages as follows: Small group interval can lead to small CMP interval and effective folds at the top of the salt dome and the shallow layers. Fig. that makes a successful seismic acquisition research. the overall quality has remarkably been improved. In the new section. During the acquisition research at this time. 3. and the outlines of the salt domes and the sub-salt structures are quite obscure.Main Menu Case study: Seismic acquisition research on salt dome structure in Tarim Basin layout should be small group interval. and the results show that the reflection signals from shallow. the outlines of salt domes and the reflection of the sub-salt strata are quite clear. The parameters of the layout are as follows: x group interval: 20m x Shotpoint spacing: 40/80m x receiver number: 592 x Layout: 6010-110-20-110. However. δy = 4m On the two flanks of a structure. Ly = 36m x Geophone separation: δx = 3m. their S/N is much higher than that within the records resulted from the array of shot holes in the low-velocity layers. It can be seen from Fig. So. In data processing. reflection signals are disordered or even there is no reflection at all in the past seismic sections. In order to realize the shooting totally in high velocity layers in such a mountain areas where the thickness of the low-velocity layers is near to 100m. The reflections from the top of the salt domes and the overburden of the salt domes have a higher S/N and the attitude of the strata is legible and reliable. four kinds of measures in our acquisition research are adopted: 1) Change the circulation manner. multiple channels.4 that both the S/N and the In research area. Because the S/N of the single shot in a shallow shot hole is very low. statics. which breaks through the past record level of seismic drilling depth in the mountain areas of Tarim basin. and the sub-salt anticline structures are displayed obviously. the salt domes all exit under the compex mountain areas where the thickness of the weathered layers is significant. x Array length: Lx = 9m.6010 x folds: 74 x Array pattern: 3 string * 10 geophones.4 shows the comparison between the stacked section of the research line 02B in SW-NE direction processed at site and the legacy final section intersected with the former one. middle and deep strata are very clear in the records resulted from a single shot record in a shot hole deep into the high-velocity layers. the layout is changed into 4490-110-20-110-7530 manner.

1993. The sub-salt structures get further affirmed in the new section. Qian Yuping and Mr.. The outlines of the salt domes and the features of the structure are clear. 1993. Petroleum Industry Press. SEG International Exposition and Seventy-Third Annual Meeting Main Menu . Liu Xinwen for their great contribution to this paper. Yan Shixin et. 2000. from the point to the line”. Petroleum University Press. Mr. The reliable reflection images show up clearly in the places of the section where no reflection exists in the legacy section. The techniques and measures practiced in the research are suitable for the research area so that the quality of seismic sections from the research acquisition gets remarkable improved. Reference Li Qingzhong. Mountainous Geophysical Exploration Technology in Mountain Areas.4: Comparison between the stacking section of research line 02B and the legacy section Conclusions To get high quality reflection data from the salt domes developed in lower Tertiary system is the object of our seismic acquisition. Acknowledgments We would like to thank Mr. Petroleum Industry Press. so the further work such as detailed data processing and exploration is worthy. adequate investment. Road Toward Precise Seismic Exploration. Wan Weihua . we follow the strategy “from the outside to the inside. The configurations of the salt domes and the sub-salt structures are clear and reliable. advanced equipment and strict measures of quality control are always necessary. Mr. Yang Juyong. To guarantee the application of the new acquisition techniques and strategies.3: Comparison between the stacked section of research line 02A and the legacy section (b) The final stacking section of the legacy section intersected with line 02B Fig. Sun Jinzhong. In order to realize this object. The seismic sections reveal that the scale of the salt domes and the anticlines is quite large. Mr. The research starts from the statics of complex near-surface. Principle of Seismic Exploration. 3D seismic exploration should be the best choice to locate the salt dome and the sub-salt structure exactly. and next is the improvement of excited conditions and the optimization of observing layouts. Lu Jimeng.Main Menu Case study: Seismic acquisition research on salt dome structure in Tarim Basin resolution of the new section have been greatly improved. (a) Stacked section of research line 02B processed at site (a)stacked section of research line 02A processed at site (b) The final stacked section of the legacy section parallel to line 02A Fig.