Seismic Integration to Reduce Risk

Despite the enormous advances in surface seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation over the past decade, drilling still involves uncertainty. These financial and economic risks, however, are being ameliorated by new techniques that are emerging from the combination of borehole- and surface-acquired seismic data.

Rune Hope TOTAL Thailand Bangkok, Thailand Dick Ireson Scott Leaney Gatwick, England, UK Joerg Meyer Dallas, Texas, USA Wayne Tittle Sonat Exploration Tyler, Texas Mark Willis Mobil Exploration and Production Dallas, Texas

From their first use in 1928, surface seismic surveys have been lauded for their effect on exploration success, reducing risk appreciably.1 During the years since, surveys have extended from two-dimensional (2D) to three-dimensional (3D), and have expanded to encompass the development and production as well as exploratory phases of reservoir life. Likewise, advances in seismic data processing utilizing massively parallel computers and integrated reservoir imaging software have improved the reliability of data interpretation and thereby of drilling accuracy itself. Risk, nevertheless, remains a major factor in all phases of oil and gas reservoir exploitation, and this is particularly true when market conditions drive operators to obtain maximum value from their investment in seismic data.

One sure way to increase the value of surface seismic data is to incorporate borehole seismic measurements. Integration of borehole seismic and surface seismic data can occur at two levels. The most basic is when borehole seismic velocities are used to convert seismic sections from time to depth and when images are used to fill gaps where surface seismic acquisition fails. The second, and more far-reaching, is to use borehole seismic measurements to get better surface seismic results—to optimize survey planning, guide data processing, and produce higher quality, quantitative, calibrated images from the surface seismic data. Surface seismic data created in this way provide a more consistent interpretation and a more complete picture, or solution.


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However. CSI (Combinable Seismic Imager). which is processed for upgoing and downgoing events. thanks to Dean Clark. a surface seismic section from time to depth. then there is no surface seismic image at all. Autumn 1998 3 . Tulsa. VSPs collect not only first arrivals of the seismic energy but the entire wavetrain. Drilling and Production. or if the For help in preparation of this article. Tulsa. GeoQuest. USA: PennWell Books (1994): 139-178. England. The simplest borehole survey is the check shot. And if there are obstructions on the surface that preclude source or receiver placement. Houston.2 1. Hyne N: Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology. Geco-Prakla. GeoViz. and also after reflection from interfaces below the receiver. Gadallah M: Reservoir Seismology: Geophysics in Nontechnical Language. Greg Lerigier.Surface and Borehole Seismic Basics Surface seismic data are acquired with both source and receiver essentially on the surface of the earth. GeoQuest. Keith Tushingham. Gatwick. also known as vertical seismic profiles (VSPs) are acquired with the source on the surface and receivers at known depths in the borehole. in which a receiver is stationed at specific intervals—often separated by hundreds of feet or meters—in the ASI (Array Seismic Imager). Sound energy generated by the source propagates in all directions. Oklahoma. In addition. The receiver records data as wiggles with amplitude that varies with time. Cambridge. England. at several depths. reflects at layer interfaces. Energy from the source arrives at the receivers both directly. Borehole seismic techniques and data are usually applied to overcome these limitations. and a table is constructed of the seismic velocities between the depth stations. as the first arrival. IESX and SAT (Seismic Acquisition Tool) are marks of Schlumberger. UK. Houston. but the useful energy is that which travels down. the image cannot be converted accurately from time to depth. Borehole seismic surveys. 2. This velocity table can be used to convert. or velocity survey. and through sophisticated processing these are turned into an image of the reflectors. Rutger Gras. The receiver records the traveltime from source to depth. Steve Horne. USA: PennWell Books (1995): 236. albeit crudely. unless the velocities of the layers are known. Ian Scott and Mark Wheeler. borehole while the surface source is fired nearly vertically above. Schlumberger Cambridge Research. A VSP provides more data than a check shot because the distance between geophone recording depths is far less—every 15 to 30 m [49 to 98 ft]. Everhard Muyzert and Carl Spencer. subsurface properties are such that reflections don’t travel back up to the receivers. Texas. or logs from depth to time. and comes back up to the receiver. USA. Gatwick. Exploration. Oklahoma. Texas. DSI (Dipole Shear Sonic Imager). Geco-Prakla. FMI (Fullbore Formation MicroImager).

with varying combinations of geophones and hydrophones (next page. Furthermore.B. a surface seismic-derived image of the reservoir is not achievable (next page. where the source is near the wellhead directly above the receivers. There are. Borehole seismic receiver tools are designed for either cased or uncased holes.and Maastrichtian-age chalk reservoir for more than 26 years. 4 (Winter 1995): 18-31. E. with a source above the salt dome and receivers in the wellbore in a vertical plane containing the source. Walkaway VSP D. It had been highly productive. Ray paths are shown as black lines. salt-proximity VSPs. The most common VSP surveys include: A. In this area. top left). the use of the full waveform allows better identification and treatment of noise that can contaminate surface seismic records. Rutherford J. bottom). Schaffner J and Smith N: “Borehole Seismic Data Sharpen the Reservoir Image. Walkaway VSP. adding a sophisticated waterflood system and installing new surface facilities. Accurate depths are registered. Ireson D. offset VSPs. Dodds K. yielding data with less distortion and enhanced frequency content. 4 Oilfield Review . walk-above VSPs. F. This means that wells drilled into the crest of the structure are riskier as the detailed fault patterns are not mapped directly from the surface seismic data. then introduces some new integration techniques that are also proving to reduce drilling risk. generating oil and gas from the Danian. Offset VSP. Check-shot services for time-to-depth conversion have existed in the oil field since the 1950s. and have from 1 to 12 receiver levels. shear-wave VSPs. acquired with shear-wave sources. this article tracks recent developments in existing methods. or be run inside or conveyed on drillpipe to acquire VSPs in highly deviated and horizontal wells (next page. some of the disadvantages of surface seismic acquisition are avoided. Drill-bit VSP and G. with the source on the surface some distance from the borehole. D.” Oilfield Review 7. but full-fledged waveform VSPs have been tapped only since the 1980s. C. where sources are positioned directly over receivers in a deviated or horizontal well. Zero-offset VSP C. SWD (drill-bit) VSP Receivers G. Zero-offset VSP. no. A major problem in mapping the field using surface seismic data is the presence of a gas “cloud” above part of the reservoir. Filling Gas Gaps Phillips Petroleum Norway has been integrating borehole seismic images with surface seismic data to revitalize production from its giant Ekofisk field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. and Phillips determined to redevelop the field by drilling some 50 new wells. top right). or both. borehole seismic tools that can combine with themselves or other wireline logging tools for openhole VSP data acquisition. but production was dropping.3 Three-dimensional VSPs are essentially walkaway profiles in which multiple lines of sources or spiraling lines of sources extend away from the well and an array of geophone sensors is deployed in the borehole. Salt-proximity VSP Geopho ne positio n F. B. in addition. Multi-offset VSP ce Subsurfa reflector ry d prima Reflecte oing d upg Reflecte ltiple mu Salt Drill bit sSome types of vertical seismic profiles (VSPs). in which multiple sources are located along a line extending away from the well while an array of geophone receivers is fixed in the borehole. Most VSP surveys are two-dimensional and are achieved with a variety of configurations (above). Multi-offset VSP. These include zero-offset VSPs. Offset VSP offset A. 3. where the drill bit is itself the seismic source and receivers are on the surface. Walk-above VSP. Because the geophones are situated deep within the strata when obtaining a VSP. Walk-above VSP Source ltiple oing mu Downg ave Direct w Time E. Through a series of case studies. Salt-proximity VSP. Christie P. The integration of borehole seismic and surface seismic data is not entirely new. and seismic-whiledrilling (SWD) drill-noise VSPs. and surface noise is reduced. Johnston L. walkaway VSPs.

8787 m 2960 ms 3244 ms sMagnetically clamped ASI Array Seismic Imager tool. Tension sub Resistivity Gamma spectroscopy Compression sub Sonic Wet connect CSI tool Pressure sampling Gamma density Neutron porosity sEfficiency with the CSI Combinable Seismic Imager tool. sEkofisk contoured seismic time surface. Each shuttle sensor contains three fixed orthogonal geophones. and indicates the seismic time associated with the reservoir top.887 m 5 . This tool can combine with other logging tools and physically isolates its sensor module by anchoring it against the formation. This surface shows the area where the top of the Ekofisk reservoir can be interpreted from surface seismic data. The area in black cannot be imaged with surface seismic alone and needs integration of 3D VSP data. Autumn 1998 16. This tool has five seismic shuttles linked by a bridle to a signalconditioning cartridge. achieving optimum acoustic coupling for its three gimbaled geophones that is verified by a shaker source within the module.

confidence in positioning a crestal well to miss possible faults is low. With only interpolation between existing well locations to rely on. on the other hand. The 3D VSP image can then be combined with the existing 3D surface seismic image to provide a continuous picture. The VSP image is generally at a higher resolution than the surface seismic data and is produced without the necessity of a comprehensive editing process that accompanies the generation of synthetic seismograms derived from acoustic and density logs. The use of the direct arrival traveltimes obtained from numerous source positions. These interwell changes may be spatially mapped by looking at the variations in statistically derived attributes occurring in the surface seismic data and calibrating them to the wells. in gas-obscured areas where 3D VSP data have provided images.1000 m 4500 m 4500 m sFilling the gap. In addition. can indicate how well the surface seismic data are converging to the desired result. in seismic terms—it is possible to see how the attributes of the extracted wavelet are affected by any processing step and note any significant variations between wells. particularly in the 3D VSP. In the simplest cases. the reservoir structure can be mapped with greatly increased confidence. The image of the structural crest is obscured by gas. and provide a sequence of wavelets that relates directly to the local geology. or basic pulse response from a reflector. Thus. contained within the migrated surface seismic data. provide images of the reservoir in the gas-obscured area (above). at various stages during processing. This is achieved by placing the VSP receivers below the gas cloud in carefully selected wells. Borehole-Guided Processing The second level of borehole-surface seismic integration is achieved when VSPs provide information to produce higher quality surface seismic results. providing increased confidence in planning crestal wells. because the VSP reacts to dip in the same way as the surface seismic data. recently. a clear image of the reservoir emerges. Because they include both downgoing and upgoing waves. When the reflection data from the same VSP data set are focused using this upgraded velocity model. the same sequence of wavelets must exist in both data sets. however. It is clear that the hole in the data at and above the reservoir level has been very effectively filled.” providing optimal resolution for interpretation. rely upon more indirect techniques to remove multiples and produce the correct sequence of wavelets in both time and space. 1000 m A combination of 2D and. VSP data can be processed in a straightforward manner to remove multiples. This will dramatically reduce the uncertainty associated with the positioning of wells. By extracting the embedded wavelets at any stage during the processing. not just after migration—the residual wavelet stage. together with synthetic seismograms derived from velocity and density log data. it is very desirable to monitor the effect of any process on the wavelet phase. This permits monitoring of parameter and technique selection from the beginning of the surface seismic processing sequence without having to go through a costly and time-consuming migration process to compare the data sets. which disrupts seismic wave propagation. In order for this process to be successful. Furthermore. The corresponding traverse from the 3D VSP image (right) is superimposed on the first figure. 6 Oilfield Review . 3D VSP techniques does. This vertical cut in the 3D surface seismic data volume (left) is made along a line corresponding to a traverse in the 3D VSP data. images extracted from the VSP data can be compared directly with unmigrated surface seismic data. A comparison between the desired seismic response—provided by the VSP—and the surface seismic response in the vicinity of the well. VSP data. Surface seismic data. have been used to determine the properties of the wavelet. or unwanted reverberations. allows the existing velocity model to be upgraded. This knowledge allows the surface seismic wavelet to be “zero-phased.

4 The Mobil North Sea Ltd. thereby increasing confidence in the conformation of the final surface data to the reflection sequence derived from the borehole data. the data sets were used to optimize the selection of demultiple technique and parameters.East Shetland platform N Beryl field 1 km 1 km 6. with a predictability surface generated for each match time window. During the past 20 years. newly acquired surface seismic data confirms the quality of the trace match. Autumn 1998 7 . September 13-18. Clark D. 4. The green area within the box represents the approximate extent of the primary field. Inserting the dip-corrected VSP into this best match position along a 2D panel (bottom) from the stacked. To determine the match “location” for each VSP.0 s sThe Beryl Field. and these data were used to assure an objective rather than subjective approach to demultiple optimization. The operator required better quality final 3D volumes to achieve an improved structural interpretation. 1998. Louisiana. New Orleans. a 1-km2 [0.5 s Crawford spur 0 0 mi km 5 8 South Viking graben 3.7. there had been many check shots and VSPs shot over the main structure. USA.5 Predictability. and the match was reconfirmed (above right). presented at the 68th Annual International Meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Prior to the acquisition and processing of the new 3D data. with the best match in white (top). traces covering the VSP locations were examined. Scott I and Willis M: “Using Borehole Data to Optimize Demultiple Parameter Selection—A North Sea Example. thus new 3D surface seismic acquisition and processing were conducted. from which the best match locations in space and time were determined. The goal is to match surface seismic traces in a small volume around each well to the VSP traces acquired in that well. % 58 2. The match is computed in a 1 by 1 km2 volume in a time window across the reservoir. After the new 3D survey was completed. sColor-coded matching. The quality of the position match for the VSP trace within the surface seismic volume is shown by color.” paper SP 9. Beryl field. Interpretation of its target zone was compromised by reflections that were masked by free-surface multiples in a low-reflectivity portion of the survey area. The VSPs were dip-corrected for premigration matching to the surface data. Once that was done. existing surface and VSP data were used to optimize the design of the acquisition. then a set of the VSPs was selected from a vertical section of the wellbore with sufficient receiver levels in the target zone to cover the field adequately. lies in a structurally complex and highly faulted area (above). Partial spectral coherence matching was carried out to mate the transposed and dip-corrected VSP trace with the seismic data in several time windows concentrated around the target zone.39-sq mile] data cube was extracted from an existing stacked but unmigrated 3D surface data set along the path of each well in the target zone. 950 m In a North Sea example. and predictability was assessed for each match. UK sector blocks 12 and 13. the integration of borehole data and surface seismic data produced a quantitative approach to the selection of a demultiple technique—a method for removing seismic reverberations—and parameters.

m s rl 28 40 28 en 20 gt 4 gth 20 4 h. Reef Steering Borehole data can also be used later in the processing sequence to enhance surface seismic images and reduce drilling risk. This demonstrated that a straightforward approach to demultiple algorithm and parameter selection by integrating surface and borehole seismic data at a very early stage provided confidence in the final 3D data volume for interpretation and inversion.31-mile] stack mini-cube was extracted from around each well at key stages in the processing sequence for added quality assurance. A choice of two demultiple techniques resulted from the optimization process. The bottom left and right charts illustrate the optimum parameter selection match for two different demultiple techniques. Borehole and surface seismic data integration allows the company to carry out its final and most critical step.m 420 360 300 240 180 120 Well A s Well B 45 36 420 360 300 240 180 60 120 72 s . The blue lines in the lower middle image are the well locations on a panel between the two wells extracted from the 3D seismic volume. The left and right upper images demonstrate the match surface obtained at each well by varying two parameters—the prediction gap and the operator length—in a particular demultiple technique.5 The tau-p deconvolution emerged as the technique of choice following application by interpreters to make composite sections for each well. These measurements were used to classify the target data’s geophysical characteristics spatially into a number of data types. variable tau-p deconvolution and conventional deconvolution before stack (dbs).m pe gap 72 era ra 60 to Pre dic tion 40 Pred ictio n ga p. In addition. Sonat Exploration integrates its 3D surface seismic data with VSP data to overcome some of the limitations and pitfalls of 3D seismic data while prospecting for very small drilling targets—between 20 and 60 acres [9 and 24 hectares]. This classification revealed how the results at a particular well were representative of the whole data set (below). target-oriented statistical attributes were derived from the surface seismic data set. m 20 . % 42 40 30 59 56 len tor s Op Surface A Surface B 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 dbs tau-p Seismic section 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 dbs tau-p Match power at Well A Match power at Well B sComparing wells. the use of these small test data sets and repeated surface and borehole seismic comparison made it possible to test numerous combinations of techniques and parameters and to quantify even the most subtle differences.During the demultiple testing stage of the project. The two wells are in different data-type areas. 8 Oilfield Review O . seismic migration. which may explain why there is variation in the success of different demultiple techniques at the two locations. properly. Migration performed with the appropriate velocity function positions and focuses a reflection Predictability. A 0. The upper middle image is a composite of four target-oriented statistical attributes generated from the surface seismic data.5-km [0. The difference between data type areas is evident in this comparison of wells A (left) and B (right). % Predictability.

580 to 283.element correctly in the subsurface to provide a sharper image for steering the drilling into the target. The play took off significantly in 1995. and some have sustained their initial production of 5 to 10 MMcf/D [141.9 psi/ft. so bottomhole pressures are about 18. some wells have tested 35 MMcf/D [991 MMm3/d] gas. Most reefs that are drilling targets in the trend have an elliptical shape and steep seaside flanks that can fall off sharply. Sonat attributes its success in the play to the advent of affordable 3D seismic acquisition and its technical growth since the area first was explored. but only borehole surveys can extract seismic velocities of geologic formations. but it is possible to obtain between 150.169 m3/d] gas for over a year.” AAPG Explorer 19. The relatively small lateral footprint— a diameter of 600 to 800 ft [183 to 244 m]— and depths to 18.5 to 204.2 million. exploration. It is also a challenge to identify small reefs whose seismic expressions span only six seismic traces. There is a pressure gradient of 0. The Cotton Valley Pinnacle Reef play is a collection of Jurassic carbonate build-ups with known reserves of up to 80 Bcf [2. such as having to operate with wavelengths on the order of 400 ft [122 m].265 Bm3] natural gas. The borehole seismic process measures the true velocities of the subsurface instead of attempting to derive them from measurements on the surface. no.000 to 20.888 kPa]. the trend is characterized by a hostile environment. when 3D seismology became a major tool in onshore Louisiana • Dallas • Tyler Northern play • Longview Kilgore • Eastern play Southern play 0 0 mi km 30 48 Texas Outboard play sThe Cotton Valley Pinnacle Reef play. This can be derived from surface seismic data to some degree. Deconvolution is an inverse filtering process to restore a wavelet to its original form. A critical step in obtaining a reliable image of subsurface reflectors is creating the correct velocity model of the subsurface 250-ft [46. 9 (September 1998): 32-35. 6. In addition.000 ft [5486 m] compound the complexity of accurately fixing the reef anomaly in space. The VSP recordings 5.000 psi [124. there are sour gas and carbon dioxide contents that affect drilling and logging tools. Before 1995. Vertical sections range from 400 to 1300 ft [122 to 396 m].4°C]. Areas with known reefs are shown in blue. Tau-p is the name given to a coordinate space into which seismic data are transformed for 76-m] vertical resolution with surface seismic data. Sonat has accomplished this more than 20 times with extraordinary accuracy on the East Texas Cotton Valley Pinnacle Reef trend. a measurement of the seismic wavefield at depth is obtained. Another limitation is to rely solely on surface-based measurements for the analysis of surface seismic data-processing parameters.6 There are still limitations. Autumn 1998 9 . Located at the transition from Bossier shale to Cotton Valley limestone in Bossier sands. with high temperatures at the target depth ranging from 375 to 400°F [190.8 to 0. Shirley K: “3-D Still Sparks Cotton Valley Play. completion costs per well range between $5 million and $7.105 to 137. The orange areas indicate a widespread onshore gas play stretching across eight counties of East Texas. and thus a much broader calibration toolkit is available for properly processing surface seismic data. Tau has units of time and p has units of inverse velocity. more than 800 wells were drilled in the Cotton Valley Pinnacle Reef trend based on 2D data. but with poor results most of the time. but the rewards are significant. With such high risks. In addition. It is here that Sonat made a breakthrough by integrating borehole seismic and surface seismic data. one of North America’s most dynamic onshore plays (right).

270 260 250 240 230 220 210 200 8800 ft 250 240 230 220 210 200 usually contain higher frequencies and provide a higher resolution image of subsurface features (left). with offsets ranging from 3000 to 8000 ft [914 to 2438 m] away from the wellbore. Before the use of borehole seismic techniques. As a result of a lookahead VSP survey. VSPs have shorter wavelengths and shorter reflectorreceiver distance. The borehole survey also provides a preferred recording environment. In this example. and smaller zones of uncertainty (bottom). usually applied to poststack data. Today. can be conducted within a short turnaround time to facilitate drilling decisions. the drill bit could be steered away from the fault into the nearby reef to make a successful well on the first attempt. in fact. Data are recorded from up to four offset locations per trip in the hole.s Less uncertainty with a VSP. Sonat employs two approaches in the use of borehole seismic information. Surveys range in size from 3 to 14 offsets with up to 10 vibrator trucks per VSP job. with less noise related to traffic or weather. This calibrated velocity information is used as the main input for migrating surface seismic data. amplitude. and it has had an unparalleled success rate of 90% in the play. Small features. and velocities and seismic waves are recorded in the wellbore. What appears to be a reef before integrating VSP information (top) is exposed as a fault (red) after applying the correct velocities measured by the VSP (bottom). the most significant advances are made when all the borehole seismic information—velocity. fall in a zone of uncertainty (top). A small subvolume of the 3D data around the wellbore is remigrated to update the drilling target location. Sonat Exploration is the only operator in the trend that runs borehole seismic surveys before reaching the target depth on all of the wells it drills. the dual CSI Combinable Seismic Imager tool with 60-ft [18-m] spacers is used for most surveys. the drill 6600 ft 575 ms 575 ms 10 Oilfield Review . Potential well location Surface seismic line Zone of uncertainty Reef Drilling rig Wellbore Zone of uncertainty reduced Reef sReefs or something else? Reef-like structures on surface seismic images can turn out to be processing artifacts. In one case. with their lower frequencies and greater distance between reflector and receiver. a borehole seismic survey using the offset VSP configurations creates additional and calibrated images of the subsurface around the well and even ahead of the drill bit. a zero-offset VSP is run with the source in the vicinity of the rig.7 First. To increase its success rate as well as reduce exploration risk. can “see” objects only if they are big enough. Flasked SAT Seismic Acquisition Tool instruments are used for the hotter holes. such as reefs. by applying this technique Sonat was able to avoid drilling a nonreef structure that turned out to be a fault (left). were not. phase and polarization—is used to quality control and improve the surface seismic processing. Furthermore. In the openhole conditions of the Cotton Valley. with failures occurring when structures looked like reefs but. the overall success rate for new wells was about 45% in the reef play. This operation. The breakthrough has come from using the borehole survey not only as a diagnostic calibration tool—imaging after the hole is drilled—but from exploiting its predictive features to look ahead and around the drill bit in near real time as well. After remigration and offset VSP interpretation. Today. Surface seismic waves. artifacts caused by incorrect migration velocities created a seismic anomaly that looked like a reef.

has been used to acquire other wireline logs at this intermediate depth.Cook #2 Shale Haynesville reflector Limestone Surface seismic Salt VSP 8700 ft 1.4 s 8700 ft sSurface seismic image before and after VSP integration to image a reef.3. at a distance of only 400 feet from the abandoned Cook 2. 1998. The second reef-finding approach Sonat employs. the drilling operation is temporarily suspended at a certain depth above the target to map the actual position of the reef in 3D with a sequence of offset VSPs distributed radially around the wellbore. a real-time survey while drilling that requires only one to two days downtime for the VSP acquisition. September 13-18. developed since June 1996. Autumn 1998 11 1. Following this interpretation. was drilled to a nonpay zone on the fringe of the reef. VSP arm 2 Cook 2 Original hole VSP arm 1 Sidetrack Reef fringe • • Cook 2 Reef core • VSP arm 3 VSP interpretation New production well Cook 3 Surface location VSP arm 4 m ft 122 400 0 0 sMultiple interpretations of the Cook field reef in the Cotton Valley Pinnacle Reef play. New Orleans.4 s Pinnacle reef . but also focusing structure. The surface seismic image (left) shows a hint of a reef as a disruption of the regional limestone reflector.” paper BH 4. The blue elongated feature with a pink core is the new interpretation of the reef shape based on surface seismic data remigrated with VSP velocities. applies the look-around and look-ahead capability of borehole surveys. for reef steering by vertical seismic profiling. particularly around abrupt changes like faults. then sidetracked east into a dry hole. The well trajectory is indicated by the vertical line. indicated by the dashed purple circle. Drillers are finding it worth their while to be idle for the additional two days it takes to complete the processing and interpretation while geoscience colleagues update the subsurface model and provide new coordinates for optimum reef intersection. The segments of the limestone reflector imaged by the VSPs are shown as green lines. USA. 7. bit could be steered a couple of hundred feet away to intersect a reef and make a successful well. delineating the extent of the reef (right). The new interpretation is used for a final update of the drilling direction and to steer the subsequent drilling down to the reef target (above). 3 and 4) were shot to illuminate the reef by imaging the extent of the regional limestone reflector that is disrupted by the presence of the reef. 2. The offset VSPs help locate the center of these features by imaging the limits of the regional limestone that surrounds them (right). In employing it. Meyer J and Tittle W: “Exploration Risk Reduction Using Borehole Seismic: East Texas Pinnacle Reef Applications. presented at the 68th Annual International Meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. These additional VSP data are then integrated with the surface seismic data using IESX seismic interpretation software and GeoViz 3D interpretation and geovisualization software. With the VSP image inserted. The original well. Sonat’s experience has shown that the best production resulted from wells that penetrate the reef near the core. Louisiana. Well Cook 3 was drilled into the center of the reef and is now producing. the disruption of the regional reflector is clearer. This example emphasizes that the critical seismic processing step of migration has to perform the task of not only properly positioning reflections of the subsurface. Cook 2. however. The technique has been termed RSVP. This additional time. The absence of a green line means the presence of a reef. Four VSPs (arms 1.

the remaining 10%. Around 70 separate fluviodeltaic sand reservoirs 1 to 25 m [3 to 82 ft] thick can be encountered in a single fault block. wireline logs are run and a borehole seismic survey is performed to recover the reef 3000-m [3281. More Than Velocities As discussed in the Sonat example. which can be related to lithology contrasts. Bongkot development drilling was focused on drilling wells in structurally closed. walkaway VSPs were acquired. the field has been in production since 1993. The Bongkot field is situated in the North Malay basin. predictions for gas were between 70 and 75% successful.For those unwilling to hold up drilling.000 BOPD [1430 m3/d] and maintained reinjection of all produced water to reduce the environmental impact of the operations. which holds 40% interest. then an offset VSP survey is shot along this selected direction to locate the actual position of the reef and steer the drillstring into the carbonate buildup. however. With the proper geometry. orientation and quality. But borehole surveys can provide more than just interval velocity. acceptable for the traditional multitarget prospects. long-offset AVO effects. Although these cubes were very helpful. 800 km [497 miles] south of Bangkok. Gulf of Thailand. BG. Typically. In two of these wells. with higher risk stratigraphic traps located outside closure being drilled. Two walk-above (vertical-incidence) VSPs and 33 multi-offset. Plans were made to achieve good prestack data suitable for AVO analysis. the critical factors are reservoir size. they nevertheless predicted sand in some situations where drilling encountered organic-rich shales and coals. tilted fault blocks or fourway dip closures. an FMI Fullbore Formation MicroImager log is acquired to get the drape pattern and the orientation of the carbonate buildup. One of the largest and most prolific in the region. and velocity anisotropy. Bongkot’s hydrocarbons are distributed over a 2000-m [6562-ft] gross pay zone (1000. now plans its stratigraphic targets in the Bongkot field in the Gulf of Thailand by analyzing boreholeguided. Typically. In this 9843-ft] depth) of Miocene age. Prior to relinquishing operatorship. a third technique—the reef recovery method —applies when the drilling target has been missed. another level of development is expected to provide further Fault at target depth Shot points Receivers production increases of an additional 250 MMcf/D [7 MM m3/d] gas and 8000 BOPD [954 m3/d] of petroleum liquids. vertical-incidence or 8 km sBongkot VSP surveys. AVO has been widely used to identify reservoir sands because it allows recovery of a seismic attribute related to Poisson’s ratio contrasts. a subsidiary of France’s TOTAL S. thus it was necessary to go to the prestack domain to move forward. Furthermore. liquid production to 12. Field development is maturing. Until recently. DSI Dipole Shear Sonic Imager logging for both compressional and shear wave velocity was carried out to perform synthetic modeling of the expected AVO response. Almost all seismic attributes that could be derived from poststack data were investigated without solving the problem of organic shales and coals. TOTAL Thailand was the operator of the Bongkot Joint Venture until July 1. 20% and Den Norske Stats Olijeselskap (Statoil). The next example demonstrates how TOTAL Thailand..A. 1998. when operatorship was handed over to the Thai state oil company. combined with other attributes calibrated to logs. 12 Oilfield Review . TOTAL had been using a 3D lithology probability cube it had generated through a poststack migrated 3D volume inverted for acoustic impedance. attenuation. These wells target only a few reservoirs and often require expensive extended-reach wells. Petroleum Authority of Thailand Exploration and Production PLC (PTTEP). all of which can be used to correct surface seismic data for better results. Beyond this stage. velocities measured directly in borehole seismic surveys can be used to fine-tune surface seismic processing. but not for wells drilled to just a few stratigraphic targets. TOTAL undertook a new development phase on Bongkot that has increased the gas production to 550 MMcf/D [16 MM m3/d]. Four deviated wells were drilled in November and December 1996. with multiple stacked targets. The borehole seismic shot points (red) and receiver locations (blue) in the Bongkot field are diagrammed here. VSPs can also measure amplitude variation with offset (AVO). As a result. TOTAL holds 30%.

The horizontal scale on the synthetic traces is offset in meters.7 1. demonstrating that the gas sands showed a positive AVO effect while the organic shale showed dimming with offset (right). and some 33 multi-offset VSP walkaway surveys were conducted in three of the four wells.4 1. 1998. true relative amplitude data are shown.45 1. or averaging. a method had been found. To correspond with the offset of the surface seismic CMP.4 1.75 10° 1. The organic shale event can be distinguished as dimming with offset. long offset AVO is now being used to plan well trajectories. In all.65 1. Significant AVO is seen only beyond 30 degrees.55 Organic shale Time.5 Organic shale Organic shale Dimming Dimming Brightening 1. the second track.75 1. New Orleans. intercept and product which characterize the AVO behavior. a borehole-guided. Stacking. m 750 1000 1000 Processed AVO Walkaway Data sVSP AVO measurement.5 1.4 1. The synthetic traces (center)—a normal-moveout corrected common-midpoint (CMP) gather—show different amplitude variations with offset for different lithologies. Imp.65 1. The first track shows Vp /Vs ratio measured from sonic logs.8 1. Modeling and multi-offset VSP measurements indicated that AVO could be used to distinguish the organic shale-filled channels from channel gas sands.walk-above VSPs were acquired in the same two wells. Vp/Vs 15 1. Leaney S and Hope R: “Borehole-Guided Long Offset AVO Processing for Improved Lithology Classification.6 1. The AVO walkaways were acquired.65 1.4 1.6 1. avoiding false targets and hitting gas sands with an increased drilling success ratio.2.8 8.85 2 1 2 5 10 0 0 250 500 offset. in part. to measure AVO effects directly on top of a channel with two different lithology fills—a sand and an organic-rich shale—to verify the modeling and to get an idea of offsets needed to expose the AVO effects with greater clarity. but only at relatively large offsets—larger than those used in conventional processing and corresponding to incidence angles well in excess of 30 degrees. so TOTAL agreed to a proposal to reprocess the surface seismic data in which maximum use would be made of the borehole data.7 1. Properly designed multi-offset VSPs can provide actual measurement of the angle. traces.7 1.85 15 50 75 100 0 0 1000 2000 3000 offset.55 50 Ac. Imp.45 1.7 Brightening Gas sands Gas sands 1.or offset-dependent AVO response of an interface.8 1. two sets of seven lines were obtained for AVO measurement (previous page). The seismic data had been acquired with sufficiently long offsets. Louisiana. Over a period of months. The right-most track is the trace obtained by stacking. In this measurement of the processed AVO walkaway reflections at Bongkot. USA. presented at the 68th Annual International Meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. a substantial borehole seismic data set was acquired at no effective rigtime cost to TOTAL. The wavelet is measured just above the reservoir so propagation losses that affect AVO can be measured and removed through processing.75 1. Superimposed are contours of equal incidence angle. long-offset processing sequence was developed that enabled reflection amplitude variations out to 60 degrees to be recovered.85 Density Vp/Vs 1 2 2 Ac. September 13-18.55 1. As a consequence.6 1.5 1. these offsets must be approximately doubled. a step in conventional processing.65 1. s 1. The modeling confirmed that lithology could be differentiated.45 1. dramatically improving the effectiveness of seismic lithology classification (right).8 1. 1.45 1.85 Gas sands 1. Autumn 1998 13 . 5 10 0 250 500 750 1000 1. or modeled. s 1. For the first time.6 1. modeled and borehole-measured that could discriminate target Bongkot lithologies that all appear as high amplitudes in stacked surface seismic sections.55 Time.75 sRay-trace AVO synthetic. 75 100 0 1000 2000 3000 1.5 1.8 1. At the right are three AVO attribute traces of gradient. while some deeper sand events show noted brightening. where once about 30% of the predicted stratigraphic reservoir targets in Bongkot were being misidentified.” paper AVO 3. Because VSP data were being acquired while subsequent wells were being drilled. all synthetic traces out to 33° (the trace is repeated five times for visibility). m 3300 25° 40° 1. obliterates AVO signatures. acoustic impedance.

Chapman C. the other may hold the potential of millions of dollars in revenue (next page. Engelmark F. 10. TOTAL’s financial risk is reduced appreciably by this integrated approach to AVO. but the data do not fit this assumption (left).0 3. Before selecting a stratigraphic target. Anisotropy is the variation in a physical property depending on the direction in which it is measured. long-offset processing was that it revealed lithology differences in the AVO response between 30 and 60 degrees incidence angle (next page. USA. The combined effects of geometrical spreading and frequency-dependent attenuation at long offsets are almost twice that assumed in conventional seismic processing (t-squared). The horizontal axis is CMP offset-to-depth ratio for a reflector at 1. 3.0 Spreading x Q Spreading (ray theory) T-squared Q (135 @ 26 Hz) 2. Overall. inverting the multi-offset VSP direct arrivals for offset-dependent attenuation allowed the long-offset surface data to be compensated to true amplitude (above left).5 1. and the derived parameters were then used in the surface seismic processing sequence. Money was saved by deciding to terminate a well above a target where AVO predicted an organic shale and by hitting a large gas reservoir based on its positive long-offset AVO response. bottom).0 Data minus hyperbolic fit Anisotropic fit minus hyperbolic fit 10 ms Data Anisotropic fit Hyperbolic fit 1. Farmer P. The organic shale-filled channel event at 1.s Offset-dependent amplitude losses measured with a multi-offset VSP (MVSP).0 1 Offset. m 2900 2800 2700 An important factor in the success of the long-offset AVO approach was making use of borehole-derived parameters in the surface seismic data processing. Offset.” paper ST15.0 2. X/Z 2 1.5 1.0 1. For a discussion of the role of anisotropy in identifying stratigraphic traps: Caldwell J. This step improved migration focusing (below left). Fryer A. The impact of borehole-guided. information discarded in conventional AVO processing.5 Gain 2. Parameters describing frequency-dependent attenuation and anisotropy were measured from the multioffset VSP data using novel algorithms. m 3000 2900 2800 2700 1. 1. van Bemmel P.5 s is better focused using anisotropic migration. 4 (Winter 1997): 48-61. The AVO responses of all potential bright spot targets within the radius of a well are examined and the trajectory is optimized. Prestack time migration stacked sections use an isotropic model (left) and a borehole-calibrated anisotropic model (right).2.0 3000 Offset. Texas.3 Times minus hyperbolic fit -10 ms sEffective anisotropy measured from multi-offset VSP traveltimes. Further work is being done to see if lateral variations within the same sand may suggest variation in fluid content.5 2. November 2-7. It helps them to decide between two anomalies or channel shapes that look the same. no.5 2.0 Isotropic Time.5 3. TOTAL says the impact of this new technology has been impressive. s Borehole-calibrated anisotropic sThe impact of anisotropy on imaging.9 This allowed long offset reflection amplitude data to be retained. For example. Neidell N and Sonneland L: “Exploring for Stratigraphic Traps. Estimating effective anisotropy allowed events on common-midpoint (CMP) gathers to be flattened at long offsets (left). Dallas. One could result in $1 or 2 million in drilling costs for absolutely nothing. presented at the 67th Annual International Meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. 9. 1997.5 s two-way time.” Oilfield Review 9.5 MVSP-calibrated Conventional processing 3. Chowdhury A. The residuals show a higher order variation that can be fit with an anisotropic model (right). Conventional processing assumes a hyperbolic fit to moveout times. seismic data are processed to take advantage of the longer offsets. 14 Oilfield Review .3 X/Z Walkaway times 1. top). Paul A and Sandvin O: “3D Tomographic Inversion and Depth Migration of VSP Data.

Anisotropic seismic migration can dramatically improve the quality and positional accuracy of a seismic image.90 2. Estimating the model anisotropy parameters required for optimum imaging is difficult from surface data alone. long-offset AVO processing for three potential drilling targets. Schlumberger Kabushki Kaisha (SKK) and Geco-Prakla. s 1. permanent sensors. adding an estimated $300. is now in development at the Schlumberger Cambridge Research Center. taking place and in discriminating between simple compressional-to-shear (P-S) reflections and more complicated P-S-S modes.30 Gas sand 1. and in the analysis and interpretation of the processed data. —DG. The deeper target was missed with this well but was drilled based on long-offset AVO and will pay for itself about five times over. Significant amplitude variation is seen only beyond 30 degrees.10 30° 60° 1. They are valuable for selection of surface survey acquisition parameters. utilizing an anisotropic ray tracer. borehole seismic integration will evolve as well.000 in cost. VSPs will be instrumental in establishing where the mode conversion is 1. determining the required anisotropy parameters is impossible without borehole information. Autumn 1998 15 . likewise.70 1. Development of anisotropic prestack depth migration. A well was deviated to hit a false organic shale target.50 1. It is hoped that converted wave interpretation can reveal the complete fluid and lithology content of the subsurface—part of the impetus behind new multicomponent seafloor sensors for marine seismic acquisition.70 Organic shale Gas sand Time. Other advances that will contribute to successful integration are now on the wish lists and in many cases the drawing boards of geoscientists: simultaneous surface and borehole acquisition. immediate drilling of further wells after the first success.20 2. Methods that are still being developed include converted wave applications and anisotropic depth imaging.The Future The integration techniques discussed here are a small sample of the potential ways that borehole seismic data can enhance the value of surface seismic data and reduce drilling risk.90 Offset. As this methodology improves.000 Final target missed. Converted waves are vital for studying the feasibility of these multicomponent seabed surveys. is still in development. for deterministic processing parameter selection. but drilled from an adjacent platform paying for the well five times over 1 km sThe benefits of seismic integration.80 1. and for anisotropic depth imaging.00 2. m 0 3300 sBorehole-guided. LS 1. which can be very significant in amplitude. more flexible acquisition geometries via seafloor cables. additional cost greater than $300.20 1. quantifying uncertainty.60 1. Calibrating an anisotropic 3D velocity model with VSP traveltimes is therefore essential if depth migrations are to be on depth.40 1. and integration of VSP and surface seismic data with other borehole information. targeting of “sweet spots” by generating attributes in real time.80 1. Anisotropic depth imaging. continuous updating via seabed sensors and drill-bit sources. Converted waves in VSP data—waves that begin as compressional or shear waves and convert to the other upon reflection—contain a wealth of information. however.60 Gas sand 1. s 1.40 Time. passive event monitoring.50 Organic shale 1.10 2.30 Well deviated to hit false target.10 The examples presented in this article are but the beginning of a major technological movement anticipated during the next decade in integration of borehole and surface seismic data.

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