CWP 2018 Research Statement  

The Center for Wave Phenomena (CWP) collaborates with the petroleum industry, government agencies, and academic institutions in conducting leading research broadly focused on exploration seismology, including 3D seismic wave propagation, imaging, inversion, and time-lapse monitoring. Founded in 1983, CWP combines mathematical and physical rigor with computational sophistication to address a wide range of data-driven topics. Our cultural and intellectual diversity and broad research interests strengthen the program and ensure that our students and visitors have the opportunity to choose and pursue industry relevant research projects in which they thrive. This unique experience is made possible by financial support from and collaboration with sponsors.

What significant oil and gas related challenges is CWP aiming to solve?

CWP remains committed to continuing our strong applied research program in 
3D seismic modeling, imaging and inversion for complex marine and land geological environments using realistic heterogeneous elastic, anisotropic, and attenuative models.  In addition, recent economic trends in the oil and gas industry are presenting not just new challenges, but also new opportunities for researchers in the exploration seismic community. Consequently, the CWP research portfolio is evolving in directions that position us at the forefront of addressing important emerging challenges in exploration seismology and geophysics more broadly:

  • Exploration and exploitation of unconventional reservoirs including application of seismic methods to identify “sweet spots” for optimally designed drilling and to monitor hydraulic reservoir stimulation.
  • Real-time 3D seismic data acquisition, processing, and interpretation, including land geophone/seismometers and distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) acquisition.
  • Time-lapse monitoring of hydrocarbon production and injection activities, hydraulic fracturing, and reservoir compaction using borehole, surface and seabed seismic data as well as space-based observation.
  • Automated quantitative seismic interpretation with uncertainty quantification.


What tools will CWP develop to address these challenges?

Successfully addressing these topics over the next couple of years requires the development of a suite of analytic and computational tools that extend our traditional research strengths in new and complementary directions:

  • Elastic anisotropic waveform inversion for high-resolution reservoir characterization (with emphasis on unconventional plays) and model building.
  • Methodologies for high-quality dense seismic acquisition using single and multi-fiber DAS, interconnected sensor networks, and autonomous vehicles.
  • Geophysical applications of compressive sensing, including sparse and optimized 3D acquisition design, full-wavefield reconstruction including 5D interpolation, imaging and inversion.
  • Novel approaches to 3D and 4D multiphysics/multiparameter inversion, using geological and petrophysical constraints.
  • Novel applications of Marchenko imaging and interferometry theory in complex geological environments.
  • Physics-based machine deep learning and data mining technologies.
  • A state-of-the-art HPC CPU/GPU toolbox of CWP codes to support geophysical research and education.

CWP is committed to advancing the state of knowledge in applied seismology in a rapidly changing economic and technological environment, and to maintaining a close partnership with industry sponsors.