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This study is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and Vecta Exploration. In its subcontract to
Vecta Exploration, Inc., the Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL), is developing a new seismic
technology to explore for subtle Mission Canyon oolitic limestone reservoirs in the Williston Basin.
This technology will be based on the acquisition and application of full-elastic (9-component) seismic
data. Mission Canyon reservoirs are elusive targets when exploration is based on conventional
compressional (P) wave seismic data. The attraction of 9-component (9-C) seismic data is that three
shear (S) wave modes can also be used for target imaging: SH-SH (horizontal shear), SV-SV (vertical
shear), and P-SV (converted shear) modes. Work at EGL has shown that each mode of an elastic wavefield
can, and often does, image stratal surfaces across a target interval differently than do other elastic
modes. Thus, any of the S modes can depict seismic sequences and seismic facies that are not observed
using P waves. This rich, expanded source of stratigraphic and lithofacies information in full-elastic
seismic wavefields needs to be utilized in Mission Canyon exploration. The objectives of this study are
to acquire, process, and interpret 9C3D seismic data across Mission Canyon plays, develop relationships
between drilling objectives and elastic-wavefield attributes, drill confirmation wells, and then share
research findings so that full-elastic seismic technology can be applied to improve oil exploration
across other areas.