SEAM Phase II: Land Seismic Challenges

The digital Earth models and geophysical data sets of SEAM Phase II: Land Seismic Challenges are now available for licensing from SEG, as part of SEAM’s charter of advancing the science of applied geophysics for the petroleum industry and for public benefit.

Processed Barrett Unconventional Model now available!

2018 processed version of the 200TB/36,000 shot record of the data set available for purchase! Learn more


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This second SEAM project, which ran from 2011 to 2016, built three models designed to embody specific challenges in the exploration and characterization of petroleum reservoirs on land:

  • The Barrett Unconventional model focused on features of unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs, including the characterization of finely laminated and fractured shale reservoirs by their full seismic anisotropy.
  • The Arid model focused on features of desert environments, including karst structures and extreme contrasts between unconsolidated near-surface sediments and bedrock, which often obscure deeper imaging targets.
  • The Foothills model focused on features of mountainous regions, including sharp topography and soft alluvial fill at the surface and complex structures at depth caused by compressive fold and thrust tectonics.

Each of the designs was translated into an industrial-scale digital Earth model consisting of a combination of surfaces, geobodies, and grids built with different geologic modeling software available at the time. The model was then discretized into a set of physical properties: for all three, this was done on a regular grid with fine enough sampling to capture the key structural and stratigraphic features. Finally, the gridded model was used to simulate the raw data of a suite of geophysical measurements, including three-dimensional (3D) surface seismic and borehole seismic surveys, as well as surface and airborne gravity and electromagnetic (EM) surveys including full-tensor gravity (FTG), airborne EM, ground controlled source EM (CSEM) and magnetotellurics (MT).

In aggregate, more than 100,000 seismic shots were simulated over the three SEAM land models, representing more than a petabyte of high-quality seismic simulations. Data sets are available in standard 3D orthogonal field layouts, as well as in carpet-style surveys with millions of channels. Special features include:

  • For the Barrett Unconventional model: simulation of the total model and near-surface responses separately to allow experiments testing noise removal and imaging algorithms at different levels of geologic noise.
  • For the Arid model: recording of high-component data in selected regions, including three components of particle velocity and particle rotation along with pressure and its gradient, as well as recording of “datuming” arrays with sources and receivers moved below the karsted region.
  • For the Foothills model: recording of the complete wavefield at a dense array of three component receivers covering the surface to allow experiments testing data interpolation and extrapolation algorithms in regions of rapidly varying topography.

SEAM Phase II ran under the direction of a management committee consisting of representatives from 22 oil and oilfield-service companies: Anadarko, CNPC/BGP, BHPBilliton, BP, CGG, Chevron, ENI, ExxonMobil, Global Geophysical, Hess, ION, Marathon, Oxy, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Sinopec, Statoil, Talisman, Total, Tullow, and Schlumberger WesternGeco.

SEAM Phase II Participants

SEAM Phase II Participants

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