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R. ROBERTS, J. BEDINGFIELD, and D. PHELPS, Apache Egypt Companies, Cairo, Egypt A. LAU, Apache Corp., Houston, USA B. GODFREY, S. VOLTERRANI, F. ENGELMARK, and K. HUGHES, WesternGeco, Cairo, Egypt
his case study reviews the workflow and the results achieved in terms of updated development drilling plans from a 1500-km2 prestack inversion project over a West Mediterranean Deep Marine Concession in the Nile Delta. Four successful exploration and one appraisal well have been drilled to date on this concession. Figure 1 shows the location of the concession (red box) in the offshore Nile Delta, and indicates the locations and field names of the discoveries to date. The 3D survey over this concession was recorded using long offsets (6000 m). Information contained in these offsets has been used to try and obtain rock property estimates that may help distinguish lithology and fluid types in order to high grade drilling locations and help build more reliable reservoir models. The main inversion objective was to improve the existing reservoir model to help create an optimum development plan for the gas-charged complex of channel and levee sands discovered in the block. This was enabled by the generation of 3D cubes of three elastic parameters: P-impedance, Poisson’s ratio, and density. These data were then used to derive additional 3D cubes of petrophysical parameters such as water saturation and net-to-gross. Successful seismic inversion requires a high signal-tonoise ratio and a wide bandwidth. In this case study, a hybrid inversion technique was used to derive the seismic attributes. The technique combines full waveform prestack inversion and three-term AVO inversion. The project was focused only on the Pliocene interval where gas-charged type 3 AVO sands are present; it was not considered reliable for the Miocene and below where the sands are deposited below a high-velocity anhydrite layer. To date, the Pliocene has been an amplitude-supported play in the area (Figure 2), and this approach had a 100% drilling success rate (five out of five). However, it was clear that amplitudes alone did not provide the complete story and we will provide evidence of that in the course of this study. Rock physics summary. A detailed rock physics analysis was conducted using the extensive log suites from the five existing wells. The sandstone reservoirs are Pliocene, deposited as channel sands and levees. The channel sands form highquality reservoirs showing high amplitude and a type 3 AVO response. The levee deposits are laminated and seismically transparent. Depth of burial is 3000-5000 ft below mudline for all five wells. Therefore, compaction effects are quite large over relatively small depth intervals. The compaction trends were estimated for P- and S-impedance and density, and subsequently removed to allow a depth-independent analysis of the lithologies. Historically, our industry has not estimated in-situ gas saturation accurately. The problem originates in the nonlinear effect that gas saturation has on seismic data in highporosity clastics; a small amount of gas creates strong effects on P-velocity and reflectivity. Density change is linear as a function of saturation; hence, it is the key to improved estimation of gas saturation. Based on the well elastic and petrophysical data, a mul86 THE LEADING EDGE JANUARY 2005
Figure 1. West Mediterranean Concession outlined by the red box. The four prospects/discoveries targeted by the project are shown.
Figure 2. Red amplitude anomalies indicating channel fan complexes are draped over a depth structure map; initial drilling targets were selected where these amplitude anomalies have closure.
tivariate linear regression was derived for water saturation. It was found that including density, in addition to P-impedance and VP/VS, significantly improved the fit. In this area, the laminated sands are believed to contain considerable volumes of producible gas. The reservoir-quality sands are interbedded with similar but nonpermeable shales, and the net-to-gross (N/G) is estimated at about 30%. Layering is typically on a centimeter scale. The area is rich in iron minerals such as siderite, pyrite, and glauconite, with higher concentrations of these minerals apparently in the nonpermeable layers. The average grain density is variable, but on average believed on the order of 2.75 g/cm3 and the heavy minerals also exhibit high bulk and shear moduli. The combination of a heavy and rigid matrix makes the average elastic properties of these moderate-to-low N/G sediments similar to shales when gas-charged and, therefore, makes them more difficult to characterize.
variations due to lithology can be much greater than those associated with fluid changes. as shown in the near. Low and high gas-sat.Figure 4. >2. the latter can be masked. low VP/VS ratio (~11 000. Further work was needed to high.well log on the right (from Abu Sir 2X). AVO information (near.4) shales = higher P-wave impedance. however. High gas saturations were found in the upper sand. VP and VP/VS ratios. ~2. intermediate VP/VS ratio (~16 000.Three log types were considered necessary for a successful evaluation of the laminated layers: • • • FMI to obtain N/G anisotropic resistivity to derive the water saturation (Sw) in the permeable layers elemental capture spectroscopy (ECS) to determine the mineralogy. and wet (brine) sands in blue. This result caused concern that much of the prospective green. but low gas saturations were encountered in the lower sand indicated by the blue arrow. However. This zone had looked very rants. In Figure 4. The plot on the left shows clean gas sands in red. and type of clay Previous well calibrations within the concession showed that the following rock/fluid classes could be discriminated by reference to seismically derived attributes. Figure 5 shows a density attribute section derived from area may sit below the established gas-water contact (GWC) as found by Abu Sir 2X. The reservoir properties of this sand were similar to the pay sands above it but the gas saturation was half the level of the overlying sands. the second leg of the high amplitude related interval (see arrow) was associated with low gas-saturated sand.and far-range stacks in inset) also supported this predrill assessment. guish the two cases. the crossplotted interval is shown on the prospective from an AVO standpoint. Figure 3 is a good example of why conventional amplitude information alone does not tell this story.2) clean water sands = high Pwave impedance. Color scale is water saturation ranging from 8% (red) P S urated reservoirs can have similar to 100% (blue). Pliocene reservoir complexity. a small amount of gas creates strong effects on P-velocity and reflectivity. As is known.0 g/cm3). yellows are intermediate within the field boundaries.the surface seismic data with an insert showing the density grade or further risk the amplitude-related areas elsewhere curve from the well log data at Abu Sir 2X. accurate clay volume. Crossplot of V /V versus P-impedance. Density information would be helpful to distinWhen crossplotting some attributes derived in this study.5) laminated gas sands = reduced P-wave impedance and VP/VS ratio (~13 000. grain density. >2. <2. high VP/VS ratio (>14 000. The approximate values are shown in parenthesis for each class. Reds indicate low density values (<2. JANUARY 2005 THE LEADING EDGE 87 .5) Figure 3. laminated sands in orangeand far-offset stacks. Well Abu Sir 2X was expected to find commercial quantities of gas through the entire amplitude package illustrated. • • • • clean gas sands = low P-wave impedance. Well Abu Sir 2X was drilled with the expectation of finding commercial hydrocarbons throughout the entire high-amplitude interval. and. moduli. different fluid saturations clearly plot in different quadhence.
150 FWPI locations were used. The cable length was suf. the match between the seismically derived density and the well data is good. Together with the well data. the upper right image shows guishable from the conventional pay found above it in Abu predicted versus actual results for one FWPI point. were merged with the band-limited data to create the three Figure 6 shows the main components of the inversion final full-bandwidth inversion data cubes. clustered in and around processed using a true amplitude sequence that included the four prospects/discoveries identified previously on the prestack Kirchhoff time migration. and density. effective multiple suppression. When compared to the conventional seismic line The initial input is guided by the rock physics model and in Figure 3. the pseudowells are updated to optimize the match. Poisson’s ratio. the voir level. Density section extracted over the same line as in Figure 3.formulae derived in the rock physics part of the project. yielding absolute P-impedance. which includes nonnet components of the reservoir rock. Density is usually the most problematic property to predict accurately.reformulation of the Aki and Richards AVO equation was used to invert for the three coefficients of a second-order polynomial in sin2θ. tion to P-impedance and Poisson’s ratio. It out the volume). A genetic algorithm. and high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio in the Figure 5. workflow used in this project. The Pan and Gardner 88 THE LEADING EDGE JANUARY 2005 . In Figure 7. This adds support that the derived density values are trustworthy. Three-term AVO is preferable to two-term should be noted that Sw represents the bulk water saturaAVO because it allows the determination of density in addi. Combining the three coefficients with a background VP/VS model results in band-limited reflectivity cubes for P-impedance.tion. the low and high gas-saturated zones. Full waveform prestack inversion (FWPI) uses a forward modeling methodology to transform pseudowells into synthetic offset data. A comparison is then made between the actual seismic data with the synthetic data. In this Hybrid inversion workflow. It involves combining full Further petrophysical volumes (Sw and N/G) were stawaveform prestack inversion (run at discrete locations) with tistically derived from the elastic volumes using regression more traditional AVO inversion (run continuously through. Hybrid inversion workflow used in this study.2. Note the different response between gather data.project. outlined in Figure 7. to perform several thousand iterations (perturbations) to find the values (2. While the uncertainty of the density estimate is generally larger than for the other AVO attributes.1). is used Figure 6. where the seismic amplitudes were calibrated to the corresponding well data.for the AVO inversion. These were submitted to a full bandwidth inversion.1).0 . It was observed that the estimation of density was significantly improved by including angles of incidence up to 60° in the AVO analysis. with the Sir 2X.stacking velocities. minimal mode conversion in the gathers. and density cubes. the low gas-saturated sand appears distin. Note that the reliability of three-term AVO inversion is subject to true relative amplitude preservation. ues (>2. Poisson’s ratio.concession map. Data quality was deemed very good and well pseudowells were used to build low-frequency models that suited for three-term AVO analysis. The derived VP/VS trends were used as input ficient to allow angles of incidence up to 60° at the reser. appropriate higher-order anisotropy moveout correction. and greens/blues are higher density val. The seismic data were pre. yellow overlay illustrating the error bars.optimum elastic parameters to match the synthetic to real data.
However. The results for the predicted versus actual gathers around the other four wells were consistent with this result. The intermediate to far offsets supply most of the density information (angles between 45 and 60°). The flattening of the moveout means the kinematic effects of anisotropy are eliminated without explicit knowledge of the anisotropy parameters. therefore. In order to decide how well the AVO seen on the actual seismic data matches that predicted from the well logs. this technique can be applied to the offset and resultant angle gathers. Well calibration. (bottom) Gathers after flattening. ual NMO. the angle gathers must be as flat as possible. Full waveform prestack inversion workflow and an example result. Residual gather flattening is essential for accurate AVO analysis. together with the dynamic effect of anisotropy. Although apparent anisotropic corrections have been applied to these data (Figure 8 top). there is still some uncorrected anisotropy in the data as well as some resid- Well-tie results. Note that three neighboring gathers from the seismic data are shown. In general. Figure 10 shows the Poisson’s ratio. The calibration of the seismic to the well data helps compensate for the effects introduced by anisotropy. P-impedance. In general. The bottom plot in Figure 8 shows the result of applying this flattening process. the real data in purple and yellow. AVO. seismic data from gas sands underestimates the change in JANUARY 2005 THE LEADING EDGE 89 . Part of the reason for the good match is because the low-frequency component came from the well information. where the offsetto-angle relationship is increasingly affected with increasing offsets. (top) Typical gathers before flattening.g. and density results from the well logs (filtered to 70 Hz) in red and the extracted values from the final inversion cubes in blue. Residual gather flattening. is a sample-by-sample process and as such it is very important to have flat gathers as input. The gather data were ‘flattened’ using an automated event picker that is constrained to be spatially consistent—this not only ensures that the structural detail provided by the high temporal resolution near-angle stack is unchanged before and after flattening. but the highfrequency component came from the seismic data. comparisons were made between predicted and actual gathers (Figure 9). will affect the amplitudes with increasing offsets. anisotropy will also contribute to another kinematic aspect. Figure 8. The match in Figure 9 appears good and the comparison (lower part of Figure 9) of the seismic amplitude at the top and base reservoir with the corresponding result from the synthetic amplitude confirms this. There are some areas of mismatch in the estimates (e. This. the agreement was good and it was decided that global amplitude calibration scalars to match the seismic AVO with those modeled from the well data were not required for this project. as implemented in this project. The synthetic modeled result is shown in red and blue. but also prevents cycle skips that commonly plague automatic pickers..Figure 7.
Based on this information. The conventional amplitude extraction shows an area of high amplitude around Abu Sir 2X which is associated with the low gas-saturated interval. particularly high-angle (long-offset) seismic Conclusions. The water saturation attribute is effectively a meta-attribute that uses P-impedance. generally. the decision was made to move the proposed location to test • facies interpretation and calibration this better interval. (bottom) Comparison of the El King 2X well were compa. Attribute maps. Analysis of the seismic attributes derived in this project showed that using all three elastic attributes (P-impedance.• assigning uncertainty estimates to final output products ing density • reservoir property prediction While no single technology provides all the answers to • constraints on reserve estimates the problems geoscientists face. whereas the density and Pimpedance extractions show this area to be less prospective. • multiattribute volume interpretation • data quality.Poisson’s ratio compared to the well log data) but.the picked amplitudes at both the top and base of the gas-charged sand. The project has highlighted many benefits of the data workflow outlined. Poisson’s ratio. The conventional amplitude extractions over the Pliocene interval targeted by Figure 9. the match is encouraging. and density) extracted over the noncommercial gas interval around Abu Sir 2X. the density estimates from the seismic data had a good correlation with the well data. rable in strength. All three extractions suggest commercial hydrocarbon accumulations at the proposed Abu Sir 3X location. which is structurally below the GWC found in Abu Sir 2X. It is felt that using these attributes together would allow discrimination of commercial gas from fizz gas ahead of the drill bit. Poisson’s ratio. (top) Modeled versus actual data comparison for the Abu Sir 2X well. P-impedance. and density to estimate the water saturation. Extractions from the attribute data indicate the eastern levee should have betThe main challenges in further improving the reservoir ter reservoir properties (water saturation is shown in Figure model building process include: 13) than the western levee. it is the opinion of the • improved reservoir characterization authors that elastic impedance inversion technology pro• optimized field development vides valuable information that will help our industry 90 THE LEADING EDGE JANUARY 2005 . In particular. including: • relative amplitude preservation through the acquisition and processing steps • improved lithology and fluid discrimination • improve the low-frequency model design in geometri• estimation of gas saturation cally complex reservoir systems • improved discrimination of low gas saturation by includ. and density) provided a better match with the wells for water saturation compared to using P-impedance and VP/VS only. Figure 11 shows map views of three attributes (amplitude. Figure 12 is a water saturation map over Abu Sir Field. Figure 13 illustrates a practical result of the study.
and El Max discoveries. Blue curves are predictions from seismic data and red curves are well data. the density supports the interpretation that the downdip area has high gas saturation where well Abu Sir 3X is planned. Figure 11. and P-impedance extractions over the zone indicated in the well log. Al Bahig. and density comparisons for Abu Sir. However. JANUARY 2005 THE LEADING EDGE 91 . density.Figure 10. Amplitude. Poisson’s ratio. The large anomaly in the lower left of the images is actually downdip of the drilled wells. P-impedance.
Jim Keggin from BP Egypt and Manfred Boeckmann from RWE Dea for their involvement and assistance to ensure this project was a success.apachecorp. 92 THE LEADING EDGE JANUARY 2005 . “Hybrid seismic inversion: A reconnaissance tool for deepwater exploration” by Mallick et al. Existing wells are shown with red dots. Corresponding author: Ron. RWE DEA and BP Egypt.Roberts@egy. for permission to publish this article. “Waveform gather inversion and attributeguided interpolation: A two-step approach to log prediction” by Lau et al. Yellow/orange indicate high gas saturation. 1987). the proposed well has been moved to target the eastern levee of this channel/levee complex. and we think that three-term hybrid inversion is a good approach to help resolve that issue. Suggested reading. University of Houston. Based on this map. Water saturation map over the El King Pliocene and Miocene discovery. The ability to differentiate between low gas saturation and economic gas is of particular importance to the industry. Seismic Acoustic Laboratory. (TLE. The Basic Equations of Plane Elastic Wave Reflection and Scattering Applied to AVO Analysis by Pan and Gardner (Annual Progress Review 19. Apache Egypt would also like to thank the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation for their support of this project. Water saturation map over the Abu Sir discovery. Dave Jennette for his seismic facies analysis. 2002). Figure 12. The proposed well Abu Sir 3X is shown with black outline. and blue indicates higher water saturation levels. “Reservoir description using full waveform prestack inversion” by Mallick and Benabentos (TLE. TLE Acknowledgments: Apache Egypt would like to thank our partners.com Figure 13. We also recognize Don Westacott for his efforts to generate the petrophysical estimates that were used in this study. in both the exploration and development phases. (TLE. 2002).become more successful. 2000).