Andrew's First Impressions | IMAGE 2023

Andrew Long provides his first impressions at this year's IMAGE conference. What are the main emerging themes and what does that suggest for the future? 

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Smiling Faces at IMAGE 2023 

The industry resurgence following the Covid pandemic feels well underway in Houston if the first two days of IMAGE 2023 are anything to go by. To borrow a quote from Mark Twain, “The death of oil and gas exploration has been greatly exaggerated”, but the bedfellows contributing to future energy supply are changing rapidly, and carbon reduction features heavily through this year’s event.

A notable increase in international travelers, possibly helped by the program starting a day later on Tuesday, has already translated to packed meeting schedules and commercial discussions. As I alluded to in my pre-show comments, those attending the technical program are confronted by an overwhelming plethora of options. Attendance in most sessions has nevertheless been healthy, and I will write a summary overview of key technology themes after everything has concluded.

One technology worth mentioning today is FWI (Full Waveform Inversion) and its variants which feature heavily in the IMAGE23 technical and workshop programs. Whereas FWI used to primarily use the acoustic wave equation to invert a high-resolution depth-domain velocity model from shot gathers, FWI is now used in different manifestations to provide subsurface ‘imaging’ deliverables for subsurface interpretation, makes various approximations to the elastic wave equation, or derives a variety of subsurface seismic and physical model parameters.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and although PGS is no longer the only outfit talking about simultaneous (i.e., multi-parameter) inversion of velocity and reflectivity, those attending IMAGE23 are invited to see the master himself, Nizar Chemingui, present the pre-stack solution at 11:35 AM in Room 370A on Thursday. Nizar will also present “Robust estimation of earth properties through simultaneous inversion of velocity and angle-dependent reflectivity” at 2:15 PM on Friday in Room 351B during the post-convention workshop titled “W-14: What is the Future of Seismic Imaging?”.

A recent case study from offshore Canada in GEO ExPro Magazine also showcases the ability of the attributes derived by ‘PGS Ultima’, velocity, angle-dependent reflectivity, relative impedance, and density, to improve individual lead evaluation and provide better property constraints for subsurface quantitative interpretation.

Stay tuned.

PGS booth has been a hive of activity so far at IMAGE 2023.

This 3D display shows a geo-body extraction from the upper marine fan (lobe 3) and its corresponding PGS Ultima relative density response. A pre-existing volcanic ridge controls the sediment input and deposition in this area. The source rock is expected to be present in the deeper part (late Cretaceous section). The fan lobe itself is well-developed. PGS Ultima elastic properties (relative impedance and density) help to assess its internal heterogeneity and estimate exploration risk. In this example, low relative density may signal good reservoir quality and possible hydrocarbon presence.