Advanced Marine Seismic Acquisition Techniques

Course Description

The course is designed to familiarize the student with the latest developments in Marine Seismic Acquisition including Wide-Azimuth with its many geometry variants, Broadband techniques (boosting the high and low frequencies), seabed receivers for both P-wave and Converted-wave recording, simultaneous source acquisition, and methodologies to improve efficiency.

The course starts with an overview of conventional 3D towed streamer seismic acquisition and then concentrates on recent advances that have enabled dramatic improvements in seismic data quality and interpretability. While the development of 3D marine seismic acquisition since the 1980s has been arguably the single most effective technique in improved drilling success, the recent addition of “true 3D” or “wide-azimuth” techniques has led to improved sub-surface illumination and imaging. In addition to improved imaging, improved resolution has been achieved through so-called broadband techniques achieved through novel source and streamer geometries and multi-component receivers.

The course compares wide-azimuth towed streamer seismic acquisition as well as sea-bed seismic acquisition, ocean bottom cable (OBC) and ocean bottom node (OBN). Design and practical implementation considerations are reviewed; together with relative cost-benefits. In the case of sea-bed seismic, the value of multi-component recording is reviewed. Broadband seismic techniques are explained in terms of source and receiver design, practical implementation and interpretational benefits.

The course reviews the latest developments in simultaneous source technology, which are attempting to improve the data density and / or operational efficiency of seismic acquisition.

Finally the course reviews the other operational methodologies and designs that have been developed to improve acquisition efficiency.

Course Objectives

A practical approach is adopted and is designed to provide the student with an up-to-date understanding of recent developments in marine seismic acquisition technology. At the end of the course the student will be able to understand why and where these new technologies are applicable, understand what studies are required to design new surveys and understand the relative costs of acquiring and processing the seismic data compared to conventional acquisition.

Participants’ Profile

The course is designed for geophysicists and explorationists who wish to gain an overview of recent developments in 3D marine seismic acquisition. Participants are assumed to have a working knowledge of conventional seismic acquisition techniques and their use in exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources.


Participants should have a working knowledge of conventional seismic acquisition techniques and their use in exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources.

About the Instructor

Mike Branston manages WesternGeco’s Solution Design and Modeling activities across the Eastern Hemisphere. He has been based in Norway, Malaysia and the UK. Mike holds both a BSc and a PhD in geophysics and was awarded Chartered Geologist status by the Geological Society of London in 2006. Since 2014 he has volunteered his time and expertise to assist the PESGB (Petroleum Society of Great Britain) in the organisation of their biannual petroleum exploration conference (PETEX); initially as a member of the technical committee and more recently as chairman of that committee.