High-Resolution 3D Seismic Imaging of Fluid Flow Anomalies in the Southwest Barents Sea
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Fluid flow features imaged as gas flares in the water column, pockmarks and mud volcanoes on the seabed, and high-amplitude cross-cutting reflections and bright spots in the sub-surface are abundant in the SW Barents Sea offshore northern Norway. This region is covered by extensive conventional 2D and 3D deep penetration seismic reflection data and multibeam bathymetry. High-resolution 3D P-Cable seismic data have been acquired in the SW Barents Sea over the past few years to image the uppermost ca. 500 m of the sub-surface. The P-Cable system consist of 12 to 16 short streamers (25 m) that are towed on a cross-cable perpendicular to the vessel's steaming direction. This configuration allows for acquisition of seismic data with high trace density, typically with 6 m in-line separation. The vertical resolution is a good as 1-2 m using conventional site survey air gun configurations. The sedimentary succession in the SW Barents Sea consists of upper Paleozoic evaporites overlaid by Mesozoic and Cenozoic clastic sediments. There are several organic-rich intervals in the sequence, including Paleozoic coals and Triassic and Jurassic marine source rocks that are locally in the oil or gas maturation windows. Glacial erosion has locally removed kilometer thick Cenozoic and Mesozoic successions, leaving the Mesozoic and Paleozoic strata in shallow sub-surface. The new high-resolution 3D surveys have targeted shallow fluid anomalies in the subsurface. These are imaged as high-amplitude reflections in fault blocks and structural highs, locally cross-cutting well-defined Mesozoic reflections. Commonly, disturbed reflections are present in overlying sequences, or high-amplitude reflections are imaged in the glacial overburden sediments. Locally, hundreds of pockmarks are imaged by the seafloor reflection. The deep cross-cutting reflections are interpreted as hydrocarbon accumulations that locally migrate towards the surface. The fluids are stored in shallow gas pockets or leaking at the seabed forming pockmarks and flares. The high-resolution data provide new constraints on the dynamics of hydrocarbon seepage from the deep source region to the hydrosphere and atmosphere. They are also useful for exploration of shallow targets and for mapping geohazards associated with gas pockets or gas hydrates.