In 1924, the discovery of an oil field beneath the Nash salt dome in Brazoria County, Texas, was the first to be based on single-fold seismic data.
Before that, oilfield exploration was very much a guessing game based on surface signs.
Stakes were high, and rewards could be tremendous, but losses from dry holes could be devastating.
Then, engineers and geoscientists discovered that they could use low-frequency sound waves to map subsurface geologic structures and locate possible hydrocarbon traps.
Today, 3D-seismic technology is applied to solve problems and reduce uncertainties across the entire range of exploration, development, and production operations. Surveys are used to characterize and model reservoirs, to plan and execute enhanced-oil-recovery strategies, and to monitor fluid movement in reservoirs as they are developed and produced. These capabilities have been made possible by advancements in data acquisition, processing, and interpretation that have both improved accuracy and reduced turnaround time.