Seismic modeling of complex stratified reservoirs
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Turbidite reservoirs in deep-water depositional systems, such as the oil fields in the offshore Gulf of Mexico and North Sea, are becoming an important exploration target in the petroleum industry. Accurate seismic reservoir characterization, however, is complicated by the heterogeneous of the sand and shale distribution and also by the lack of resolution when imaging thin channel deposits. Amplitude variation with offset (AVO) is a very important technique that is widely applied to locate hydrocarbons. Inaccurate estimates of seismic reflection amplitudes may result in misleading interpretations because of these problems in application to turbidite reservoirs. Therefore, an efficient, accurate, and robust method of modeling seismic responses for such complex reservoirs is crucial and necessary to reduce exploration risk. A fast and accurate approach generating synthetic seismograms for such reservoir models combines wavefront construction ray tracing with composite reflection coefficients in a hybrid modeling algorithm. The wavefront construction approach is a modern, fast implementation of ray tracing that I have extended to model quasishear wave propagation in anisotropic media. Composite reflection coefficients, which are computed using propagator matrix methods, provide the exact seismic reflection amplitude for a stratified reservoir model. This is a distinct improvement over conventional AVO analysis based on a model with only two homogeneous half spaces. I combine the two methods to compute synthetic seismograms for test models of turbidite reservoirs in the Ursa field, Gulf of Mexico, validating the new results against exact calculations using the discrete wavenumber method. The new method, however, can also be used to generate synthetic seismograms for the laterally heterogeneous, complex stratified reservoir models. The results show important frequency dependence that may be useful for exploration. Because turbidite channel systems often display complex vertical and lateral heterogeneity that is difficult to measure directly, stochastic modeling is often used to predict the range of possible seismic responses. Though binary models containing mixtures of sands and shales have been proposed in previous work, log measurements show that these are not good representations of real seismic properties. Therefore, I develop a new approach for generating stochastic turbidite models (STM) from a combination of geological interpretation and well log measurements that are more realistic. Calculations of the composite reflection coefficient and synthetic seismograms predict direct hydrocarbon indicators associated with such turbidite sequences. The STMs provide important insights to predict the seismic responses for the complexity of turbidite reservoirs. Results of AVO responses predict the presence of gas saturation in the sand beds. For example, as the source frequency increases, the uncertainty in AVO responses for brine and gas sands predict the possibility of false interpretation in AVO analysis.
Lai, Hung-Liang (2007). Seismic modeling of complex stratified reservoirs. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from