Using a 3D finite element forward modeling code to analyze resistive structures with controlled-source electromagnetics in a marine environment
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Controlled-Source Electromagnetics (CSEM) is a method that has been used since the 1980s in the marine environment for determining electrical properties of the subsurface. Receivers on the seafloor collect total electric and magnetic fields which are produced as a result of interaction of the transmitter generated primary fields with the seawater and subsurface. Badea et al. (2001) coded an existing algorithm for solving Maxwells equations. This finite element 3D forward modeling algorithm is used to simulate CSEM experiments. The objective of the present study is to model the changes in electromagnetic response for a resistive disk and a more geometrically complex structure, which are rough approximations of hydrocarbon reservoirs. The parameters that are varied in studying these subsurface structures are the disk radius, disk depth, the transmitter frequency, the transmitter location, and the structure orientation.The results showed that a disk of finite radius behaves similar to an infinite disk at short range and grades into double half-space behavior at longer ranges. The frequency of the transmitter must be tuned to the disk depth as certain frequencies will penetrate too shallow or too deep to probe the disk. Moving the transmitter away from the receivers causes a decrease in signal strength, but exhibits a greater capacity to distinguish between the double half-space and infinite disk scenarios. The disk was then replaced by a more complex structure. To determine if the 3D nature of the structure may be located a study was undertaken to probe the structure from different perspectives using different transmitter locations and azimuths. It is determined that the 3D nature of the structure could not be observed until the structures thickness is sufficiently large.The goal of the study is to better understand the effect of subsurface parameters on the total fields and show the usefulness of the 3D forward modeling code. Understanding the relationships between these parameters and the resulting signals is important in terms of setting up a real experiment. Marine CSEM studies are costly and using a valuable tool such as an accurate finite element 3D forward modeling algorithm may save time and money.
King, Joshua David (2004). Using a 3D finite element forward modeling code to analyze resistive structures with controlled-source electromagnetics in a marine environment. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from