Technical innovation in the Gulf of Mexico has been pushing the frontiers of petroleum exploration, leading to the expansion of proven play concepts into new areas of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Operators are now targeting structurally controlled traps containing Paleogene (Wilcox) sands, beneath the Louanne salt canopy. Understanding these deepwater sub-salt opportunities requires a regional, structural and stratigraphic context for the Wilcox play. Sub-salt sediment distribution, salt geometry, basement architecture and basement composition are all crucial to this workflow. Although many studies have been undertaken to better understand this sub-salt petroleum system, the fundamental problem of sub-salt seismic imaging remains the key challenge, even with the latest acquisition and processing technologies available. Through integrating seismic, gravity and magnetic data, better understanding of the sub-salt environment has been achieved. As a result of detailed integration, a new basement map has been created from high-resolution aeromagnetic data and Pre Stack Depth Migrated (PSDM) seismic data. Both 2D and 3D earth modeling were then completed to predict spatial distribution of autochthonous salt bodies, basement density and susceptibility variations, location of open/closed salt feeders to the allochthonous canopy and the location of the continental-oceanic boundary.


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