We present a case study using full-waveform inversion for subsurface model update, including intra-salt, carbonate and adjacent sediment velocities with an effective total depth penetration of greater than 14 km, in the structurally complex Mexican Perdido fold belt in the Western Gulf of Mexico. The geology here comprises highly-deformed shallow salt allochthons and the abrupt juxtaposition of the surrounding sedimentary strata. The salt bodies are emplaced amongst shortened, fold and thrust belt elements and can be obscured by rafted carbonate sections. Given the challenges of model building in such a setting, a predominantly full-waveform inversion approach with access to the full seismic record is proposed to provide practical solutions for an effective update that does not require maintaining the discretion of model zones such as between sediment, salt, or carbonate velocities. Improving timely confidence in the seismic image and subsequent geologic interpretation for exploration remain the core objective.

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