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Distinguishing fizz gas from commercial gas reservoirs using multicomponent seismic data

FUPING ZHU, RICHARD L. GIBSON JR., JOEL S. WATKINS, and SUNG HWAN YUH, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.
artial gas discrimination is a challenging problem because low and high gas saturation can result in very similar seismic AVO, bright spot, and velocity sag anomalies. This is typically explained using Gassmanns theory: i.e., (1) small amounts of gas in the pore space cause large decreases in rock incompressibility while further increasing gas content does not reduce rock incompressibility significantly, and (2) the shear modulus is not affected by nonviscous fluids in the rock pore space. In addition, rock bulk density varies gradually with water saturation, as predicted using the volume-average equation. Consequently, low-gas saturation reservoirs and high-gas saturation reservoirs can have similar VP and VP/VS values (or, equivalently, Poissons ratios). Therefore, in many cases, high and low gas saturations cannot be distinguished using existing hydrocarbon indicators and techniques. These indicators include those based on VP variations, such as velocity sags, and those based on Poissons ratio variations. The latter category has many variations bright spots, amplitude variation with the offset of P-wave seismic data, VP/VS from P-wave or multicomponent seismic data, the fluid factor (Smith and Gidlow, 1987), Lams petrophysical parameters (Goodway et al., 1997), and other similar approaches. Density information may sometimes distinguish high and low gas saturations. However, density variation due to lithology changes can be much larger than density variation associated with fluid changes so that the latter is masked (Zhu, 2000). Fortunately, when high-quality multicomponent seismic data are available, ratios of amplitude measures from P-P and P-S seismic reflections (RPP and RPS, respectively) may be good partial gas indicators (PGIs). These ratios, RPP/RPS and RPS/RPP, are determined by the differences between coefficients measured in a water saturated area and another target area with unknown saturation. The basic idea is to compare reflectivities from a target portion of the reservoir that has unknown water saturation with an area that is 100% water-saturated. Reflection coefficients are evaluated for the same incident angle . This paper discusses how R PS , R PP / R PS , and RPS/RPP might be able to distinguish water-saturation variations based on theoretical reflection coefficients and synthetic seismograms in homogeneous and isotropic media. Theoretical reflection coefficients are computed using the Zoeppritz equations. Sand VP, VS, and density variations as functions of water saturation are computed using Gassmanns equation. The results of our analysis suggest that RPP/RPS and RPS/RPP can discriminate low and high gas saturation in all four classes of gas sands. Methodology. We calculate reflection coefficients assuming a model of two welded, elastic, isotropic half spaces. Each set of calculations assumes constant shale properties. Likewise, the properties of the background sand, the 100% water-saturated region, are also fixed and give the background RPP and RPS. Sand properties in the target area change due to water-saturation variations and yield that regions values of RPP and RPS. We first consider a Class 3 reservoir where sand prop1238 THE LEADING EDGE NOVEMBER 2000

Figure 1. Examples of sand properties computed using Gassmanns equations. erties change with water saturation. R PS/ R PP and RPP/RPS were tested for partial gas discrimination when gas gradually but continuously replaced brine in the pore space. Then, shale and/or sand properties were varied to test a series of reservoirs and demonstrate whether RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS are theoretically good PGIs for all four classes of reservoirs. We compute RPP and RPS using the exact Zoeppritz equations. RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS are then computed from the theoretical reflection coefficients. Paraxial ray tracing is used to generate synthetic seismograms, and the proposed PGIs are then tested on them. The PGIs are also tested against other seismic attributes with potential for partial gas discrimination. The effect of gas saturation on velocities is computed using Gassmanns equations when gas gradually replaces brine in the rock pore. The cases we considered include (1) different Poissons ratios for the shale and the sand, (2) different porosities of the sand, and (3) different densities. When RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS are tested to compare high and low gas saturation, the background sand properties are computed using Wang and Nurs (1992) best-fit curves of brine-saturated sands from data in several places. The drained bulk and shear moduli in the target area are computed using Gassmanns equations. Density is obtained using the volume-average equation. When the elastic moduli deviate from the best-fit curves, VP, VS, and density will differ from those sands that fit the best-fit curves, and watersaturation variations will result in variations of Poissons ratio. This is also tested. Model studies. First, we assume that the sand is dominated by quartz and that its porosity is 20%. The bulk and shear moduli of the brine-saturated sand are 19.48 and 11.25 GPa,
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Figure 2. RPP (a) and RPS (b) as a function of water saturation at the top of a Class 3 gas reservoir. Labels in the charts are water saturations for the closest curves.

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Figure 3. RPS at the top (a) and bottom (b) of the reservoir in Figure 2. respectively. The drained bulk modulus, computed from Gassmanns equations, is then 15.78 GPa, based on the parameter values in Table 1 (from Wang and Nur, 1992). The VP, VS, and density of the sand are computed as functions of water saturation from the Gassmann and volumeaverage equations. Typical results are shown in Figure 1. Small amounts of gas reduce VP dramatically because gas reduces the bulk modulus significantly. Additional gas does not reduce VP because the further change in bulk modulus is slight, but VP does increase gradually when the effect of the decrease in the rock bulk density exceeds the effect of the decrease in the bulk modulus. On the other hand, VS systematically increases with increasing gas. As a result,
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Table 1. Density and bulk modulus (k) of rock components used in the model
Density (g/cm3) k (GPa) Quartz 2.65 40.00 Brine 1.00 2.25 Gas 0.20 0.06

Poissons ratio for the sand at 80% water saturation is about the same as it is at 20% water saturation. The density of the sand is about 2.32 at pure brine-saturation and 2.16 at pure gas saturation. The density drops only about 7% from pure brine to pure gas saturation.
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Figure 4. RPP/RPS at the top (a) and bottom (b) of the reservoir in Figure 2.

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Figure 5. RPS/RPP at the top (a) and bottom (b) of the reservoir in Figure 2. We now take VP, VS, and the density of the shale equal to 3.9 km/s, 2.086 km/s, and 2.3 g/cm3, respectively. The zero-offset P-wave reflectivity is -0.001 when the sand is purely brine-saturated, and -0.047 when purely gas-saturated. These values are computed from the exact Zoeppritz equations at the shale/sand interface. The AVO gradient is negative, so this is a Class 2 brine sand changing to a Class 3 gas sand laterally as hydrocarbon content varies. Figure 2 shows RPP and RPS as a function of the incident angle for water-saturation values ranging from 1.0 to 0.0. Warm colors indicate high gas saturation and cool colors indicate low gas saturation.
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Figure 2a shows that the RPP of the gas sands (low or high gas saturation) are very close, although the RPP of the pure brine-saturated sand is separated from the rest. All the gas sands have similar P-wave AVO patterns, with approximately equal intercepts and amplitudes that increase with incident angle. Therefore, P-wave bright spot and AVO techniques would not be very effective for partial gas detection in this case. Changes in RPS should be easier to detect (Figure 2b). However, in this case, interpreters must look for dim spots on converted-wave data. Because it is simpler to see bright spots, and this may be a more natural anomaly to seek in
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Figure 6. RPP (a), RPS (b), and RPS/RPP (c) at the top of a Class 4 gas sand. field data, another PGI may be more effective. For example, the RPS difference between the background (Sw = 1.0) and the target area, RPS, indicates high gas saturation with high amplitudes (Figure 3a). However, RPS is primarily negative at the top of the reservoir (Figure 3a) but positive at the bottom of the reservoir (Figure 3b). This behavior would force the interpreter to seek different anomalies. In contrast, when changes in RPP and RPS are combined in the RPP/RPS ratio, high gas saturation results in relatively weak amplitude values at both the top (Figure 4a) and the bottom (Figure 4b) of the reservoir. On the other hand, low gas saturation shows very negative RPP/RPS values and its gradient varies significantly over the offset range. A potential problem with this approach is that RPP/RPS is not stable in the very near offset range where RPSis very small. The reciprocal ratio, RPS/RPP, will avoid this instability and have large magnitudes for high gas saturations; it therefore is a more intuitive PGI. Like RPP/RPS, the RPS/RPP values are negative and their curves for different water saturations are well separated at both the shale/sand interface (Figure 5a) and the sand/shale interface (Figure 5b). Unlike RPP/RPS, however, high gas saturation shows large RPS/RPP magnitude and steep negative gradients over the offset range. If traces converted to RPS/RPP values are stacked, a bright spot will indicate high gas saturation and a dim spot low gas saturation, in keeping with the tradition of associating bright spots with gas detection. In addition, RPS/RPP is more sensitive in the intermediate offset range where both RPP and RPS are likely measured in seismic data. Therefore, RPS/RPP is an even better partial gas indicator (PGI) than RPP/RPS. When the sand and/or shale properties are changed to represent different classes of reservoirs and when the Poissons ratios of the sand and the shale vary, RPP/RPS and RPS/RPP are still effective PGIs for most cases. An example of a Class 4 gas sand is shown in Figure 6. The top reflections of the reservoirs have positive P-wave AVO gradients. Although Class 4 gas sands have this unique AVO behavior, RPS/RPP still works for partial gas discrimina1242 THE LEADING EDGE NOVEMBER 2000

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Incident angle (degree)

tion. In this example, the sands are the same as in Figure 2. The shale has VP of 4.094 km/s, VS of 2.4 km/s, and density of 2.4 g/cm3. The shales velocities and density are all larger than those of the sand. Figure 7 shows several RPS/RPP curves for different water saturations as a function of the incident angle at the top of reservoirs. The model in Figure 7a shows a Class 2 sand. Figure 7b shows a Class 1 gas reservoir at different water saturations. The sand reservoirs are the same as in Figure 2. The shale in Figure 7a has VP of 3.7 km/s, VS of 1.98 km/s, and density of 2.3 g/cm3. The shale in Figure 7b has VP of 2.8 km/s, VS of 1.496 km/s, and density of 2.3 g/cm3. Like the model in Figure 2, the shales have higher Poissons ratios than the brine and gas sands. The density of the shale is smaller than that of the brine sand but larger than the densities of the gas sands. The density in Figure 7b decreases from the shale to the sand, while VP increases. This
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Figure 7. RPS/RPP at the shale/sand interfaces of a Class 2 gas sand (a), a Class 1 gas sand (b), and another Class 1 gas sand (c). is different from Figure 2, where both VP and density decrease from the shale to the sand. In Figure 7c, sand porosity changes to 25% and, consequently, velocities and density decrease. The bulk and shear moduli of the brine-saturated sands in this example were changed to be arbitrarily smaller than predicted using the best-fit curves of Wang and Nur. This results in large Poissons ratio variations associated with water-saturation changes. The Poissons ratio of the brine-saturated sand increases to 0.32. The values for the gas sand decreases to 0.15 at 80% water saturation and 0.1 at pure gas saturation. The shale velocities are the same as in Figure 7b, but the density increases to 2.5 g/cm3. Therefore, the shale has higher velocities and higher density than all sands. And the Poissons ratio of the shale in Figure 7c is smaller than that of the brine-saturated sand but larger than that of the gas sands. This is another Class 1 reservoir at the shale/sand interface. These different classes of reservoirs have clearly different RPP and RPS characteristics. Bright spots and AVO in many models are not sensitive to water saturations. However, as shown in Figure 6, RPS/RPP curves of different water saturations are all well separated. The bottom reflections of these reservoirs are tested too. They all have RPP/RPS and RPS/RPP patterns similar to those at the top of the reservoirs. The RPS/RPP ratio has some common characteristics in all models. For high gas saturation, it is negative when the incident angle is below 30 and it normally has negative steep gradients in these incident angles. For low gas saturation, however, RPS/RPP is either negative with gentle gradients or at least partly positive. If traces converted to RPS/RPP are stacked, high gas saturation demonstrates negative bright spots; low gas saturation often shows negative or positive dim spots, or sometimes, positive bright spots. Therefore, high gas saturation should be distinguishable from low gas saturation using RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS. The method is applicable for all four classes of reservoirs, at the shale/sand or sand/shale interface. It is applicable when the shale density and velocity both larger than those of the
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sands or when one is larger and the other is smaller. It is applicable when the Poissons ratio is larger than, equal to, or smaller than that of the brine-saturated sand or sand with low gas mixture. No prior knowledge of the reservoir class is required. And no velocity and density information of the reservoirs is required. Exceptions occur when the Poissons ratio of the shale is smaller than the Poissons ratio of a sand with high gas saturation. Gas reservoirs like these are probably not encountered very often. Exceptions may also occur when the velocities and density of the sand do not fit the predictions of Gassmanns equations. Several other seismic attributesincluding RPP, RPS, RPP/RPP, and RPS/RPS were tested against RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS to determine the best PGIs. Of these other attributes, only RPS (P-S wave AVO and bright spot) can distinguish partial gas saturation in many cases (Figure 3).
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Figure 8. Seismograms at the top of three reservoir with porosity of 20%: (a) Background Sand, Sw = 100%, (b) Target Sand 1, Sw = 80%, and (c) Target Sand 2, Sw = 20%.

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Figure 9. Difference of the seismograms in Figure 8 of Sw = 100% and (a) Target Sand 1, Sw = 80%, and (b) Target Sand 2, Sw = 20%, as a function of incident angle. Yafei Wu (1999, personal communication) also found that RPS could be a good PGI. High gas saturation always makes RPS more positive at the shale/sand interface and more negative at the sand/shale interface. Therefore, RPS is positive at the shale/sand interface (Figure 3a) and positive at the sand/shale interface (Figure 3b). On the other hand, for all modeled cases, RPP varies in the opposite way to RPS when large amounts of gas are introduced to the pore space at incident angles smaller than 30. RPS /RPP is always negative for high gas saturation with small and intermediate offsets, as is RPP/RPS. Therefore, RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS are consistent PGIs for all cases. RPS/RPP is also more sensitive to water saturation than RPS. RPS/RPP is stable at the very near offsets and indicates high gas saturation with bright spots and therefore is preferred. In addition, because RPS/RPP and RPS are sensitive to gas saturation at intermediate to far offsets and RPP/RPS is sensitive at near offsets, they compensate for one another and reduce drilling risks due to inaccurate amplitude information at some offset ranges. Synthetic seismograms. Synthetic seismograms were generated using paraxial ray tracing for reservoirs in Figure 2. Sands with water saturation of 100% (background sand), 80% (target sand 1), and 20% (target sand 2) are used. These are a Class 2 brine formation and two Class 3 gas reservoirs, respectively. Table 2 lists velocities and density. The thickness of the top layer is 2 km. Figure 8 shows the synthetic seismograms for these examples. The top event is the P-P reflection and bottom is the PS reflection (as functions of offset). All have the same amplitude scale. Target sands 1 and 2 both have positive Pwave AVO responses, i.e., their amplitudes are negative at the zero offset and magnitude increases with offset. They also
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Table 2. Rock properties used for the synthetic seismograms


Shale B. Sand T. Sand 1 T. Sand 2 Vp (m/s) 3900 3855 3697 3755 Vs (m/s) 2086 2202 2217 2265 (g/cc) 2.300 2.320 2.288 2.192 Sw 1.0 0.8 0.2

all have similar P-S wave AVO patterns, although the magnitudes and angles of incidence for the RPS maxima or minima differ. These can cause misinterpretation and may lead to drilling in target sand 1, which contains fizz water. If P-S wave seismic data are not available, extensive forward modeling and prior knowledge of the rock properties are a must in order to detect gas in this case. Partial gas discrimination would not be possible because the RPP response for Sw = 0.8, which is almost the same as for Sw = 0.2. When multicomponent seismic data are available, however, detecting gas and even fizz water would be possible. RPS differences in the brine-saturated background area and the target area could be a good gas indicator. The results of subtracting the synthetic seismograms and the target sand areas (Figures 8b and 8c) from corresponding synthetic seismograms from the background area (Figure 8a) are shown in Figures 9a and 9b, respectively, as a function of incident angle. The top event is equivalent to RPP and the bottom event to RPS. These seismogram differences show more sensitivity for gas detection than the original seismograms. However, both RPP and RPS vary greatly from case to case. Without prior knowledge of reservoir class, it is hard to make drilling decisions without careful integration of RPP
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RPS/RPP is most sensitive to water saturation. For example, RPS/RPP of -500 at an incident angle of 30, scaled by 1000, may suggest commercial gas accumulation. A value of -50 suggests fizz gas. If traces converted to RPS/RPP data are stacked, high gas saturation shows negative bright spots and low gas saturation negative dim spots or positive spots. RPS/RPP and RPP/RPS are applicable to all four classes of gas reservoirs in the same way at the shale/sand and the sand/shale interfaces. They are applicable when the Poissons ratio of the shale is equal to or larger than that of sand with pure brine or small amount of gas. They are also applicable when density and velocity both increase or decrease, or one decreases and the other increases, from the shale to the sand.
Suggested reading. Framework for AVO gradient and intercept interpretation by Castagna et al. (GEOPHYSICS, 1998). Improved AVO fluid detection and lithology discrimination using Lam petrophysical parameters; , , & / fluid stack by Goodway et al. (SEG 1997 Expanded Abstracts). Weighted stacking for rock property estimation and detection of gas by Smith and Gidlow (Geophysical Prospecting, 1987). Elastic wave velocities in porous media: A theoretical recipe by Wang and Nur (in Seismic and Acoustic Velocities in Reservoir Rocks, Geophysics Reprint Series No. 10, SEG 1992). Shear-wave velocity estimation using multiple logs and multicomponent seismic AVO interpretation: Gulf of Thailand by Zhu (doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University, 2000). Distinguishing water saturation changes from porosity or clay content changes using multicomponent seismic data by Zhu et al. (GCAGS E Transactions, 2000). L
Acknowledgments: Special thanks to Dag Nummedal, Robert Estill, Greg Ball, and James DiSiena from Unocal Corporation for helpful discussions. F. Zhu is also grateful for a helpful discussion with several Vastar geophysicists, especially Keith W. Katahara and Ken Hargrove. Thanks also to Unocal for financial support of F. Zhu and to the SEG and GCAGS scholarship committees. Corresponding author: F. Zhu, fzhu@shellus.com

Figure 10. RPS/RPP of the two cases in Figure 9. Values measured from signed maximum amplitudes of the seismograms. and RPS. Therefore, seismic attributes that have consistent characteristics for different classes of reservoir are desired. Meanwhile, these attributes should enhance the sensitivity of seismic for detecting fluid and lithologic variations. Figure 10 shows RPS/RPP from the seismograms in Figure 9. The steep solid RPS/RPP curve in Figure 10, reaching -400 at 30, indicates high and normally commercial gas accumulation. The dotted RPS/RPP curve indicates low and normally noncommercial gas accumulation. Because RPS/RPP has consistent characteristics for high gas saturation in almost all classes of reservoirs, the amount of necessary prior knowledge of the reservoirs and model study is theoretically reduced. RPS/RPP also has higher sensitivity to water saturation than RPS. Notice also that Figure 10 uses the signed maximum RPS and RPP. If the rms RPS and RPP are used, RPS/RPP will be positive for all cases. Thus, the sensitivity of RPS/RPP toward high or low gas saturation is reduced for some cases such as Figure 7b, although it is still very sensitive in many other cases. Conclusions. RPS, RPS/RPP, and RPP/RPS can be effective hydrocarbon indicators and PGIs when high-quality multicomponent seismic data are available. These hydrocarbon indicators are more sensitive to water saturation variations than existing hydrocarbon indicators. RPS/RPP is a better PGI because it shows bright spots for high gas saturation, is most sensitive to water saturation in the intermediate offsets, and is stable for small angles of incidence. RPS/RPP distinguishes commercial gas reservoirs from noncommercial reservoirs with differences in the change of RPS/RPP at near and intermediate offsets. High gas saturation has steep negative RPS/RPP gradients and negative RPS/RPP values with large magnitudes. Low gas saturation has gentle negative RPS/RPP with small magnitudes and gentle gradients or sometimes has at least partly positive RPS/RPP. Gas saturation is also indicated by the RPS/RPP values in the intermediate offset range, where
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