Mission-Oriented denotes research that starts with the prioritized problems that need to be solved.
At the core of this program is the view that significantly expanding the forefront of seismic science through prioritized, fundamental and impactful research simultaneously serves the highest standard and aligned interests of academic scholarship, the educational responsibility of the university, and the need of the petroleum industry for step-change improved prediction and reduced risk. M-OSRP will strive to provide an umbrella to protect and nurture the new creative thinking often required in developing methods that produce a step-improvement in effectiveness.
Problems are chosen that have the potential of a sea-level-type change in seismic effectiveness. Technology users, interpreters and explorationists in industry are consulted on the success and failure of current algorithms - to establish a pattern of serious impediment and challenge and to estimate the magnitude or degree of benefit and dividend if overcome relative to other issues and concerns. The overall industry-wide view helps define the priority of the problem and its place in M-OSRP’s objectives.
All methods have assumptions. When assumptions are satisfied or only mildly violated, robust methods are often effective. However, when a serious violation occurs, the method can be ineffective or useless or produce misleading (even harmful) results.
If there is significant dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of a given method or procedure then first identify the limiting assumptions behind the current method and then proceed to derive a method that avoids those assumptions and that, therefore, has the potential of being effective when the current method fails.
Accurately imaging at depth and inverting targets beneath salt, basalt, shallow gas, volcanics and karsted sediments are both high priority and serious technical challenges for the petroleum industry. Two main thrusts of the M-OSRP involve: (1) developing entirely new effective methods for imaging at depth beneath complex media and, (2) inverting, for changes in Earth material properties across structurally and lithologically complex targets; for example, curved and dipping, corrugated and/or diffractive reflectors and/or with large material contrasts.
In addition, the program is concentrating significant effort on developing techniques for satisfying the heightened theoretical and practical prerequisites of this new generation of demultiple and subsequent imaging-inversion techniques, (e.g., source signature estimation, deghosting of towed streamer and OBS data, and data extrapolation and interpolation) providing the focus of three of the five projects in the program. As such, M-OSRP assumes responsibility for not only developing fundamental new impactful seismic methods for locating and producing hydrocarbons, but equally important, it is committed to developing techniques that allow all prerequisites to be satisfied. The latter efforts are designed to provide the new demultiple and imaging-inversion techniques with the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Satisfying the stringent prerequisites e.g., accurate source signature estimation and deghosting, required by these fore-front demultiple, imaging and inversion techniques provide a direct benefit on their own - by improving the resolution and delineation of targets even when used with only conventional seismic imaging-inversion techniques.
The members of M-OSRP are fortunate to have a collaborative history with world-class researchers in industry and academia. M-OSRP is interested in continuing and growing that activity, enhanced by its unique location in the city of Houston where many of these experts work or frequently visit. Working teams are formed around each project within the program, with graduate students and post-docs at the center and with faculty, and industry scientists directly participating. This working-team structure assures that M-OSRP serves the core responsibility of a University program: educating students, allowing them to benefit from the direct participation of industry experts while also serving as an academic-industry forum.
Each working team is somewhat autonomous, with a separate tutorial and core research function. The tutorial function allows those interested to become familiar with necessary background material and concepts, while the core research activity only deals with issues at the front or in moving the front forward. We plan to continue video conferencing in these meetings - facilitating the participation of our distant sponsors.
Two annual meetings, one in U.S.A., and one in Europe are planned, as well as periodic visits to individual sponsor facilities.
A single sponsorship fee of $49,700/year provides all deliverables from working teams in the Annual Report, and research prototype code. Participation on a working-team is not a requirement for full sponsorship and benefit. A tier II sponsorship is available without a fee, allowing a company to provide a significant technical contribution to a specific working team and then to be kept apprised of the progress and the results of that single project.
The Administration of this program is in the Department of Physics; the educational and research activity spans the departments of Physics, Geosciences and Computer Science. Although M-OSRP is an entirely independent research program, it seeks cooperation and collaboration with other university consortia. Current activity involves UTIG and CDSST at University of Texas, Austin and University of British Columbia respectively; and our technical cooperation with Colorado School of Mines, Delft University, Federal University of Bahia, Indiana University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Northeastern University, Oklahoma University, Rice University, Stanford University and University of California, Santa Cruz.