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0 Introduction to AVO Theory

by: Anat Canning

AVO Theory

AVO Theory Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Section One: Basic Rock Physics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Basic Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vp-Vs and Density Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AVO Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amplitude Versus Angle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AVO Anomalies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 4 4 14 15 15 16 20 20

Section Three: AVO Inversion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Appendix A: Zoeppritz Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Appendix B: References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

AVO Theory

Contents 2

AVO Theory
Amplitude versus offset (AVO) analysis is a relatively new seismic technique used very successfully to predict hydrocarbon (especially gas) and lithologies for oil exploration and reservoir characterization. Using the AVO technique seismic amplitudes and their variation as a function of offset are analyzed. This information is then used to predict lithology and uid content. The basic concept behind the AVO technique is the analysis of the reection process. We take advantage of the fact that the measured amplitude is related to the strength of the reection (reection coefcient), and that the reection coefcient depends on three parameters: 1. Change in P-wave velocity across the interface. 2. Change in S-wave velocity across the interface. 3. Change in density across the interface. To understand AVO technology it is important to have an understanding of how: rock parameters (lithology, porosity, uid content) affect seismic rock properties (Vp, Vs, and ). the reection process reacts to changes in seismic rock parameters. to process seismic data to obtain amplitudes that are proportional to reection coefcients. to invert seismic amplitude to seismic rock parameters. to interpret these results and obtain the analysis of lithology, porosity, and uid content.

This introduction to AVO theory is divided into three sections. In the rst section we discuss basic rock physic concepts showing you how uid changes affect elastic parameters. In the second section there is a discussion of basic reection theory and you gain an understanding of how amplitude varies with offset. In the third section you are guided through AVO inversion which involves converting seismic data to AVO attributes. AVO attributes are seismic data volumes which are proportional to the change in a seismic - rock parameter such as Vp, Vs, etc.

AVO Theory

AVO Theory 3

Section One: Basic Rock Physics

This section consists of a review of terms used in rock physics, and an overview of basic elastic parameters and rock physics formulas. Fig. 1 displays a thin section of a rock. Note that the rock is not homogenous but rather a collection of grains made of different minerals of varying shapes and sizes. The rock is held together by cement. In between the grains is pore space which is usually lled with uid.

Fig. 1: Thin section of a rock

Basic Terms
Density is the mass of the rock per unit of volume. The bulk density of the rock is affected by the composition of the different minerals, the porosity of the rock, and the type of uids which ll the pore space. Porosity is the percentage of pore space per unit volume. Note that porosity can never reach 100% which would mean that the rock does not contain any minerals only pores. There is a point - called critical porosity - c where the rock is considered to still be a rock. Above critical porosity the rock becomes a suspension. See Fig. 2.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 4

Fig. 2: Porosity

Saturation ( S ) denes the quantity of a specic uid in the pore space. Saturation requires the specication of uid type. For example, water saturation S w is the percentage of brine compared to hydrocarbon within the pore space. 40% S w means that the uid is composed of 40% water and 60% hydrocarbons. The overall elastic rock property is determined by the properties of the rock matrix, the porosity, and the composition of the uids that ll the pore space. Elasticity: The wave propagation process which occurs during a seismic experiment is controlled by the elastic properties of the rock - meaning how the rock deforms as a result of the force which is applied to it. Intuitively it is obvious that soft rock reacts to the strain differently than does a stiffer rock. Elasticity theory deals with the deformation caused by the application of stress to a substance. Strain( e ) is the amount of deformation of the material per unit area. Stress( ) is the force per unit area. When stress is applied to the material it deforms causing strain. Hooks Law: States that there is a linear relationship between stress and strain (between the force applied and the amount of deformation). = Ce
(EQ 1)

C is a constant relation. Strain( e ) and stress( ) are tensors and C is a matrix (tensor) of constants (with 81 coefcients) which dene the fundamental elastic properties of the rock.
For isotrophic material, the 81 coefcients of matrix C are reduced to two independent elastic parameters which characterize the elastic properties of the rock. Some combinations of the two independent parameters are called the Elastic Moduli and can be measured in laboratory experiments.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 5

Youngs Modulus (E) is an elastic modulus that can be measured in a laboratory experiment. Youngs modulus measures the change in length (longitudinal strain) when a longitudinal stress is applied to it. L l = E -----L See Fig. 3.
(EQ 2)

Fig. 3: Youngs Modulus

Shear Modulus - Rigidity( ) is another elastic modulus which can be measured in a laboratory. The Shear modulus is the elastic constant which relates the shear strain to shear stress. Y s = ------ . X See Fig. 4.
(EQ 3)

Fig. 4: Shear Modulus - Rigidity

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 6

Bulk Modulus - Incompressibility (k) is another elastic modulus which measures the resistance to volumetric stress (a force that is applied uniformly in all directions-hydrostatic pressure). Incompressibility can also be measured in a lab experiment. V P = K ------- , V where: P = hydrostatic pressure V ------- = relative change in volume V See Fig. 5.

(EQ 4)

Fig. 5: Bulk Modulus Incompressibility

Bulk modulus is the elastic modulus used mostly in AVO. The table in Fig. 6 lists several typical values of Bulk modulus for some rocks and uids. The units are in 1010 Dynes/cm2. Note that there is a large difference in Bulk modulus between solids and uids. It is obvious that if the solid is stiff, it will react differently to the application of volumetric stress.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 7

Fig. 6: Typical Bulk Modulus (Units: 1010 Dynes/cm2)

Lame Constant is another elastic modulus that is used very often. It is not a property which is directly measured in the laboratory but is dened from other elastic moduli.

2 K = + -- 3

(EQ 5)

Wave Propagation Velocities: Two basic waves propagate in the subsurface: Pressure wave (P-wave) and Shear wave (S-wave). Note that Shear waves do not propagate through uids. P-waves and S-waves propagate with different velocities, and those velocities are related to the elastic properties of the rocks. P-waves propagate with P-wave velocity. (Vp) is given by:

Vp =

3 k + -- 4 --------------

(EQ 6)

S-wave velocity is given by: Vs = -

(EQ 7)

Note that the S-wave velocity is affected by density and the Shear modulus. P-wave velocity is affected by two elastic moduli, the Bulk modulus and the Shear modulus. In other words, the Bulk modulus only affects the P-wave.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 8

The relationship between P-wave velocity and S-wave velocity is a fundamental parameter in AVO analysis. Poissons Ratio ( ) is dened as the (minus of) ratio between longitudinal strain and axial strain. Exx = -------Ezz In terms of velocities it is given by: 2 Vp 2 ----- Vs = ----------------------------2 2 Vp 1 ----- Vs
(EQ 8)

(EQ 9)

Vp This means that Poissons ratio is a measure of ------ . Note that Poissons ratio varies between Vs 0 and 0.5. Vp = 0 when ------ = Vs 2

= 0.5 when Vs = 0 .

Impedance ( Ip ; Is ) is the product of velocity times density. It is a fundamental property of the rock. Ip = Vp Is = Vs
(EQ 10)

Impedance plays a major role in Normal Incidence reectivity. At Normal Incidence, the reection from an interface between two layers, with Ip1 representing impedance of the top layer, and Ip2, the impedance of the bottom layer, is given by: I p 2 I p 1 Ip R = ----------------------- = -------- - relative changes in impedance. I p 2 + I p 1 Ip
(EQ 11)

This is the reason why impedance can be directly measured from normal incidence seismic data. The seismic experiment is controlled by the velocity of the waves in the subsurface. Because of the large wavelength of seismic waves in oil exploration (in the order of meters), the velocity and density that we can measure from the seismic data reects some average property of the rock. It is a combination of the parameters of the rock matrix (the grains) and the uids that ll the pore spaces (which are in the scale of millimeters).

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 9

Wyllies Time - Average Equation denes the relationship between the bulk velocity of the rock (the composite rock) and its components - the velocity of the rock matrix, brine, and hydrocarbons. 1 S w ( 1 S w ) 1 ------ = ----------- + --------- + ----------------------Vb VM Vw V HC where: V b = Bulk velocity of the rock = Porosity (%) S w = Water saturation (%) 1 S w = Hydrocarbon saturation (%) V M = Velocity of the rock matrix V w = Velocity of water V HC = Velocity of hydrocarbons Wyllies equation denes the averaging law for velocities as averaging the inverse of the velocities. Wyllies Equation for Density denes the averaging law for densities. It states that the bulk density of the rock is the average of the density of its components. b = M ( 1 ) + w S w + HC ( 1 S w ) where: b = Bulk density of the rock M = Density of the rock matrix w = Density of water HC = Density of the hydrocarbon = Porosity
(EQ 13) (EQ 12)

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 10

S w = Water saturation 1 S w = Hydrocarbon saturation An analysis of Wyllies time average equation shows that the velocity decreases as water is replaced with hydrocarbons. This is because the Bulk modulus of oil is lower than water and the Bulk modulus of gas is lower than oil. Therefore the velocity of oil is lower than that of water. The diagram in Fig. 7 is a plot of Vp as a function of water saturation. There is one graph for oil and another for gas showing the decrease of P-wave velocity with the increase in hydrocarbons. The diagram in Fig. 7 is calculated using Wyllies time average equation.


Fig. 7: Vp for oil and gas using Wyllies equations

The difference in P-wave velocity between water and hydrocarbons, due to the difference in Bulk modulus, is the basic phenomena that enables AVO analysis. Laboratory measurements of rocks show that Wyllies time-average equation does not correctly describe the effect of S w on the P-wave velocity. The dashed line in Fig. 7 plots the observed velocity showing the discrepancy between observed velocity and the prediction from Wyllies equation.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 11

Gassmann Equation is an enhancement of Wyllies equation that predicts the observed results very well. The Gassmann equation is formulated in terms of Bulk modulus of the different components.

1 Kb KM 2 4 V p b = K b + --- b + ----------------------------------------------------------------------------3 1 Kb KM KM + k f

(EQ 14)

where: Vp = P-wave velocity K = Bulk modulus = Shear modulus = Density b, M , f = Bulk, rock matrix, and uid
Bulk modulus for uids is calculated:

Sw 1 Sw 1 ------- = ------- + --------------K w K HC Kf Note that the Gassmann equation is an extension of the velocity equation: 3 k + --- 4 --------------

(EQ 15)

Vp =

(EQ 16)

When porosity is equal to 0, the last term in the Gassmann equation is reduced to 0. This means that the Gassmann equation can be viewed as an extension of the formula that dened P-wave velocity in order to incorporate the uid effects. The Gassmann equation predicts that upon an introduction of a very small amount of gas, the bulk P-wave velocity will drop. Increasing the amount of gas thereafter has only a small effect on the velocity. See the dashed line in Fig. 7. This phenomena demonstrates that AVO technique can be useful in detecting hydrocarbons, but is not indicative enough to detect the amount of gas. We expect to see AVO anomalies even for low gas saturations. Fig. 8 summarizes the prediction of the Gassmann equations. Fig. 8 also illustrates the basis of AVO technique by showing the effects of gas on rock velocity. Note that when oil is present there is a somewhat different situation because there is not such a large drop in velocity. This is why it is more difcult to predict oil with AVO compared to gas although in some cases it is possible.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 12

Fig. 8

Note that shear-wave velocity increases slightly with gas saturation. This is due to the effect of density and is not related to Bulk modulus. It is explained as follows:

Vs =

(EQ 17)

- the Shear modulus is not affected at all by the uids, but the density is. As gas saturation increases, density is reduced. Since density is in the denominator, it causes Vs to increase slightly. Poissons ratio, which is a function of Vp/Vs, responds mainly to the change in uids. The value of Vp responds mainly to the change in porosity and less to the change in pore uids.

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 13

Vp-Vs and Density Relationships

Rock physics experiments show that for most sandstones there is a linear relationship between P-wave velocity and S-wave velocity for brine saturation. This relationship may vary for different rocks and regions. Mudrock Line: Denes the linear relationship between Vp and Vs for brine saturations. In the Gulf of Mexico, Castagna established the Mudrock Line to be Vp = 1.16Vs + 1.36 for velocity in Km/sec. Generally the Mudrock Line is referred to as being: Vp = A Vs + B where A and B are constants specic to each case. Gardners Relation is another useful relationship between P-wave velocity and density, dened by Gardner from experimental data. The Gardner Relation is given by: log ( ) = A log ( Vp ) + B
(EQ 19) (EQ 18)

where A and B are constants specic to each case. The parameters Gardner derived in his experiments are: log ( ) = 0.25 log ( Vp ) 0.51 and are used as default parameters when no local data is available.
(EQ 20)

AVO Theory

Section One: Basic Rock Physics 14

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset

AVO technique is the analysis of the variation of the amplitude as a function of offset. The amplitude varies with offset because the reection coefcient varies when the angle of incidence of the wave at the interface varies. The basic phenomena is described as follows: When a P-wave arrives at an interface between two layers, some of the energy reects back to the surface and some is transmitted. The amount reected and the amount transmitted depend on the contrast in parameters of the two layers. The relevant parameters are: Vp 1 , Vs 1 , 1 - P-wave velocity, S-wave velocity, and density for layer 1. Vp 2 , Vs 2 , 2 - P-wave velocity, S-wave velocity, and density for layer 2. At normal incidence the reection coefcients depend only on Vp and . 2 Vp 2 1 Vp 1 I p R NI = ------------------------------------- = ------- 2 Vp 2 + 1 Vp 1 I p where Ip is the P-wave impedance. When the wave arrives at the interface at non-normal incidence, some of the P wave energy is converted to shear. Fig. 9 describes this phenomena.

(EQ 21)

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 15

Fig. 9: Reection at the interface

As the angle increases more P wave energy is converted to S wave energy.

AVO Analysis
AVO analysis is the analysis of the variations in the reection coefcient. These variations are governed by the contrast in P-wave velocity and S-wave velocity at the interface. As previously stated, when there is gas in the layer, Vp drops whereas Vs does not change. This means that Vp/Vs is anomalous, and we hope to see the effect of this anomaly in the reection pattern. In principle AVO analysis should measure amplitude variations with angle of incidence. However, amplitude is measured with offset because usually as offset increases, the angle of incidence increases. We also assume that amplitude of the seismic data is proportional to the reection coefcients. Zoeppritz Equations relate the reection coefcients to the angle of incidence, Vp , Vs , and . The Zoeppritz equations are quite complex. This may be the reason why AVO is a relatively new technique. AVO theory evolved only after approximations to the Zoeppritz equations were developed. See Appendix A: Zoeppritz Equations on page 40. The basic approximation to the Zoeppritz equations was given by Aki & Richards. See Fig. 10 and Fig. 11.

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 16

Fig. 10: Approximations to the Zoeppritz Equation: Aki & Richards approximation

Note that:

Fig. 11

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 17

It represents the variations in reection coefcient with angle R ( ) as a function of three parameters: Vp 1. Relative change in Vp --------Vp 2. Relative change in Vs 3. Relative change in -------- Vs Vs


Note that the basic form of this approximation is:

V V p s R ( ) a ------ + b ---------- + c -------- V V p s

(EQ 22)

The coefcients a , b , and c are a function of the angle of incidence and the background Vp trend ------ . Equation 22 is an approximation to the Zoeppritz equations. It assumes that: Vs It is a plane wave. There is P wave to P wave reection. There are only precritical reections. There are only small changes in elastic parameters across the interface.

Rearranging Equation 22 we get as shown in Fig. 12.

Fig. 12: Rearranging Aki & Richards formula

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 18

This provides us with another presentation of the reection coefcient known as Shueys Approximation as shown in Fig. 13.

Fig. 13

B is a function of Poissons ratio. Shuey observed that for small angles:

( tan 2 sin 2 ) 0
and suggested an approximation which is valid up to 30o.

(EQ 23)

R ( ) Rp + G sin 2
G is often called the gradient and Rp is the Normal Incidence Reectivity.

(EQ 24)

The Hilterman approximation: Hilterman suggested another way to rearrange this formula 1 assuming small angles and that -- . 3

9 R ( ) Rp cos 2 + -- sin 2 4

(EQ 25)

This formula shows that reectivity at small angles is dominated by P-wave velocity and large angle reectivity is dominated by (change in Poissons Ratio).

9 = -- ( Rp + G ) 4

(EQ 26)

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 19

The density term: Returning to the Shuey approximation shown in Fig. 12, note that the rst term is Normal Incidence, the second term is affected by larger angles, and the last term is 1 Vp affected by a very large angle. Observe that the normal incidence is -- --------- + ------ , whereas 2 Vp 1 Vp the very larger angle term is -- --------- . This means that separation of the density effect from 2 Vp the P-wave velocity effect is only possible if large angle information is available.

Amplitude Versus Angle

AVO analysis should actually be called AVA analysis - amplitude versus angle-because it deals with the analysis of reection coefcients which vary according to the angle of incidence and not according to the offset. We assume that for small angles, the offset is small and for large angles the offset is large. See Fig. 14.

Fig. 14: Offset-versus angle of incidence

During AVO inversion we actually convert the offset to angle of incidence using one of the ray tracing processes. See Section Three: AVO Inversion on page 25.

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 20

AVO Anomalies
The basic model for AVO anomaly can be illustrated using a gas sand layer between two shales. See Fig. 15.

Fig. 15

Poissons ratio for the gas sand is much smaller than for shale, and the reection coefcients change rapidly with the angle of incidence. The resulting amplitude on an offset gather is negative reection of near offset becoming more negative at the far offset, which is manifested with an absolute value of amplitude increase at large offsets. This is shown in Fig. 15. Rutherford & Williams classication: Rutherford and Williams published a classication of AVO anomalies which divided AVO anomalies (based on oil and gas) to three basic classes as illustrated in Fig. 16.

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 21

Fig. 16: Rutherford & Williams classication

Class III is the classic Gulf of Mexico AVO anomaly where gas sands have low impedance compared to shale. The reection coefcient of normal incidence is negative and becomes more negative at a large offset. Fig. 17 shows that amplitude increases with offset for class III AVO anomalies.

Fig. 17

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 22

Class II is a higher impedance gas sand scenario. Here normal incidence reectivity is close to zero and becomes negative at larger offsets. Class II anomalies occur when gas sands have similar impedances to the neighboring shales as shown in Fig. 18.

Fig. 18

Class I is a high impedance sand anomaly. It has positive normal incidence reectivity which becomes smaller at larger offsets as shown in Fig. 19.

Fig. 19

Bright spots and dim spots: Before AVO analysis was developed, interpreters often used the bright spots on stack sections as gas indicators. The bright spots were large amplitude reections on stack sections which often coincided with gas. The bright spots are associated with Class III AVO anomalies. When you stack them you get high stack amplitudes.

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 23

Class I and Class II AVO anomalies can produce the reverse effect - dim spots, meaning that when you stack the events the amplitudes go down. If there is a phase reversal along offset axis, then when you stack all offsets, the near offsets cancel the far offsets and the result is a very low amplitude reection on the stack section - the dim spot. Fig. 20 summarizes AVO anomalies.

Fig. 20: AVO Table

AVO Theory

Section Two: AVO Amplitude Versus Offset 24

Section Three: AVO Inversion

AVO inversion is the basic step in AVO processing. In this step we attempt to convert the seismic data to different reectivities which have clear physical meanings. In AVO inversion we take the seismic pre-stack data, which represents the reection coefcient as a function of angle of incidence and, using the Zoeppritz equations, we try to convert this data to reectivity. Reectivity means relative change in a rock parameter. The relevant basic reectivities are: Vp --------- - relative change in P-wave velocity Vp Vs --------- - relative change in S-wave velocity Vs ------ - relative change in density

The basic problem in AVO Inversion is described as follows: Given the approximation to the Zoeppritz equation: V V s p R ( ) a ------ + b --------- + c ---------- , V V s p and given: R ( xi ) : Reection Coefcient (Amplitude) at N distinct offsets X i . angle of incidence at offset X . i i Vp Vs Calculate: ------ ; --------- , --------- . Vs Vp Calculating Angle of Incidence: To perform AVO inversion we rst need to know the angle of incidence for all gathers, offsets, and time (or depth) samples. Given the velocity model and the source receiver location, we can determine the angle of incidence using a ray tracing procedure. The Least Square Formulation for AVO Inversion: The second step in AVO inversion involves picking all amplitude values (of a given CMP gather) for all offsets for each time sample. See Fig. 21.

(EQ 27)

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 25

Fig. 21: Pick all amplitudes along the selected line (one time sample)

We analyze the amplitude as a function of angle of incidence as illustrated in Fig. 22. Note that we convert each offset to its corresponding angle using the ray tracing procedure.

Fig. 22: Fitting the Zoeppritz curve through AVO data

Using the least squares formulation we then t a Zoeppritz approximation curve.This means that we nd the best Zoeppritz curve that ts the data points in a least squares sense.

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 26

Vp Vs Once this curve is derived, its parameters: --------- ; --------- ; ------ are known. These are the inverted Vp Vs reectivity values for that sample. This process is repeated for all CMPs and for all samples. The results are reectivity data cubes, which are also called AVO attributes.

Fig. 23: Example of Vp and Vs reectivities

In theory, a straight forward solution of all three parameters is possible. In practice however, the density term is relatively small compared with velocity. In addition, the density affects the very far offsets beyond 30o. Unfortunately in most cases far offset data which contains the density information does not exist. Other factors such as noise and imperfect amplitude recovery makes inversion for density instable and causes instability in the velocity reectivity estimation as well. To stabilize the inversion we usually invert for two-terms rather than the three-terms that are involved in the Zoeppritz equation. Vs Vp In the Aki & Richards formula: R ( ) a ------ + b --------- + c --------Vs Vp V s Vp Vp we substitute: ------ = --------- and solve for: R ( ) b --------- + c --------Vs Vp Vp Other AVO attributes: The basic attributes calculated in AVO inversion using the two-term Aki & Richards approximation are P-wave velocity reectivity and S-wave velocity reectivity. We can calculate other useful attributes which are a function of the basic two attributes.

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 27

Fluid Factor is an example of a very powerful AVO attribute. It is derived as the deviation from the Mudrock Line. The Mudrock Line is a linear relation between Vp and Vs for brine saturation. We know that oil and gas saturations plot away from the Mudrock Line. Using Vp Vs this concept, we calculate the uid factor from --------- and --------- , by measuring the deviation Vp Vs Vp from the Mudrock Line. The calculation process is as follows: We crossplot --------- samples Vp Vs against --------- . Then, for each data point we calculate its distance from the (predened) Vs Mudrock Line and create a new attribute which is proportional to that distance. This means that the points that fall on the Mudrock Line are assigned small values, whereas points that fall away from this line are assigned large values. The resulting attribute is a very good indicator for hydrocarbons. See Fig. 24.

Fig. 24

Pseudo Poissons Reectivity is another common AVO attribute. It is the reectivity of Vp ------ ratio (pseudo Poissons ratio). Vs q Vp If q = ------ is Pseudo Poissons ratio, then Pseudo Poissons reectivity ----- is given by: q Vs q Vp Vs ----- = --------- --------q Vp Vs

(EQ 28)

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 28

Ip Is Impedance Reectivities -------- and ------- can also be calculated using AVO inversion. In Ip Is fact, with two-term inversion, impedance reectivities are very stable attributes and are recommended.

Elastic Moduli Reectivities: Instead of inverting for impedances or velocities we can invert directly for elastic moduli. (Note that P and S velocities are dened in terms of elastic moduli. Vp = + 2 --------------- Vs = -- .)

These attributes were suggested by Goodway, 1997. See Appendix B: References on page 43. Vs Vp The elastic moduli reectivities are: --------- ; --------- and can be derived from --------- and --------- . Vs Vp

AVO Inversion using the Shuey Approximation: The attributes dened so far are generated by using the Aki & Richards approximation in a process of tting the curve to the AVO data. An alternative method, which is more common, is based on the Shuey approximation. Shueys approximation is given by: R ( ) = NI + G sin 2
(EQ 29)

The inversion process which is based on Shueys approximation, is very similar to the A&R process described above. Here, instead of tting an A&R curve, we t the Shuey curve. Using Shueys formula we obtain two independent AVO attributes: NI = Normal incidence reectivity G = AVO gradient Note that the normal incidence reectivity is identical to P-wave impedance reectivity. Poissons Reectivity is another AVO attribute suggested by Hilterman. It is calculated from Shueys attribute as follows: ------------------- = NI + G 2 (1 )

(EQ 30)

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 29

Angle Stacks: Another very common method used to perform AVO inversion is to create limited angle stacks: Near-Normal Stacks Medium Angle Stacks Far Angle Stacks Analyzing the differences between the limited angle stacks can provide useful hydrocarbon indications. For example, with class III anomalies large amplitude at far angle stacks can be a gas indicator. With class III anomalies possible phase reversal between near and far angle stacks can indicate gas. Creating angle stacks is a simplied form of AVO inversion which is qualitative rather than quantitative but is quite common and rather useful.

How many attributes do you need? You have already noticed that there are many AVO attributes. Users often wonder which attribute to use. The answer is that there are only two Vs Vp independent AVO attributes (when using two term inversion). --------- and --------- are examples. Vs Vp NI and G are another example. Other attributes are combinations which can be useful. The signicant factors in attribute calculation which can lead to a difference in the results are: What approximation you are using. Whether it is two-term or three-term.

Ideally we search for attributes which can be useful for indicating hydrocarbons by separating uids from lithology. Another criteria which affects our choice of attribute is if we intend to use this attribute in acoustic impedance inversion.

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 30


Fig. 25

Fig. 25 displays ve different AVO attributes from the same dataset. Note the differences between the near and far angle stacks. The oil sands are seen at far angle stacks but not at the near. In the conventional stack only a hint of the AVO anomaly can be seen. Note that the P-wave reectivity is very similar to the near angle stacks and that the uid factor attribute shows the anomaly best, as expected. You may want to use other AVO attributes. The Probe application provides you with a calculator which enables you to create your own attributes by combining existing attributes with basic functions.

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 31

Aki & Richards Approximation Versus Shueys Approximation: To understand the differences between the two approximations let us rst analyze how the reection coefcient behaves (as a function of angle) using a simple model. Consider a two layer model. The bottom layer has the following parameters: Vp = 20,000 ft/sec Vs = 10, 000 ft/sec = 2.65 g/cc Consider ve cases where the top layer parameters for each case are described in the table in Fig. 26.

Fig. 26

The reection coefcient R ( ) is drawn in Fig. 27 for the ve cases; each case in its own color.

AVO Theory

Section Three: AVO Inversion 32

Fig. 27

We see that the shape of this curve (calculated with the true Zoeppritz curve) is similar in all cases. In each case critical angle (where curves end and R = 1) is reached elsewhere as expected. Also the value of R is different for each case, but the shape is similar. It decreases at the beginning and at some points it curves and starts to increase. The three-term inversion approximates this behavior quite well. In fact with three-term inversion the Shuey curve and the Aki & Richards curves are identical. With two-term inversion the Aki & Richards curve is different from the Shuey curve and sometimes behaves better, especially at larger angles. With two-term Shuey, the curves G 2 always increase because sin is always positive. R ( ) = NI + G sin 2 The A&R curve does bend. Fig. 28 shows this effect.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 33


shuey curve


A&R Approximation

true Zoeppritz curve

Fig. 28

The dark blue curve is a true Zoeppritz curve. (Note that this data has large angles over 50o. Observe the bending of the curve.) The light blue curve is the A&R approximation and the green curve is the Shuey curve. A&R works much better with these large angles. For smaller angles (up to 30o) Shuey would be very similar to A&R. Fig. 29 is another example.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 34

shuey A& R true curve

Fig. 29

The effect of ray tracing: Calculating accurately the angle of incidences for a given offset can be a very signicant factor in AVO inversion.

Fig. 30: Obtaining angle of incidence

It is common in AVO inversion to use straight ray approximation. Fig. 30 illustrates the problem with approximation. The angle of incidence may be quite different from reality when using simplied approximations.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 35

Another issue is associated with structure. Assuming a horizontal layer model where there is a structure that can cause a large error in calculating angle of incidences:

Fig. 31

In Fig. 31 you can see that for a given offset and a given traveltime, ray tracing with a horizontal layer model or a dipping layer model can produce very signicant differences in the resulting angle. It is therefore quite important to ray trace using the best approximation to the real model. Another factor that could affect the angle calculation is the use of real topography versus using static correction. It may be important to take topography into account rather than ray tracing from datum. This effect is illustrated in Fig. 32.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 36

Fig. 32: Topography effect in deriving reection angle

The example in Fig. 33 illustrates the effect of error in angle of incidence calculation on AVO inversion.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 37

A&R curve tting the data

Shuey curve

Fig. 33

This is a synthetic example of an AVO gather. In Fig. 33 ray tracing was performed with the correct model. You can see a very good t of the A&R curve.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 38

A&R curve data

Fig. 34: AVO with wrong background model (error in reector dip of 10o)

In Fig. 34 ray tracing was performed with a wrong model; there is an error of 10o in the dip of the reector. Note that now the A&R curve does not t the data. Note that the data curve, which is the same data in both cases, looks different. This is because the mapping of data from offsets to angle of incidence is different in both cases (Fig. 33 versus Fig. 34). It is wrong in the second case.

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Section Three: AVO Inversion 39

Appendix A: Zoeppritz Equations

The A&R formula approximates the Zoeppritz equation. The exact Zoeppritz equation which denes reection coefcients is given in the following gures. Note that this matrix form denes reection coefcients for all wave reection and transmission combinations. PS means down going P-wave reected S-wave, etc.

Fig. 35

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Appendix A: Zoeppritz Equations 40

Fig. 36

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Appendix A: Zoeppritz Equations 41

Fig. 37

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Appendix A: Zoeppritz Equations 42

Appendix B: References
Aki, K., and Richards, P.G., 1980, Quantitative seismology, Theory and methods, Volume 1. W.H. Freeman and Company. Bortfeld R., 1961, Approximation to the reection and transmission coefcients of plane longitudinal and transverse waves: Geophys. Prosp., 9, 485-502. Castagna, J., Batzle, M., Eastwood, R., 1985, Relationships between compressional-wave and shear wave velocities in clastic silicate rocks. Geophysics, 50, 571-581. Castagna, J.P. Batzle, M.L. and Eastwood, R.L. 1985, Relationships between compressional-wave and shear-wave velocities in clastic silicate rocks, Geophysics 50, 571-581. Castagna, Batzle and Kan, 1993. Rock physics: the link between rock properties and AVO response, Offset Dependent Reectivity: Theory and Practice of AVO Analysis, Castagna and Backus, pp. 152-154. Gardner, G.H.F., Gardner, L.W. and Gregory, A.R. 1974, Formation velocity and density - the diagnostic basics for stratigraphic traps, 1974 Geophysics 39, 770-780. Gassmann, F., 1951, Elastic waves through a packing of spheres. Geophysics, 16, 673-685. Goodway B., Chen T., Downton J. Improved AVO uid detection and lithology discrimination using Lame petrophysical parameters; , , and uid stack, from P and S inversions. CSEG national convention, 1997, Expanded Abstracts, p. 183-186. Koefoed, O., 1995, On the effect of Poissons ratios of rock strata on the reection coefcients of plane waves. Geophys. Prosp., 3, 381-387. Krail, P.M., and Brysk, H., 1983, Reection of spherical seismic waves in elastic layered media: Geophysics, 48, 655-664. Movco, G., Mukerji, T. and Dvorkin, J. 1998, The Rock Physics Handbook, Cambridge University Press. Ostrander, W.J., Plane wave reection coefcients for gas sands at nonnormal angles of incidence, 1984, Geophysics 49, 1637-1648. Shuey, R.T., A simplication of the Zoeppritz equations 1985, Geophysics 50, 609-614. Smith, G.C. and Gidlow, P.M., 1987, Weighted stacking for rock property estimation and detection of gas, Geophysical Prospecting 35, 993-1014. Verm, R. and Hillerman, F., Lithology color-coded seismic sections: The calibration of AVO crossplotting to rock properties, 1995, The Leading Edge 14, 847-853. Zoeppritz, K., 1919, Erdbebenwellen VII B, On the reection and penetration of seismic waves through unstable layers: Gottinger Nachr., 1,66-84.

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Appendix B: References 43