Phase-space imaging of reflection seismic data
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Modern oil and gas exploration depends on a variety of geophysical prospect tools. One of them is reflection seismology that allows to obtain interwell information of sufficient resolution economically. This exploration method collects reflection seismic data on the surface of an area of prospect interest and then uses them to build seismic images of the subsurface. All imaging approaches can be divided into two groups: wave equation-based methods and integral schemes. Kirchhoff migration, which belongs to the second group, is an indispensable tool in seismic imaging due to its flexibility and relatively low computational cost. Unfortunately, the classic formulation of this method images only a part of the surface data, if so-called multipathing is present in it. That phenomenon occurs in complex geologic settings, such as subsalt areas, when seismic waves travel between a subsurface point and a surface location through more than one path. The quality of imaging with Kirchhoff migration in complex geological areas can be improved if multiple paths of ray propagation are included in the integral. Multiple arrivals can be naturally incorporated into the imaging operator if it is expressed as an integral over subsurface take-off angles. In this form, the migration operator involves escape functions that connect subsurface locations with surface seismic data values through escape traveltime and escape positions. These escape quantities are functions of phase space coordinates that are simply related to the subsurface reflection system. The angle-domain integral operator produces output scattering- and dip-angle image gathers, which represent a convenient domain for subsurface analysis. Escape functions for angle-domain imaging can be simply computed with initial-value ray tracing, a Lagrangian computational technique. However, the computational cost of such a bottom-up approach can be prohibitive in practice. The goal of this work was to construct a computationally efficient phase space imaging framework. I designed several approaches to computing escape functions directly in phase space for mapping surface seismic reflection data to the subsurface angle domain. Escape equations have been introduced previously to describe distribution of escape functions in the phase space. Initially, I employed these equations as a basis for building an Eulerian numerical scheme using finite-difference method in the 2-D case. I show its accuracy constraints and suggest a modification of the algorithm to overcome them. Next, I formulate a semi-Lagrangian approach to computing escape functions in 3-D. The second method relies on the fundamental property of continuity of these functions in the phase space. I define locally constrained escape functions and show that a global escape solution can be reconstructed from local solutions iteratively. I validate the accuracy of the proposed methods by imaging synthetic seismic data in several complex 2-D and 3-D models. I draw conclusions about efficiency by comparing the compute time of the imaging tests with the compute time of a well-optimized conventional initial-value ray tracing.