Seismic imaging

BP leads the industry in developing and deploying seismic imaging technologies to support exploration, appraisal and development of oil and gas

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Discover BP's advanced seismic imaging technologies

Seismic data provides our most important lens into the subsurface. It allows us to see the reservoir rock structure and detect where hydrocarbon potential may lie. We also use it to detect changes in the reservoir as oil and gas is produced.

BP has led the industry in seismic technologies over the past fifteen years as we seek to break the trade-off between image quality and the cost of large-scale data acquisition.

We have a strong track record in developing and deploying seismic imaging technologies to deliver high quality images from marine environments and on land, in challenging terrains like deserts, forests and the arctic.

Our technology innovations


Innovative seismic acquisition

Driving efficiency without compromising quality

  • Wide Azimuth Towed Streamer
  • Ocean Bottom Nodes
  • Independent Simultaneous Source (ISS®) for land and ocean bottom seismic surveys

Imaging and modelling

Seismic imaging and modelling

New algorithms and workflows to improve resolution and understanding

  • Full Waveform Inversion
  • Synthetic Data Simulation


Seismic reservoir characterization

Improved calibration enabling better understanding of rock characteristics, composition and fluid movement

  • Integration Engine
  • 4D seismic tools and workflows
  • Distributed acoustic sensing
  • Geophysics for unconventional reservoirs

Seeing beneath salt

BP led the industry in subsalt imaging with Wide Azimuth Towed Streamer technology (WATS). WATS captures data from many angles (‘azimuths’) to effectively bypass huge salt canopies above oil and gas reservoirs. Since then we have deployed it extensively in the Gulf of Mexico and Angola.

Speeding up seismic surveys

We are evaluating how our Independent Simultaneous Source (ISS®) technology works in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, transferring experience from our recent offshore surveys in Trinidad and the North Sea. ISS® technology makes large-scale 3D surveys faster and lower cost by using multiple sources surveying simultaneously, with excess ‘noise’ processed out.
Our recent ‘ISS® on Ice’ survey at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska delivered a ten-fold increase in productivity, meaning we could acquire higher quality images in just one winter season.

Our seismic super computer

In 2013, BP opened a new Center for High Performance Computing in Houston. This is our worldwide hub for processing and managing huge amounts of BP’s geologic and seismic data, dedicated to developing and deploying our industry-leading seismic imaging technology. Our supercomputer is one of the world’s largest for commercial research and has a processing power of six petaflops.
ISS is a registered trade mark of BP p.l.c.

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