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Multicomponent seismic methods for characterizing gas hydrate occurrences and systems in deep-water Gulf of Mexico

June 15, 2015

In-situ characterization and quantification of natural gas hydrate occurrences remain critical research directions, whether for energy resource, drilling hazard, or climate-related studies. Marine multicomponent seismic data provide the full seismic wavefield including partial redundancy, and provide a promising set of approaches for gas hydrate characterization. Numerous authors have demonstrated the possibilities of multicomponent data at study sites around the world. We expand on this work by investigating the utility of very densely spaced (10’s of meters) multicomponent receivers (ocean-bottom cables, OBC, or ocean-bottom seismometers, OBS) for gas hydrate studies in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. Advanced processing techniques provide high-resolution compressional-wave (PP) and converted shearwave (PS) reflection images of shallow stratigraphy, as well as P-wave and S-wave velocity estimates at each receiver position. Reflection impedance estimates can help constrain velocity and density, and thus gas hydrate saturation. Further constraint on velocity can be determined through identification of the critical angle and associated phase reversal in both PP and PS wideangle data. We demonstrate these concepts with examples from OBC data from the northeast Green Canyon area and numerically simulated OBS data that are based on properties of known gas hydrate occurrences in the southeast (deeper water) Green Canyon area. These multicomponent data capabilities can provide a wealth of characterization and quantification information that is difficult to obtain with other geophysical methods.