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Seismic imaging

Nearly 50 years ago, ExxonMobil pioneered a technology called 3D seismic imaging, which uses sound waves to form three dimensional images of geologic formations.

These images have become the industry standard for understanding subsurface geology and finding oil and gas deposits. Since those early experiments, ExxonMobil has been a leader in the development and application of technologies necessary to acquire, process and interpret 3D seismic data.

Seismic data collection

ExxonMobil actively develops technologies and applies global experience to improve the quality of collected seismic data in the field with minimal impact to surroundings. Recent advancements allow for the acquisition of broader frequencies of sound waves, providing our geoscientists and engineers with more information about subsurface properties. In addition, ExxonMobil has recently expanded its novel application of onshore multiple simultaneous seismic sources methods to offshore settings, reducing the time, cost and environmental impact of data acquisition.

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Advanced imaging

Our proprietary and patented algorithms, coupled with investments in supercomputers, accomplish the massive computational task of analysing seismic data while making it available to the ExxonMobil teams that manage exploration, development and production assets in time to make the most effective business decisions. Our proprietary 3D velocity modeling software enables data interpreters to construct detailed models, enhancing our ability to accurately visualize complex subsurface structures. In addition, recent advances in full wavefield inversion are equipping us with more accurate subsurface information than previously available.

Predicting subsurface characteristics

ExxonMobil is also using seismic technology in innovative ways to better understand hydrocarbon reservoirs. One of many examples is our ability to use seismic data to predict the distribution of natural fractures, which are important pathways for oil and gas flow in tight reservoirs. By analysing how sound waves bounce off subsurface rock structures, we can predict the intensity and orientation of fractures. These predictions help identify areas of enhanced flow and optimize well placement, translating to fewer wells and more efficient drilling.

4D seismic imaging

In reservoirs that are under production, we can track changes that occur in subsurface reservoirs by repeating 3D surveys over time to create a time-lapse or "4D” seismic image. The interpretation of 4D seismic data helps ensure optimum oil and gas recovery from our existing fields.

The result of ExxonMobil’s seismic imaging expertise is delivery of the most accurate seismic data with new levels of imaging clarity. This high-resolution seismic information enables ExxonMobil to make the most informed exploration, development and production decisions.