Quantifying Ground Conditions from Marine Seismic Reflection Data: Applications for Offshore Renewables Projects

Starts: Thu, Jun 24, 2021 9:00 AM CST
Ends: Thu, Jun 24, 2021 10:00 AM CST
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Seismic reflection is probably the most widely used surveying tool within the marine site survey industry. From surveys looking to characterise the top few metres below the seabed for cable/pipeline depth of burial or potential UneXploded Ordnance (UXO) hazard, through to surveys that image the top 10s to 100s of metres for foundation design or de-risking top hole drilling operations, seismic reflection is ubiquitous in its application. With the ever-expanding offshore renewables sector, the importance of seismic reflection for marine near surface application is only growing.

While the majority of these interpretations are undertaken by geologists/geophysicists manually annotating the seismic reflection sections with their coloured pencils, they are underpinned by quantitative information contained within the variations in amplitude, phase, and frequency content of the data. While a human interpreter might not explicitly extract these in terms of numbers, they are implicitly processing this information and using it, in conjunction with their fundamental geological/geotechnical knowledge, to formulate the final interpretation.

This presentation will look at ways in which this quantitative information can be extracted, distilled and effectively communicated to non-seismic specialists. Questions that will be explored include:
  1. Is it possible to capture the detailed information contained in the seismic architecture (such as geohazards), permitting non-seismic specialists to better appraise the potential impact on infrastructure layout/design?
  2. Can the internal heterogeneity within soil units be quantified using parameters extracted from our processing workflows and translated into 3D ground models, capturing the spatial variability in ground conditions that can enable us to optimise the usefulness of expensive intrusive investigation techniques?
  3. Is it possible to derive fit-for-purpose predictions of geotechnical properties from site investigation seismic reflection data?
A range of different case study examples will be used when discussing these questions, covering all phases of site investigation surveys from appraisal to pre-FEED and post-installation. Particular focus will be paid to energy transition, with examples showing how seismic reflection data can be better leveraged in various ways for large-scale offshore wind projects.

The presentation is ideally suited for anyone interested in maximising the potential of marine seismic reflection data, including geotechnical engineers, geoscientists, geologists and geophysicists.

About the presenter:

Dr. Mark E. Vardy, Geophysicist, SAND Geophysics

Mark Vardy obtained an MPhys in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Sheffield in 2004, before moving to the University of Southampton where he studied for an MRes and then a PhD in Marine Geophysics in 2009. After his PhD, he stayed on as a Research Fellow, before becoming a Principle Scientist for NERC. In 2013, he co-founded SAND Geophysics. Mark has worked on all manner of offshore projects, from inshore infrastructure developments to large-scale offshore renewables installations, and with clients including RVO, Ørsted, RWE, Shell, BP, TOTAL, De Beers, CH2M, AECOM, and National Grid. He specialises in the development of novel high-resolution geophysical solutions to marine near surface problems. He was a co-inventor of the 3D Chirp decimetre-resolution 3D seismic system, has designed a multi-channel seismic streamer in collaboration with Geometrics, and developed two specialist seismic software packages specifically designed to provide optimal qualitative and quantitative imagery from high-resolution seismic reflection data. In particular, his development of machine learning workflows to predict geotechnical properties from seismic reflection data has garnered significant interest within the marine site survey sector.

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