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GEOP 501

Chapter 2

Borehole Seismology
Dr. Abdullatif Al-Shuhail (KFUPM)

Introduction

Borehole seismology involves the recording of


seismic energy using one or more wells.

The main benefits of borehole seismology are higher


resolution and less near-surface effects.

Drawbacks of this method:


Expensive because it requires drilling wells.
Only near-well area (0.1 100 m) is sampled.
Low spatial resolution because wells are usually drilled far
from each other.

Types of Borehole Seismic Surveys

Uphole surveys

Check shot surveys

Vertical seismic profiling

Acoustic logging

Crosshole surveys

Seismic while drilling

Uphole Surveys

It involves the recording of first arrivals along a


shallow well (50-100 m) that penetrates the
subweathering layer.
Objective is estimating the velocity and thickness of
the weathering layer for use in static corrections.
Two methods:
Uphole survey: Sources are placed in the borehole at
known depths and a receiver is placed near the well head.
Downhole survey: Receivers are placed in the borehole at
known depths and a source is placed near the well head.

Uphole Surveys
Uphole survey
R
Z3

Z2

Z1

S1
S2

S3

Weathering
layer

Subweathering
layer
Z

Uphole Surveys
Downhole survey
S
Z3

Z2

Z1

R1
R2

R3

Weathering
layer

Subweathering
layer
Z

Uphole Surveys
Interpretation

Interpretation of an uphole survey data includes the


following steps:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Picking the first arrivals from each depth level


Applying any necessary corrections to these times
Plotting the data on a T-Z plot
Identification of various layers
Fitting lines to the T-Z dataset of each layer
Computing the velocity and thickness of each layer

Uphole Surveys
Interpretation

The following corrections are generally required:

Conversion to absolute time


Conversion to vertical time

Conversion to absolute time involves checking for


possible system delays as well as data
extrapolation.

Conversion to vertical time involves the


computation of vertical time from the measured
slant time.

Uphole Surveys
Interpretation
Picked times represent rays that traveled along
S X
slanted paths.
We need time along a vertical path.
The correction formula is:
ZTS
Z
TV
Z2 X 2

TV: vertical (corrected) time


TS: slanted (measured) time
Z: receiver depth, X: shot offset from well head
This formula is correct for a flat surface and a
surface shot.

Uphole Surveys
Interpretation
T

Layer 1

Layer 1

Layer 2

Thickness
of layer 1

T
T1 = Z / V1

Layer 2
T2 = T02 + Z / V2

Z
Plot T-Z data and
identify layers by
grouping points lying
along a common slope

Z
Fit lines to T-Z dataset
of each layer

Z
Estimate thickness
and velocity of layers

Uphole Surveys
Examples

Raw downhole survey traces with first-break picks

Uphole Surveys
Examples

The following is a T-Z table of an actual uphole


survey after corrections.
Z (ft)
15
30
45
60
75
90
105
120
135
150

T (ms)
3.8
7.3
13.1
15.3
17.3
18.5
20.1
21.1
22.1
23.4

Z (ft)
165
180
195
210
225
240
255
270
285
300

T (ms)
24.3
25.4
26.3
27.9
28.8
29.8
30.9
31.8
33.1
33.5

Z (ft)
315
330
345
360
375
390
405
420
435

T (ms)
34.8
35.7
37
38.2
38.9
39.5
41
42
42.9

Uphole Surveys
Example

The following is an interpretation of this uphole


survey: 50
45
40
35
y = 0.0703x + 12.65

30

T (ms)

V1 = 3,785 ft/s
V2 = 14,261 ft/s
H1 = 65 ft

R2 = 0.9985

Weathering-layer
thickness = 65 ft

25
20
15

y = 0.2642x

10

R = 0.9737
5
0
0

50

100

150

200

250
Z (ft)

300

350

400

450

500

Check Shot Surveys

It involves the recording of first arrivals along a well


that penetrates fairly deep target layers.
Objective is estimating the velocity and thickness of
subsurface layers.
It is performed using receivers that are placed in the
borehole at known depths and a source that is placed
near the well head.
It is similar to a downhole survey but using a deeper
well and larger receiver spacing.

Check Shot Surveys


S
Z3

Z2

Interval Velocity

Z1

R1
R2
R3

Check Shot Surveys


Interpretation

Interpretation of a check-shot survey data includes


the following steps:
1. Picking the first arrivals from each depth level
2. Applying any necessary corrections to these times
3. Calculating the interval velocity between each successive
receivers
4. Computing the RMS velocity profile

Check Shot Surveys


Interpretation

Correction from slant to vertical times may be


neglected because depths are large compared to
shot offset.
The interval velocity between two successive
receivers (Ri, Ri+1) is calculated as:
DZ
Vi
DTvi
DZ: receiver spacing
DTvi: difference in vertical time from datum
to receivers (Ri, Ri+1)

Check Shot Surveys


Interpretation

The RMS velocity to the bottom of the Nth layer is


calculated as:
N

VRMS N

2
V
i DTvi
i 1
N

DT
i 1

vi

Vi: interval velocity within the ith interval


DTvi: vertical time within the ith interval

This RMS profile is comparable to the RMS profile


found by velocity analysis of surface seismic data.

Check Shot Surveys


Interpretation
Interval Velocity

Calculate interval velocity

RMS Velocity

Calculate RMS velocity

Check Shot Surveys


Examples

Raw traces of a check-shot survey

Check Shot Surveys


Examples
The following is a T-Z plot of an actual check-shot
survey after necessary corrections.
T (ms)
0
0
3000
Z (ft)

6000
9000
12000
15000

250

500

750

1000

1250

Check Shot Surveys


Example
The following is a plot of Vi-Z:
Vi (ft/s)
5000
0
3000
Z (ft)

6000
9000
12000
15000

10000

15000

20000

25000

30000

Check Shot Surveys


Example
The following is a plot of VRMS-Z:
VRMS (ft/s)
5000
0
3000

Z (ft)

6000
9000
12000
15000

7000

9000

11000

13000

15000

Check Shot
Surveys

VRMS (ft/s)

The following is a plot of


VRMS-TWTT:

TWTT (s)

1.00
1.25
1.50
1.75
2.00
2.25

15000

0.75

13000

0.50

11000

0.25

9000

Example

7000

5000

0.00

Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP)

It involves the recording and analysis of several


arrivals along a well that penetrates target layers.

Objective is estimating the velocity and thickness of


subsurface layers.

It is performed using receivers that are placed in the


borehole at known depths and sources that are placed
on the ground surface.

Vertical Seismic Profile


Geometry
S

Z=H
T=D/V

Downgoing
wave

TZ/V

TH/V

Z
R

Upgoing wave

V
Layer 1

TT0-Z/V
T=T0 =2H/V

Layer 2

Vertical Seismic Profile


The Direct Wave

The direct wave arrives at the receiver as a


downgoing wave with the following T-Z curve:

Td

D2 Z 2
V

This is the equation of a hyperbola that approximates


a line (TZ/V) as D2/Z2 << 1, which is typical in
exploration VSP surveys.

Vertical Seismic Profile


The Reflected Wave

The reflected wave arrives at the receiver as an


upgoing wave with the following T-Z curve:

Tr

D 2 (2 H Z ) 2
V

This is the equation of a hyperbola that approximates


a line (T2H/V-Z/V) as D2/Z2 << 1, which is typical
in exploration VSP surveys.
The depth at which the T-Z curves of the direct and
reflected waves intersect is the layer thickness.

Vertical Seismic Profile


Processing

Processing steps specific to VSP include:


1.
2.
3.
4.

Correction for tool rotation and well deviation


Deconvolution of upgoing wave by downgoing wave
Separation of the downgoing and upgoing waves
Moveout correction of the primary upgoing event by:
1.

2.

Adding the downgoing wave time to the same depth if the source
offset is small compared to the depth
Using ray tracing if the source offset is comparable to the depth

The product will be a seismic section that is readily


comparable with stacked surface seismic sections.

Vertical Seismic Profile


Processing

Transformation to surface-seismic two-way time

Vertical Seismic Profile


Processing

Separation of upgoing and downgoing waves and


transformation of upgoing wave from VSP to
surface-seismic display

Vertical Seismic Profile


Processing

Deconvolution of upgoing wave after


transformation from VSP to surface-seismic display

Vertical Seismic Profile


Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantages of VSP are:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

High resolution (usable frequency up to 250 Hz)


Better control on multiples
Better control on attenuation effects
Ability to study converted waves
Ability to study areas closely below and above an
interface

The main disadvantages of VSP are:


1. Need a fairly deep borehole
2. Samples only rocks near the borehole (10-100 m)

Vertical Seismic Profile


Zero-offset VSP

Vertical Seismic Profile


VSP types

Vertical Seismic Profile


More VSP types

Vertical Seismic Profile


Examples

A typical seismic section of a zero-offset VSP

Vertical Seismic Profile


Examples

A typical seismic section of a walkaway VSP

Vertical Seismic Profile


Examples

3-C VSP survey

Vertical Seismic Profile


Examples

VSP section
dominated by tube
wave
Tube wave is a wave
that travels along the
borehole axis with a
speed that is lower
than the P-wave in
rocks surrounding
the borehole.

Acoustic Well Logging

It involves recording the acoustic characteristics of


subsurface formations.
This is done by measuring the time required for a
sound wave to travel a specific distance through the
formation.
The travel time of the wave in a formation depends
on the following properties of the formation:

Porosity
Composition
Fluid content

Acoustic Well Logging


Operation

The main instrument used is called the sonde.


A basic sonde consists of a source and two
receivers one-foot apart.
The sonde is lowered down the borehole and waves
are generated and recorded continuously.
The sonde is usually positioned in the borehole
center using centralizing springs.
Frequencies used are in the range of 2 - 35 kHz.
Typical investigation radius is 0.2 1.2 m.

Acoustic Well Logging


Sonde types

Acoustic Well Logging


Transit time

Acoustic Well Logging


Interpretation

The output log is a plot of transit time (Dt) versus


tool depth.
The reciprocal of Dt gives the formation velocity
(Vr) at that depth.
The total formation (sonic) porosity () is
calculated as:
1 / Vr 1 / Vs

1 / V f 1 / Vs

Vr: formation velocity


Vf: pore-fluid velocity (tabulated)
Vs: rock-matrix velocity (tabulated)

Acoustic Well
Logging
Typical logs

Acoustic Well
Logging
Example

Seismic While Drilling

The noise from the drill bit is used as a source,


while geophones on the surface are recording.
Drill-bit waves are reflected off deeper interfaces
and recorded at the surface.
These reflections are used to predict the rock
structure ahead of the drill bit.
It is possibly the only seismic method that can be
used for real-time decisions about the drilling
operation.

Seismic While Drilling


Operation

The noise from the drill bit is used as a source of a


continuous random signal.
A geophone at the top end of the drill string
recording the drill-bit signal is used as a pilot.
Several surface geophones around the well head are
recording the drill-bit signal.
The surface geophone signal is auto-correlated with
the pilot signal in order to compress the drill-bit
signal into a zero-phase wavelet.

Seismic While Drilling


Interpretation

After auto-correlation, the direct arrival from the


drill-bit-rock interface will have zero delay time.
A reflection from a deeper rock boundary will have
a delay equal to the two-way travel time between
the drill bit and the boundary.
Knowing the formation velocity, the distance from
the drill bit to the boundary can be estimated.
As the drill bit approaches the rock boundary, the
delay time decreases and the reflection becomes a
linear event.

Seismic While Drilling


Geometry

Seismic While Drilling


Example of pilot and geophone data

Seismic While Drilling


Geometry of reflections in the pilot section

Seismic While Drilling


Example of reflections in the pilot section

Seismic While Drilling


Comparing VSP and SWD sections

Crosshole Survey

It involves two nearby wells (< 1 km), one is used


for sources and the other for receivers.
It gives a detailed model of the rocks between the
wells, especially if tomography is used.
Advantages include:

It bypasses the problems of the near surface because the


source and receivers are below the weathering layer.
It delivers high frequency data (~ kHz) leading to very
high spatial resolution of the derived model.
Availability of shear and converted waves.

Crosshole Survey
Operation

The source is fired at the lowest depth and the


receivers are allowed to record.
The process is repeated after lowering the source
while holding the receivers depths constant.
The receivers depths may be changed in order to
have better subsurface coverage.

Crosshole Survey
Processing and Interpretation

Data processing of reflected P-waves involves:

Removal of direct waves


Separation of downgoing and upgoing reflected P-wave
CDP mapping using ray tracing

Interpretation of crosshole data involves:

Construction of detailed S- and P-wave velocity structure


between wells using all arrival types and/or tomography
Construction of depth-offset seismic section from all shot
records

Crosshole Survey
Velocity computation

Crosshole Survey
Application

Crosshole Survey
Example

Crosshole Survey
Processing raw receiver
gather (at depth 1392 m)

Crosshole Survey
Processing after directwaves removal

Crosshole Survey
Processing Separation to downgoing and upgoing
reflected P-wave sections
Upgoing

Downgoing

Crosshole
Survey
Processing CDP
mapping

Crosshole Survey
Interpretation construction of depth-offset
seismic section

Crosshole Survey
Interpretation end result of crosshole
tomography