The old and the new in seismic inversion
Brian Russell and Dan Hampson
Seismic inversion is a technique that has been in use by geophysicists for over forty years. Early inversion techniques transformed the seismic data into P-impedance (the product of density and P-wave velocity), from which we were able to make predictions about lithology and porosity. However, these predictions were somewhat ambiguous since P-impedance is sensitive to lithology, fluid and porosity effects, and it is difficult to separate the influence of each effect. To perform a less ambiguous interpretation of our inversion results, we must perform full elastic inversion, in which we estimate P-impedance, S -impedance (the product of density and S-wave velocity) and density. The reason for this can be seen in Figure 1, which plots the P and S-wave velocities as a function of gas saturation. In this figure, it can be noted that the P -wave velocity drops dramatically when gas is introduced into the reservoir whereas the S -wave velocity is largely unaffected by the introduction of the gas. This talk will present both a history of seismic inversion and an overview of the inversion techniques themselves.
Figure 1. The effect of gas saturation on P and S-wave velocity. Continued on Page 7
Brian Russell started his career as an exploration geophysicist with Chevron in 1976, and worked for Chevron affiliates in both Calgary and Houston. He then worked for Teknica Resource Development Ltd. and Veritas Seismic Ltd. in Calgary before co-founding Hampson-Russell Software Ltd. in 1987 with Dan Hampson. Hampson-Russell develops and markets seismic inversion software which is used by oil and gas companies throughout the world. Since 2002, Hampson-Russell has been a fully owned subsidiary of VeritasDGC. Brian is currently Vice President of Veritas Hampson-Russell and is involved in both geophysical research and training. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Calgary and is involved with CREWES (Consortium for Research in Elastic Wave Exploration Seismology) and CHORUS (Consortium for Heavy Oil Research by University Scientists). Brian was President of the CSEG in 1991, received the CSEG Meritorious Service Award in 1995, the CSEG medal in 1999, and CSEG Honorary Membership in 2001. He served as chairman of The Leading Edge editorial board in 1995, technical co-chairman of the 1996 SEG annual meeting in Denver, and as President of SEG in 1998. In 1996, Brian and Dan Hampson were jointly awarded the SEG Enterprise Award, and in 2005 Brian received Life Membership from SEG. Brian has presented numerous technical papers at geophysical conferences around the world, including the SEG, EAGE, CSEG and ASEG conferences. His papers have been published in Geophysics, The Leading Edge, Exploration Geophysics and The Journal of Petroleum Geology. His book “Introduction to seismic inversion methods”, based on course notes from an SEG Continuing Education course, was published by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in 1988. Brian holds a B.Sc. in Geophysics from the University of Saskatchewan, a M.Sc. in Geophysics from the Durham University, U.K., and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Calgary. He is registered as a Professional Geophysicist in Alberta.
DATE: TIME: LOCATION: TICKETS: TELEPHONE: December 18, 2006 11:30 A.M. Lunch Telus Convention Centre, Calgary Contact CSEG office 262-0015 or Fax: 262-7383
January 22, 2007 “DHI / AVO best practices methodology and applications”
William A. Fahmy
SEG / AAPG Fall 2006 Distinguished Lecturer
December 2006 CSEG RECORDER
The amplitude anomalies on a seismic section became known as “bright-spots” and were considered to correlate well with gas sands. Such a structure can be seen in Figure 2. which lead to the development of the AVO (amplitude variations with offset) technique. In model-based inversion we start with a low frequency model of the P-impedance and then perturb this model until we obtain a good fit between the seismic data and
Figure 2. which shows a seismic line recorded over a gascharged sand. let us first look at how we can “invert” the section shown in Figure 2. which could act as trapping mechanisms for hydrocarbon reservoirs. we can invert this equation to recover the P-impedance using the recursive equation given by (3) By applying equation (3) to a seismic trace we can effectively transform. such as anticlines. The most severe problem is that the recorded seismic trace is not the reflectivity given in equation (2) but rather the convolutional model given in equation (1). geophysicists had started to realize that information was contained in the amplitudes of the seismic reflections themselves. Continued on Page 8
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. to be discussed later. and a more recent approach to inversion is called model-based inversion (Russell and Hampson. or even fluid changes within the subsurface of the earth. and is associated with the gas sand. where (a) is the time response and (b) is the frequency response. The extracted wavelet from the seismic data of Figure 3. However. Lindseth (1979) showed that if we assume that the recorded seismic signal is as given in equation (2). this is a fairly ad-hoc procedure. This information could be correlated with porosity changes. or “bright spot”.
Figure 3. The inserted curve is the P -wave sonic log. The reflectivity. The effect of the bandlimited wavelet is to remove the low frequency component of the reflectivity. After proper processing and scaling of the seismic data. Unfortunately. But this structural interpretation is ambiguous when it comes to identifying gas sands. meaning that it cannot be recovered by the recursive inversion procedure of equation (3). where ρ is density. By the 1970s. which can be written (1) where st is the seismic trace. is related to the acoustic impedance of the earth by (2) where rPi is the zero-offset P -wave reflection coefficient at the ith interface of a stack of N layers and ZPi=ρiVPi is the ith ρ-impedance of the ith layer. in turn.Luncheon
The old and the new in seismic inversion
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The seismic reflection method was developed in the first quarter of the twentieth century and was used initially as a tool for identifying structures. The high on the picked structure corresponds to the gas sand. associated with the gas sand. an intuitive approach to recovering the low frequency component is to simply extract this component from well log data and add it back to the seismic. However. lithology changes. wt is the seismic wavelet and rt is the reflectivity. 1991).
Post-stack seismic inversion
The seismic traces in the stacked seismic section shown in Figure 2 can be modelled as the convolution of the earth’s reflectivity and a bandlimited seismic wavelet. VP is P-wave velocity and * denotes convolution. A typical “bright-spot” is highlighted by the rectangle in Figure 1. “bright-spots” were also ambiguous with respect to identifying fluid anomalies. the seismic reflection data to P-impedance. or invert. However. as also recognized by Lindseth. in which the picked even between a time of 600 and 650 ms represents a seismic structure and the rectangle highlights an amplitude anomaly. there are a number of problems with this procedure. A seismic section from Alberta.
Figure 4 shows the inverted sections for the seismic line in Figure 2. However. and its frequency domain response on the right. where the time domain response of the wavelet is shown on the left. a few of the processed gathers that were used to create the section shown in Figure 2 are shown in Figure 5. The extracted wavelet from the stacked section of Figure 2 is shown in Figure 3. where (a) shows re c u rsive inversion and (b) shows model-based inversion. low impedance associated with “bright” amplitudes is not an unambiguous indicator of a gas sand. For example.
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. In this case.Luncheon
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In Figure 4. along with a “cut-out” of the stacked section within the zone corresponding to these gathers. and less dramatic swings). and the amplitudes of the reflected and transmitted waves can be computed using the Zoeppritz equations (Zoeppritz. which shows that an incident P-wave at an angle θ results in reflected and transmitted P and S-waves. Mode conversion of an incident P-wave on an elastic boundary. where the top inversion was done using the recursive technique and the bottom inversion was done using model-based inversion. This is called mode conversion. The reason behind this can be seen in Figure 6. so that stacking can be considered as simply a noise cancellation technique. Inversion of the seismic data shown in Figure 2.
Pre-stack simultaneous inversion
The standard seismic data processing flow involves transforming a set of CMP gathers into a stacked section. and the colour bar on the right. both inversions show a low-impedance zone at the gas sand zone. Thus. if we look carefully at the gathers in Figure 5 around the zone of interest (630 ms) it is clear that the amplitudes show a lot of variation from the near offset on the left to the far offset on the right. less smoothed appearance.
Figure 6. Both recursive and model-based inversion use the assumption that we have extracted a good estimate of the seismic wavelet. we see an increase in amplitude. Several of the CDP gathers used to create the stacked section of Figure 2 are shown at the top of this diagram. 1919). However. notice that although the model-based results looks a little more geologically reasonable (it has a blockier. there are also low impedance zones elsewhere on both inversions. The assumption behind stacking is that the amplitudes on the gather do not show much variation. with their location on the final stack shown at the bottom.
Figure 5. which is to be expected.
Figure 4. often associated with an anomaly in which the impedance of the gas layer is less than that of the surrounding shales.
The old and the new in seismic inversion a synthetic trace computed by applying equations (1) and (2). probably due to shales.
in both cases. The deviations away from this straight line. ΔLD and ΔLS. where the ellipse highlights the gas sand zone. Crossplots of (a) ln(ZD) vs ln(ZP) and (b) ln(ZS) versus ln(ZP) where.
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. are the desired fluid anomalies. The VP/VS ratio found by dividing the inverted P and Simpedance sections from simultaneous inversion. where the ellipse highlights the gas sand zone. a best straight line fit has been added.Luncheon
The old and the new in seismic inversion
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Figure 8. Simultaneous P-impedance inversion of the pre-stack data shown in Figure 5.
However. However. the three terms were weighted values of changes in Pwave velocity.o ffset P-wave reflectivity RP0. and between LP and the logarithm of the density reflectivity. (2005) developed a new approach that uses a modification of equation (5) and allows us to invert directly for P-impedance. 2005). when we combine the plot shown in Figure 8 with the ratio of the inverted P and S -impedances (which gives the VP/VS ratio since the density terms cancel) shown in Figure 9. (1994) as a function of zero .Luncheon
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least-squares procedure can be implemented to extract the three reflectivity terms from the pre-stack seismic data. Hampson et al. where (a) shows the cross-plot. This is to be expected. Based on equation (5). their equation was reformulated by Wiggins et al. Continued on Page 11
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. However. and density. We will not discuss AVO in this article. The inverted P -impedance from the simultaneous inversion of the pre-stack data in Figure 5 is shown in Figure 8. Although the mathematics of this approach will not be described here (the interested reader is encouraged to read the expanded abstract by Hampson et al. That is. which can be considered as a quantitative extension of AVO. as shown by Aki and Richards (2002) a linearized version of these equations can be written for the reflected P-wave in which we divide the response into three terms. This method is referred to as simultaneous inversion.. (1983) as (4) w h e re is a linearized approximation to the zero . LP and LS. and (b) shows the resulting highlighted zone on the seismic section. S -wave velocity and density. As in post-stack inversion. with a red zone highlighted. they can be inverted using the post-stack inversion method described in the last section. After we have extracted the three reflectivities in equation (5). since the amplitudes used in the post-stack inversion were increased due to the AVO effect.
Equation (4) forms the basis for the AVO (amplitude variations with offset) method. The Aki-Richards equation was re-formulated by Fatti et al.o ffset P-wave reflection coefficient. zero-offset Swave reflectivity RS0 and density reflectivity RD in the form (5) w h e re and RP0 is equivalent to the A term in equation (4). in which the terms A and B. are extracted from the seismic data using a weighted stack method and are cros plotted and analyzed for fluid anomalies. a
Figure 10. but rather jump directly to pre-stack inv sion. However. The results of cross-plotting the VP/VS ratio seen in Figure 6 against the P-impedance seen in Figure 5. we are looking for deviations away from this linear fit given by ΔLS and ΔLD. and the other two reflectivity terms are given by and . Associated with a drop in P-impedance is a drop in the VP/VS ratio. called intercept and gradient. one of the key assumptions in simultaneous inversion is that we can build linear relationships between the logarithms of P-impedance and S-impedance. the P-impedance on its own is not a gas sand indicator. and displays less of an impedance drop than the model-based post-stack inversion shown in Figure 4. LD. as illustrated in Figure 7. S -impedance.
The old and the new in seismic inversion The Zoeppritz equations are a set of four equations in four unknowns that are difficult to intuitively interpret. This is referred to as independent inversion. In the original Aki-Richards equation. which is generally an indicator of a gas sand. and . It was also the goal of this work to extend the model-based post-stack impedance inversion method described in the last section to perform pre-stack inversion. the interpretation becomes more clear.
Aki. K... A method for determining and displaying the shear-velocity reflectivities of a geologic formation: European patent Application 0113944. 1979. 876-878..
Hampson. Strauss. 2nd Edition: W.. C. K. On the reflection and propagation of seismic waves: Gottinger Nachrichten. no.. 44 . Simultaneous inversion of pre-stack seismic data: Ann. G. Vail. I. Such an example. Synthetic sonic logs . R. This zone is displayed on the seismic section on the right-hand image in Figure 10. Wiggins. we have highlighted a zone in which both P -impedance and VP/VS ratio are low.. We illustrated our inversion methods using a gas sand example from Alberta. taken from the Gulf of Mexico. O. B.A process for stratigraphic interpretation: Geophysics. Notice the excellent definition of the gas sand zone.H. and Richards. we have discussed the history of seismic amplitude inversion. and that there is a linear relationship between the logarithm of P-impedance and both S-impedance and density. G. Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Mtg. will be shown in the expanded version of this talk given during the CSEG luncheon. Quantitative S e i s m o l o g y. Zoeppritz. Mtg. P-impedance.Luncheon
The old and the new in seismic inversion
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To show this more conclusively. 66-84. P. D. does not allow us to discriminate between lithology. 1991. porosity and fluid effects.
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. Figure 10 show the results of a crossplot of a small portion of the two sections shown in Figures 8 and 9.. Lindseth. R. Abstracts. 1983. shown on the left of Figure 10. The example we have been considering is a 2D example and the method discussed in this talk can be applied to 3D datasets to give a spatial image of the reservoir. and Hampson. Russell.G. Society of Exploration Geophysicists... Abstracts. Russell. This limitation was removed with the development of both the AVO technique and simultaneous inversion of p re-stack data. and Bankhead. Freeman and Company. The simultaneous inversion method that we discussed is based on the assumptions that reflectivity as a function of angle can be given by the Aki-Richards equation. P. Although post-stack inversion is a powerful and robust method. Erdbebenwellen VIIIB.
In this talk. B.. 1362-1376. D.D. 2002.1..1919. B. J.S. 1994. P. 59. from its origin as a post-stack process to the most recent developments which involves the simultaneous inversion of pre-stack seismic data... Detection of gas in sandstone reservoirs using AVO analysis: a 3D Seismic Case History Using the Geostack Technique : Geophysics. and McClure. and Levitt.. 2005. Kenny. Fatti. Smith.. 3-26.. it suffers from the fact that its final p roduct. A comparison of post-stack seismic inversion methods: Ann. P. On the crossplot itself.