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Seismic Snapshots for Reservoir Monitoring

Seismic surveys acquired at different stages in the life of a reservoir can

provide time-lapse snapshots of the fluid distribution over production time.

This technique, called four-dimensional (4D) seismic reservoir monitoring, is

helping operators delineate bypassed hydrocarbons and design development

programs to optimize recovery and extend the useful life of fields.

Lars Pedersen

Statoil

Bergen, Norway

Sarah Ryan

Colin Sayers

Cambridge, England

Lars Sonneland Helene Hafslund Veire

Stavanger, Norway

For help in preparation of this article, thanks to Olav Holberg, Geco-Prakla, Oslo, Norway; Dominique Pajot and Robin Walker, Geco-Prakla, Gatwick, England; and Benoit Reymond, Geco-Prakla, Stavanger, Norway. RST (Reservoir Saturation Tool) and TRISOR are marks of Schlumberger. Some work described in this article was performed as part of the Thermie project “4D Seismic,” European Commission Contract No. OG 117/94 UK.

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Oilfield Review

Reservoir management today is a science of approximation when it comes to the rate and direction of fluid-front movement. Opti- mal management requires up-to-date infor- mation throughout the entire reservoir vol- ume. Access to the latest data on fluid distribution in a reservoir, and knowledge of how that distribution is changing with time, allows engineers to develop cost-effective strategies to get the most out of every field at the lowest possible risk. Today, in addition to static, or one-time measurements, time-dependent answers from various oilfield disciplines help con- strain, refine and improve the accuracy of reservoir models. Time-lapse logging of fluid saturation through casing can show which zones are contributing to production and which are watering out or being bypassed. 1 Permanent downhole sensors provide continual observations of pressure, temperature and other diagnostics of reser- voir performance. 2 These measurements supply crucial infor- mation about fluid behavior at the well location, but fail in the vast interwell region. One measurement technique, the 3D seis- mic survey, has routinely been relied on to provide interwell data. In the past, seismic surveys were mainly interpreted for struc-

Winter 1996

tural features and stratigraphic variations within the reservoir, but they can also be sensitive to contrasts in fluid type. Applied in surveys separated by periods of produc- tion, time-lapse, or four-dimensional (4D)— 3D plus time—seismic images can map fluid changes in a producing reservoir (below). This article describes the technique, the rock physics and seismic modeling required for successful application, con- straints in seismic acquisition, and new interpretation methodologies that allow changes in seismic response to be inter- preted as changes in saturation. Application of these techniques will be discussed in an example from the North Sea Gullfaks field where water is displacing oil—the ultimate challenge in seismic monitoring.

How 4D Works

As a reservoir is exploited, pore fluid under- goes changes in temperature, pressure and composition. For example, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes such as steam injection increase temperature. Production of any fluid typically lowers fluid pressure,

increasing effective pressure of overburden on the formation rock. Gas injection and waterflooding mainly change fluid composi- tion and pressure. These fluid changes alter the formation’s seismic velocity and density, which combine to affect travel times, ampli- tude and many other features, or attributes, of reflected seismic waves. When these changes are great enough, a seismic survey acquired after years of pro- duction—called a monitor survey in this article—will show different attributes than one acquired earlier, perhaps even before production begins—the baseline survey. With today’s computer technology, it is pos- sible to take the difference between two sur- veys, be that the change in amplitude, fre- quency, phase, polarity, reflection intensity, or of any seismic trace attribute (see “Seis- mic Attributes,”next page). 3 The key to 4D seismic monitoring is for the change to be sufficiently large to be seen once the differ- ence between a baseline survey and subse- quent monitor surveys is computed.

1. For a review: Albertin I, Darling H, Mahdavi M, Plasek R, Cedeño I, Hemingway J, Richter P, Markley M, Olesen J-R, Roscoe B and Zeng W: “The Many Facets of Pulsed Neutron Cased-Hole Logging,” Oil- field Review 8, no. 2 (Summer 1996): 28-41.

2. Baker A, Gaskell J, Jeffrey J, Thomas A, Veneruso T and Unneland T: “Permanent Monitoring—Looking at Life- time Reservoir Dynamics,” Oilfield Review 7, no. 4 (Winter 1995): 32-47.

3. For background on seismic attributes: Taner MT and Sheriff RE: “Application of Amplitude, Frequency, and Other Attributes to Stratigraphic and Hydrocarbon Determination,” in Payton CE (ed): Seismic Stratigra- phy—Applications to Hydrocarbon Exploration AAPG Memoir 26. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA: American Associ- ation of Petroleum Geologists (1977): 301-327.

Seismic snapshots chronicling fluid movement over the lifetime of a reservoir.

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Seismic Attributes

Seismic attributes represent a way to compress the information contained in seismic traces. Attributes, such as amplitude, frequency, phase, polarity and a host of others, may be defined in different ways. 1 Some are computed at one time sample—that of the interpreted top of the reservoir, or whatever surface is being characterized. Such attributes are called instantaneous. Taken collectively, over many traces, the attribute then represents some characteristic of the reflecting surface. Display of an instantaneous attribute is often accomplished by color coding the display of the surface itself in two or three dimensions (next page, left). Other attributes may be computed over several time samples in a trace, effectively describing a volume. Called volume attributes, they compress a

1. For the classic introduction to seismic attributes:

Taner and Sheriff, reference 3, main text.

2. Sønneland L and Barkved O: “Use of Seismic

Attributes in Reservoir Characterization,” in Buller AT, Berg E, Hjelmeland O, Kleppe J, Torsæter O and Aasen JO (eds): North Sea Oil and Gas Reservoirs—II. London, England: Graham & Trotman (1990): 125-

128.

3. Alam A, Matsumoto S, Hurst C and Caragounis P:

“Qualitative Porosity Prediction from Seismic Attributes,” presented at the 65th Society of Exploration Geophysicists International Exposition and Annual Meeting, Houston, Texas, USA, October 8-13, 1995, paper IN2.2.

4. Risch DL, Donaldson BE and Taylor CK: “3D Seismic Sequence Stratigraphy of Lowstand Deposits,” pre- sented at the SEG Summer Research Workshop on 3-

D Seismology: Integrated Comprehension of Large

Data Volumes, Rancho Mirage, California, USA, August 1-6, 1993.

5. Heggland R: “Detection of Ancient Morphology and Potential Hydrocarbon Traps Using 3-D Seismic Data

and Attribute Analysis,” presented at the 65th Society

of Exploration Geophysicists International Exposition

and Annual Meeting, Houston, Texas, USA, October 8-13, 1995, paper IN2.3.

potentially large quantity of seismic data into a single value. For example, reflection heterogene- ity, related to the “length” of seismic trace between two selected time samples, says some- thing about the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the internal reflector pattern in the volume of reservoir between the two time samples. 2 A third type, a surface attribute, can be com- puted on a defined area of the interpreted surface. Examples are the apparent dip and dip azimuth of the surface. Different attributes can be sensitive to different reservoir properties. Instantaneous phase, for example, highlights continuity of reflectors. Instantaneous frequency has been reported as a light-hydrocarbon indicator. Acoustic impedance

Instantaneous Amplitude

indicator. Acoustic impedance Instantaneous Amplitude Polynomial Factor contrast has been used for porosity

Polynomial Factor

Acoustic impedance Instantaneous Amplitude Polynomial Factor contrast has been used for porosity mapping. 3 Vol- ume

contrast has been used for porosity mapping. 3 Vol- ume reflection heterogeneity is sometimes a lithology indicator. 4 Dip and dip azimuth are pow- erful fault and fracture indicators. 5 Finding the right attribute, or combination of attributes, that will show sensitivity to the reservoir properties of interest, is the job of the interpreter. Interpreting 4D seismic data for fluid contact changes in Gullfaks field requires mapping the top of the reservoir, pinpointing areas where different caprocks overlie the reservoir and identifying the type of fluid below. This process relies on a com- bination of instantaneous and volume attributes (below). Instantaneous attributes show sensitivity to the top surface of the reservoir and volume attributes describe the fluid content.

Amplitude Deviation

attributes describe the fluid content. Amplitude Deviation Polynomial Factor ■ ■ Seismic attributes of the top

Polynomial Factor

the fluid content. Amplitude Deviation Polynomial Factor ■ ■ Seismic attributes of the top reservoir surface.

Seismic attributes of the top reservoir surface. The instantaneous attributes describe the top surface of the reservoir, and volume attributes are sensitive to fluid content. The instantaneous amplitude (top left) shows posi- tive amplitudes in red grading to negative amplitudes in blue. Instantaneous amplitude deviation (top right) enhances definition of regions where amplitude changes from positive (white) to negative (blue). The two attributes plotted in the bottom figures are related to principal components of a polynomial that approximates the trace shape.

34

Oilfield Review

Seismic Data Cube

y x Time
y
x
Time

Amplitude Attribute (high in middle)

y x Frequency Attribute (low in middle) y x
y
x
Frequency Attribute (low in middle)
y
x

Computing attributes on a time surface in a 3D seismic volume. The seismic character of each trace is analyzed at the selected time (top) and assigned a value. For example, the amplitude of each trace on a surface can be mapped on a separate plot (middle). In this example, higher amplitudes near the center of the 3D seismic volume plot as higher values in the center of the 2D amplitude plot. Other attribute sur- faces are computed in the same way (bottom).

Winter 1996

1.1 1.0 0% oil 100% brine 0.9 50% oil 0.8 50% brine 0.7 100% oil
1.1
1.0
0% oil
100% brine
0.9
50% oil
0.8
50% brine
0.7
100% oil
0% brine
0.6
0 50
100
150
200
Normalized compressional velocity
Compressional velocity, m/sec

Temperature, deg C

2000

1600

1200

800

0 20 40 60 80 100
0
20
40
60
80
100

Gas saturation, %

10 Water Oil 9 Gas 8 Saturation change 4% 7 Pressure change 12% 6 5
10
Water
Oil
9
Gas
8
Saturation
change 4%
7
Pressure
change 12%
6
5
Initial
Producer
stress
stress
4
0
10
20
30
40
50
Acoustic impedance

Effective stress, MPa

Effect of gas and high temperature on seismic velocity. Increasing temperature decreases velocity in oil-filled rocks (left). Introduction of gas also decreases velocity dra- matically (center). A decrease in fluid pressure has the opposite effect (right), increasing acoustic impedance—the product of velocity times density.

If temperature and pressure in the reservoir are known, the effects on seismic properties expected from a change in fluid properties can be estimated from laboratory experi- ments on core samples. Most of the changes in seismic behavior come from fluid effects on the formation’s seismic velocity rather than on its density. Laboratory experiments on fluid-filled rock show how temperature,

pressure and fluid content can either decrease or increase seismic velocity. 4

4. Murphy W, Reischer A and Hsu K: “Modulus Decom-

position of Compressional and Shear Velocities in Sand Bodies,” Geophysics 58 (February 1993): 227-

239.

Clark VA: “The Effect of Oil Under In-Situ Conditions

on the Seismic Properties of Rocks,” Geophysics 57,

(July 1992): 894-901. Tosaya C, Nur A, Vo-Thanh D and Da Prat G: “Labora- tory Seismic Methods for Remote Monitoring of Ther- mal EOR,” SPE Reservoir Engineering 2 (May 1987):

235-242.

Wang Z and Nur A: “Wave Velocities in Hydrocar- bon-Saturated Rocks: Experimental Results,” Geo- physics 55 (June 1990): 723-733. Watts GFT, Jizba D, Gawith DE and Gutteridge P:

“Reservoir Monitoring of the Magnus Field Through 4D Time-Lapse Seismic Analysis,” Petroleum Geo- science 2, no. 4 (November 1996): 361-372.

5. Greaves RJ and Fulp TJ: “Three-Dimensional Seismic Monitoring of an Enhanced Oil Recovery Process,” Geophysics 52 (September 1987): 1175-1187. He W, Anderson RN, Xu L, Boulanger A, Meadow B and Neal R: “4D Seismic Monitoring Grows as Pro- duction Tool,” Oil & Gas Journal 24, no. 21 (May 20, 1996): 41-44, 46.

6. Ariffin T, Solomon G, Ujang S, Bée M, Jenkins S, Cor- bett C, Dorn G, Withers R, Özdemir H and Pearse C:

“Seismic Tools for Reservoir Management,” Oilfield Review 7, no. 4 (Winter 1995): 4-17.

7. Johnstad SE, Uden RC and Dunlop KNB: “Seismic Reservoir Monitoring Over the Oseberg Field,” First Break 11 (May 1993): 177-185. Bossert A, Blanche J-P, Capelle P, Marrauld J and Torheim E: “Seismic Monitoring on the Frigg Gasfield (Norway) Using AVO Attributes and Inversion,” pre- sented at the 55th Meeting and Technical Exhibition of the European Association of Exploration Geophysi- cists, Stavanger, Norway, June 7-11, 1993.

Introduction of gas into liquid-filled rock or an increase in temperature of hydrocar- bon-filled rock both cause a decrease in seismic velocity (above). Introduction of gas decreases velocity substantially by making the fluid mixture compressible. The effect of increasing temperature makes hydrocarbons less viscous, reducing overall rigidity and therefore reducing seismic velocity. Both effects are most prominent at low overbur- den stress, such as in shallow, unconsoli- dated sands. A dramatic increase in velocity can occur with decrease in fluid pressure, as typically occurs during oil production. The decrease in fluid pressure increases effective stress on the reservoir rock, stiffening the matrix and increasing velocity. Replacing oil with water gives rise to a moderate increase in seismic velocity. This increase reaches about 10% in clean, high- porosity sandstones, and can be even greater in unconsolidated sands. Above 30% poros- ity, seismic velocities of oil-filled and water- filled rocks become distinguishable, at least in theory and in the laboratory (next page). Most successes in early tests of seismic monitoring occurred where the dramatic effects of temperature increase and gas introduction gave clear results. In the 1980s, the first reported time-lapse surveys were made on combustion and steamflood pro- jects, where temperature effects are easiest to see. 5 Today, in some reservoirs, seismic monitoring of EOR progress continues to be a cost-effective reservoir management tool. 6 Successes have also been reported in time-lapse seismic monitoring of gas-oil contacts. Norsk Hydro began seismic moni- toring of the gas-oil contact in the giant, North Sea, Oseberg field in 1991, and Elf Aquitaine performed a similar project in the nearby Frigg field. 7

35

Distinguishing gas, oil and water. Com- pressional velocities of gas-, oil- and water-filled clean sandstones are simi- lar at low porosities, but are different enough at high porosities to allow fluid identification. Symbols represent laboratory velocity measurements, while curves are theoreti- cal predictions. (From Murphy et al, reference 4.)

5 Water 4 Oil Gas 3 2 1 0 10 20 30 40 Normalized V
5
Water
4
Oil
Gas
3
2
1
0 10
20
30
40
Normalized V p

Porosity, %

Until recently, the technique was consid- ered unproven for monitoring movement of an oil-water contact (OWC). However, Sta- toil petrophysicists working on sonic logs from the Gullfaks field uncovered inconsis- tencies in log response that turned into favorable conditions for 4D seismic moni- toring. Openhole logs from three wells drilled through the original OWC, com- pared to logs from wells drilled into water- flushed areas, showed consistently higher velocities in the water-filled zones than in

Fluid substitution requires knowledge of the density, porosity, and bulk and shear moduli of the rock frame, the bulk modulus of the grains making up the rock, and the density and bulk modulus of the two fluids, all at the pressure and temperature conditions of the reservoir. Rock grain properties are usually measured in the laboratory, while the rock frame and fluid properties may be measured in the lab or inferred from borehole measure- ments of compressional and shear velocities, porosity and density (next page, top).

those zones filled with oil. Sonic logs run in

The computed compressional velocity can

a

steel-cased observation well were found

be used to model the anticipated change in

to

be unrepeatable from year to year.

seismic response at the top of the reservoir,

Periodic logging with the RST Reservoir Saturation Tool in the same well showed that the OWC was rising 13 m [42 ft] per year. Analysis showed that sonic logs above the OWC were repeatable from one year to the next, while below the OWC, sonic velocities increased where water had dis- placed oil. If borehole sonic waves could detect saturation changes at the well scale, perhaps seismic waves could do the same across the whole field.

in this case, the top of the Tarbert sand (next page, bottom). When the rock is filled with oil, a normal-incidence reflection has a very slight swing to the right. When rock is filled with water, the reflection shows a greater swing, and to the left. The difference in modeled responses to oil-filled and water- filled reservoir becomes more pronounced when the effects of seismic trace stacking are taken into account. This seismic modeling has assumed that

Predicting Success

the Tarbert sand is completely filled with either oil or water, but intermediate stages of

Seismic response to a change in fluid prop- erties at a reflector can be predicted through forward modeling, if elastic properties of the rock and fluids are known. Relationships published by Gassmann, and later reworded by many authors, can be used to predict density and seismic velocity through what is called fluid substitution—knowing the prop- erties of a rock filled with the original fluid, as well as the properties of the new fluid, allows computation of the properties of the newly filled rock. 8

saturation can also be modeled. If the OWC is an abrupt change in saturation that occurs over just a few feet or meters—as was prob- ably the case when the reservoir was at equilibrium before any fluids were pro- duced—the contact may also be a seismic reflector. After years of production, the satu- ration change may occur over a wide transi- tion zone, and may or may not appear as a discontinuity to seismic waves.

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Acquisition Concerns

Predicting that the “before” and “after” pic- tures will look different is just the first step in setting the stage for 4D seismic snap- shots. Seismic modeling usually assumes that survey parameters in the baseline and monitor surveys are identical. Survey parameters include receiver positions, source positions, source signature, and any directivity or coupling effects associated with the environment. In the past, this has limited most 4D experiments to land, where source positions can at least be marked and receivers permanently implanted and revis- ited for monitoring surveys. In the marine environment, permanent sensors have been used for decades, but usually for earthquake and other seismicity detection. Only in recent feasibility and pilot tests have ocean bottom cables been permanently installed over reservoirs for repeat seismic surveying. In what may be the biggest 4D seismic monitoring develop- ment so far, BP and Shell have installed per- manent cables in the seabed overlying the Foinaven field in the deep waters— 480 m [1575 ft]—of the North Sea west of Shetlands. 9 A baseline survey was acquired in 1995, and first oil will be produced in 1997. Monitor surveys are planned every year. In this deepwater environment, opera- tors hope that seismic imaging of bypassed hydrocarbons will help optimize future development plans. Permanent sensors for marine seismic monitoring are still in the experimental stage. And though they will likely ease some problems associated with imperfectly repeated experiments, they cannot promise the same weather, currents or other tempo- ral conditions that affect all marine surveys. This does not mean that 4D marine moni- toring is infeasible. While some geophysi- cists press the case for exact repeatability, others say a high degree of repeatability is desirable but not necessary. Most agree it is essential to eliminate as many physical vari- ables as possible between surveys. 10

8. Gassmann F: “Uber die Elastizät Poröser Medien,” Vierteljahrsschr. Naturforsch. Ges. Zürich 96 (1951):

1-23.

See also Murphy et al, reference 4 and Wang and Nur, reference 4.

9. Kristiansen P and Currie MT: “Seismic Imaging Capa- bilities Optimize Reservoir Management,” Petroleum Engineer International 67 (December 1995): 22-23,

25.

10. Von Flatern R: “Adding Time Makes Seismic Data a Production Tool,” Petroleum Engineer International 67 (December 1995): 17-18, 20-21.

Oilfield Review

Density, Oil-Filled Velocity, Oil-Filled g/cm 3 m/sec 1.95 2.95 2177 7622 Porosity Gamma Ray Density,
Density, Oil-Filled
Velocity, Oil-Filled
g/cm 3
m/sec
1.95
2.95
2177
7622
Porosity
Gamma Ray
Density, Water-Filled
Velocity, Water-Filled
■■Fluid substitution.
Replacing the oil
(red) in the pore
space with water
(blue) increases the
API
g/cm 3
m/sec
0
150
1.95
2.95
2177
7622
0
% 100
Top Tarbert
1880
density and com-
pressional velocity
in the high-porosity
Tarbert sand.
1900
1920
1940
1960
1980
Depth, m
Gamma Oil-Filled Synthetic Water-Filled Synthetic Ray Real Seismic Section Seismic Trace at Well API NIP
Gamma
Oil-Filled Synthetic
Water-Filled Synthetic
Ray
Real Seismic Section
Seismic
Trace at Well
API
NIP
Stack
NIP
Stack
50
125
1866
1875
Top
Tarbert
1900
1925
1950
Time, msec

Modeling seismic response to different fluids using log input. Normal-incidence compressional (NIP) synthetic seismograms computed for oil-filled Tarbert sand (track 2) and water-filled sand (track 5) show different charac- teristics at the top reservoir reflection. Real seismic data traces, however, are the result of stacking traces from many angles of incidence. The synthetic oil- and water-filled equivalents to the real stacking process are in tracks 3 and 6, respectively. The seismic section near the well is shown in track 4. The seismic trace at the well location is in track 7, repeated several times for ease of comparison with the synthetics.

Winter 1996

37

For some time, conventional towed marine 3D has involved careful positioning of in- sea elements, with differential global posi- tioning system antenna and acoustic ranging routinely providing receiver streamer posi- tioning accuracy to within a couple of meters. 11 Imminent technological improve- ments that help correct for tidal changes will improve overall data quality and accuracy. Similarly, improvements in source monitor- ing possible with the TRISOR source control system should lead to the elimination of most of the variability in individual shot characteristics, or signatures. With this vari- ability minimized, processing should be able to give “matched” data sets, in which differences between surveys are removed. To ensure that the data from the two sur- veys resemble repeat acquisitions, the repeatability must be quantified. This requires a diagnostic tool to verify that the repeat accuracy requirements are met. In addition, there must be a compensation pro- cedure to fix data that deviate from ideal conditions. These diagnostic and compensa- tion tools may be used during acquisition or processing, depending on the problem. An example of repeatability diagnosis and compensation may be found in a study of source depth during marine seismic acquisi- tion. The depth of the source in the water can be monitored with the TRISOR source control system to within one meter [3.3 ft]. There may be, without intention or knowl- edge, a perturbation of the depth, say to 2 m [6.6 ft] deeper than specified, starting at some shot point. The effect on the recorded waveforms may be a slightly changed ampli- tude, which, when processed, could be interpreted as a change in seismic reflection characteristics at the target. Diagnosing the origin of the amplitude change as a source depth shift can be accomplished by moni- toring the source signature. Continuity of signal is expected from shot to shot if the source depth is constant. When a perturba- tion of the standard signal is detected, the problem may be fixed during acquisition. If source monitoring is not done in real time, the archive of acceptable shot signals may be used to create a match filter, forcing the perturbed source signal to conform to those for the correct depth. Monitoring the quality of the seismic sig- nal and other essential measurements, such as navigation accuracy, during acquisition, allows identification of those perturbations that can be accepted, those that can be compensated for, and those that require a new experiment.

38

Gullfaks Area Gullfaks of detail South NORWAY Bergen Stavanger N O R T H S
Gullfaks
Area
Gullfaks
of detail
South
NORWAY
Bergen
Stavanger
N
O
R
T
H
S
E
A
Aberdeen
UK
N
DENMARK
■■Gullfaks field, Norwegian North Sea.
0 Dipping seafloor 500 1000 1500 Tarbert formation 2000 2500 400% vertical exaggeration 0 2000
0
Dipping seafloor
500
1000
1500
Tarbert formation
2000
2500
400% vertical
exaggeration
0 2000
4000
6000
8000
10,000
Depth, m

Distance, m

Effects of Gullfaks structural complexity on seismic data quality and modeling. The steep change in seabottom depth over the field, strong reflectors overlying the target and a highly faulted target combine to make imaging and characterization of Gull- faks reservoir properties difficult.

Oilfield Review

■ ■ Difficult field development. Complex faulting of the Gullfaks reservoir structure presents a challenge

Difficult field development. Complex faulting of the Gullfaks reservoir structure presents a challenge to reservoir management.

The following 4D seismic monitoring example shows how the combination of high-quality marine acquisition and innova- tive interpretation techniques has helped Statoil optimize development of the Gull- faks field (previous page, top).

Monitoring Gullfaks Production

Under the current production plan, begun in 1986, the Gullfaks field in the Norwegian North Sea will produce 50% of its 480 mil- lion m 3 [3020 million bbl] original oil in place. About half the remaining oil could be produced with infill wells, but locating those wells optimally and reducing costs continues to be a challenge. Development of Gullfaks has been ham- pered by the complexity of the faulted reser- voir structure (above). New seismic data and results from development wells have led to improved knowledge and refinement in fault mapping. Carefully planned data acquisition and flexible drilling programs

Winter 1996

resulted in a sound understanding of reser- voir properties early in the development. Reservoir simulation has been used exten- sively to continually evaluate production and development options for the field. But even with detailed reservoir models, engineers don’t know where a fluid front is until it arrives at a well. By tracking fluid-contrast fronts before they get to wells, reservoir engi- neers are able to take action to avoid poten- tial problems. With 4D seismic monitoring, the project team—comprising geophysicists, geologists, petrophysicists and reservoir engi- neers—will be able to map reservoir drainage and optimize future production. Several sets of seismic data have been acquired over the Gullfaks field. Following the initial exploration interpretation based on 2D lines spaced on a 2-km [1.2-mile] grid, a first 3D survey was acquired in 1979 and a second in 1985. Despite the marked improvement in the quality of the second survey, and careful reprocessing in 1992, the data are still very complex due to vari- able reflectivity and the highly faulted target zone (previous page, bottom). 12

A pilot reservoir volume was chosen to test the ability of 4D seismic monitoring to map changes in the oil-water distribution. The selected area exhibited reservoir conditions known to be favorable for seismic monitor- ing: high porosity—averaging 34%—and a reliable seismic interpretation. The three production platforms created an acquisition challenge for the 1995 monitor survey: seismic vessels had to navigate to avoid the platforms, leaving a gap in the 1995 3D volume. The missing volume was filled in by undershooting—a source vessel shoots to a separate receiver vessel posi-

11. Beckett C, Brooks T, Parker G, Bjoroy R, Pajot D, Tay- lor P, Deitz D, Flaten T, Jaarvik LJ, Jack I, Nunn K, Strudley A and Walker A: “Reducing 3D Seismic Turnaround,” Oilfield Review 7, no. 1 (January 1995): 23-37. 12. Petterson O, Storli A, Ljosland E and Massie I: “The Gullfaks Field: Geology and Reservoir Develop- ment,” in Buller AT, Berg E, Hjelmeland O, Kleppe J, Torsæter O and Aasen JO (eds): North Sea Oil and Gas Reservoirs—II. London, England: Graham & Trotman (1990): 67-90.

39

1985 Attribute Map

1995 Attribute Map (uncalibrated)

1985 Attribute Map 1995 Attribute Map (uncalibrated) Calibration Function Low coverage 1995 Attribute Map (calibrated) Low

Calibration Function

Map 1995 Attribute Map (uncalibrated) Calibration Function Low coverage 1995 Attribute Map (calibrated) Low coverage
Map 1995 Attribute Map (uncalibrated) Calibration Function Low coverage 1995 Attribute Map (calibrated) Low coverage

Low coverage

1995 Attribute Map (calibrated)

Function Low coverage 1995 Attribute Map (calibrated) Low coverage ■ ■ Compensating for coverage differences

Low

coverage

Compensating for coverage differences between baseline and monitor surveys. The 1985 Gullfaks survey, acquired before oil production, was able to achieve full coverage of the top of the reservoir (top left). For the 1995 survey, seismic vessels had to undershoot three platforms, leaving gaps in the 1995 3D volume (top right). If the overburden is not affected by reservoir production, then comparison of the two surveys allows computation of a calibration function (bottom left), which, when applied to the 1995 data boosts the amplitudes to those that would have been recorded had the platforms not been present (bottom right).

1985 Baseline Survey 1995 Monitor Survey
1985
Baseline Survey
1995
Monitor Survey
2 0 Oil -2 Gas Water Nonreservoir -4 -1 0 1 2 Factor 3 2
2
0
Oil
-2
Gas
Water
Nonreservoir
-4
-1
0
1
2
Factor
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
-1
0
1
Amplitude
Apparent polarity

Factor

Attribute space plots showing bad and good correlation between reservoir proper- ties and attributes. Reservoir property val- ues from well data are color-coded dots with oil in red, gas in yellow, water in blue and nonreservoir in green. Values are plot- ted as points in the space defined by the “apparent polarity” attribute on the verti- cal axis and on the horizontal axis an attribute related to a principal component of a polynomial function fit to the seismic trace (top). This pair of attributes does not show good correlation with reservoir prop- erties: members of the nonreservoir class are mixed with those of the oil and water classes. A similar plot made with trace amplitude shows good correlation, and better separation of classes (bottom).

Tracking the top of the Tarbert. The 1985 baseline survey (top) was interpreted for the reservoir top and all associated faults. The 1995 monitor survey (bottom) was interpreted for the same feature.

40

Oilfield Review

tioned on the other side of the platform— but the acquisition geometry, and therefore the raypaths and seismic energy reflected at the target, were different from the rest of the survey (previous page, top left). Researchers are testing ways of compen- sating the undershot data for the difference in the amount of energy reaching the target. One method that appears to give good results is to assume that across the survey area the overburden does not change with time. This translates into the constraint that the total energy contained in the seismic trace from the seabottom to the top of the reservoir be constant from one survey to the next. A calibration function, or match filter, can be applied to the low-energy 1995 data to fulfill this constraint.

Interpretation Innovations

The goal in interpreting seismic monitoring data is to extend reservoir knowledge at well locations into the interwell volume—to predict reservoir properties where there are no wells. The Gullfaks well data used for this purpose consist of basic rock and fluid information—whether the reservoir sand is present, and if so, the type of fluids present. To extend this information away from the well into the reservoir, first the reservoir vol- ume, especially the top surface, must be accurately interpreted from the 3D seismic data. In the case of Gullfaks, this surface is the top of the high-porosity Tarbert sand, and the interpretation includes all faults that intersect it (previous page, bottom left). The top picked in 1985 is a positive-polarity reflection, and the same feature was inter- preted in the 1995 data. Automatic horizon- picking software is used to achieve the required accuracy and avoid inconsistencies introduced through manual interpretation. The second step is to characterize the seis- mic data, at or surrounding the well loca- tion, that correlate with the information on reservoir properties at the well. The seismic information is captured in attributes. For the Gullfaks interpretation, at least 20 different instantaneous and volume attributes were computed for the Tarbert sand.

13. Two unsupervised classification methods were tested—competitive learning, sometimes called neu- ral network classification, and K-mean, or nearest neighbor classification. The supervised methods tested were Bayesian and Fisher. In the case of the Gullfaks data, neural network classification was used, since the assumptions of the other methods were violated. For more on the methods: Johnson RA and Wichern DW: Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Pren- tice Hall, 1992.

Winter 1996

Amplitude Polarity
Amplitude
Polarity
USA: Pren- tice Hall, 1992. Winter 1996 Amplitude Polarity Amplitude Polarity Phase Amplitude Polarity Polarity Phase
Amplitude Polarity
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Polarity
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Phase
Winter 1996 Amplitude Polarity Amplitude Polarity Phase Amplitude Polarity Polarity Phase Amplitude ■ ■
Amplitude
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Polarity

Polarity Phase Amplitude
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Creating attribute- space plots. In this example, the goal is to classify the attributes in the areas marked by the triangle, square and circle. Each shape contains many data points, plotted as points with that shape on the corresponding graph. When only two attributes (top) are examined— amplitude and

polarity—the result- ing 2D plot fails to distinguish squares from triangles. When three

attributes—ampli-

tude, polarity and phase—are used (bottom), all three shapes can be dis- tinguished because the phase attribute now distinguishes squares from trian- gles. On real seis- mic data, any num- ber of attributes may be examined.

Next, the attributes are examined for cor- relation with a number of classes of reser- voir properties. Four classes were identified in the Gullfaks pilot area: 1) oil-filled Tarbert sand; 2) water-filled sand; 3) gas-filled sand; and 4) nonreservoir. Correlation of a class with a set of attributes is determined by the closeness with which members of the class are located in a multidimensional cluster plot with the attributes as axes (previous page, right). The multidimensional space thus created is called attribute space. When members of a class lie close together, or the cluster is tight, they correlate well with that collection of attributes. The class members have a distribution in attribute space that can be quantified statistically. In addition to mutual proximity, the mem- bers of a class must also be well separated from members of other classes. Several combinations of attributes must be tested to obtain a set of attributes that are sensitive to the class properties and able to distinguish the classes from one other (above). To find this correlation between well data and seismic attributes, only seismic data near wells have been used. In a manner of speaking, the seismic data have now been “trained” to recognize desired reservoir properties, perhaps in the way a person may learn to relate sounds or letters to words.

Attributes may be thought of as the letters needed for the spelling of words—the alpha- bet of a language, and so can be used to dis- criminate between different words with dif- ferent spellings or sounds. When the right combination of letters yields the desired words, the next step is to hunt through the entire volume of sound for other groups of sounds that resemble the words. For the Gullfaks seismic interpretation, when the optimum set of attributes has been found, that next step is classification of the attribute surfaces according to the four classes of reservoir properties. Several methods in multivariate statistical analysis have been tested to achieve classifi- cation. Some techniques, labelled “unsuper- vised” classification, do not require training with log data, but simply look for correla- tions within the seismic data. The number of classes to find must be specified. “Super- vised” classifications use log constraints in an initial classification and make assump- tions about the statistical distributions of class members in attribute space. Classifica- tion results from different methods will be similar if the statistical assumptions made by the methods are not violated. 13

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1985 Fluid Distribution

1985 Fluid Distribution Oil Gas Water Nonreservoir 1995 Fluid Distribution ■ ■ Fluid distributions before and
1985 Fluid Distribution Oil Gas Water Nonreservoir 1995 Fluid Distribution ■ ■ Fluid distributions before and

Oil

1985 Fluid Distribution Oil Gas Water Nonreservoir 1995 Fluid Distribution ■ ■ Fluid distributions before and

Gas

1985 Fluid Distribution Oil Gas Water Nonreservoir 1995 Fluid Distribution ■ ■ Fluid distributions before and

Water

1985 Fluid Distribution Oil Gas Water Nonreservoir 1995 Fluid Distribution ■ ■ Fluid distributions before and

Nonreservoir

1995 Fluid Distribution

Oil Gas Water Nonreservoir 1995 Fluid Distribution ■ ■ Fluid distributions before and after ten years

Fluid distributions before and after ten years of oil production. The best classification, obtained by analysis of 14 attributes, shows how fluid distributions have changed between the 1985 survey (left) and the 1995 survey (right). Overall, oil (red) has been replaced by water (blue) in the lower, western sections of each fault block. This indicates a relatively smooth sweep. In some areas, however, such as in the northern part of the middle fault block, oil and gas (yellow) appear to be in a separate compartment that has not been tapped.

Final results of classification show how the fluid distribution has changed in the Tarbert sand over the course of nine years (above). The fluid distribution changes inferred from 4D seismic monitoring are in agreement with the expected drainage in the area. Sim- ulated fluid saturations for 1985 and 1995 were extracted from the drainage simulation models, which have been history matched to the well data (right). These simulated saturation distributions show the same general features as the seis- mic interpretations. Oil has been drained from the westernmost fault blocks, and from the western edges of the two central fault blocks. A fault in the northern portion of the center block appears, however, to be isolat- ing oil and gas from the southern part of the fault block, where the oil sweep appears to be effective. Based on the positive results of the 4D seismic monitoring study, two major deci- sions have been taken toward modifying Gullfaks development. First, a new 3D sur- vey was acquired to cover the rest of the field in 1996, together with simultaneous logging of pressure and saturation distribu- tion in key wells. The new 3D survey also covers satellite fields to the south and will be the baseline survey for future monitoring in those fields. Second, a new extended- reach well is being drilled from the C Plat- form in the eastern part of the field, where production from zones immediately below has declined. The trajectory of the well is designed to tap multiple compartments identified by the 4D survey as containing bypassed oil.

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1985 Saturation Distribution

containing bypassed oil. 4 2 1985 Saturation Distribution 1995 Saturation Distribution 0 100 Oil saturation, %

1995 Saturation Distribution

2 1985 Saturation Distribution 1995 Saturation Distribution 0 100 Oil saturation, % ■ ■ Fluid saturation
2 1985 Saturation Distribution 1995 Saturation Distribution 0 100 Oil saturation, % ■ ■ Fluid saturation

0

100

Oil saturation, %

Fluid saturation distributions from reservoir simula- tion. Simulations of the 1985 (top) and 1995 (bottom) satu- rations show sweep patterns similar to those imaged with the 4D seismic monitoring. Red indicates high oil saturation.

Oilfield Review

Well Logs

Well Logs Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic

Common Earth Model

Well Logs Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic

Classification System

Well Logs Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic
Well Logs Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic
Well Logs Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic
Well Logs Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic

4D Seismic Data

Common Earth Model Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic

Petrophysical Modeling

Classification System 4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic Modeling ■ ■ Central role

Reservoir Simulations

4D Seismic Data Petrophysical Modeling Reservoir Simulations Seismic Modeling ■ ■ Central role of the common
Seismic Modeling
Seismic Modeling

Central role of the common earth model in the many disciplines contributing to 4D seismic monitoring.

Now that Statoil has confirmed the feasi- bility of 4D monitoring in the prime condi- tions of the Tarbert formation in the Gullfaks field, other more challenging applications await. Deeper reservoir layers with lower porosity might also be candidates for moni- toring, pushing the technique to its limits.

4D Monitoring Will Change with Time

Many operators and service companies are talking about and gaining experience with 4D seismic monitoring. The technique is expected to decrease uncertainty in reser- voir models and reduce risk in drilling new wells. With faster and improved-quality 3D seismic data acquisition, the investments in a 4D seismic monitoring survey have become low enough to be offset by the expected increase in production associated with a better understood reservoir. But 4D seismic monitoring is still in its infancy: 3D seismic technology took ten years to become established. More field studies and further developments are needed to prove the value of additional knowledge brought by 4D monitoring.

Winter 1996

Further work is required in many areas to bring this extraordinary technique into ordi- nary practice. Repeatability of acquisition may never be perfectly realized, but the lim- its and tolerances of acquisition differences should be better appreciated. There will probably not be a single acquisition scheme that will have universal application for 4D monitoring, but rather a range of solutions to cover a spectrum of different reservoirs. Some of the failures of early attempts at 4D monitoring have been attributed to the “incidental” nature of time-lapse surveys— most 3D surveys are acquired without any intention of comparing the results to a later monitor survey. With 4D monitoring on the horizon, there is great interest in making the extra effort to ensure that baseline surveys have all the information imaginable to extend their value as long as possible. More research and experimentation with permanent sensors, both in ocean-bottom cables and in boreholes, will advance knowledge of hardware limitations and bring down the costs associated with their occasional use today.

Work remains to be done on understand- ing the relationships between seismic attributes and rock and fluid properties. Cur- rently, finding the right attributes for a desired reservoir property is a time-consum- ing interpretation project requiring an expert. Forward modeling may help predict which attributes are useful for a given fluid change or rock type, and might allow some automation of the interpretation process. Central to integrating the efforts of geolo- gists, geophysicists, petrophysicists and reser- voir engineers is the model—a common earth model—that can be tapped and refined at every stage of reservoir management (above). Continued refinements to 4D seis- mic monitoring will be driven by the project teams charged with optimizing recovery from existing fields. These teams require methods that allow them to improve the location and timing of development drilling, to not only understand but also control reser- voir behavior. With that as a goal, seismic monitoring may one day become the most powerful of reservoir management tools.

—LS

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