Generating Seismicly-Derived High-Resolution Rock Properties for Horizontal Drilling Optimization in the Arabian Gulf

Authors: Dr. J.A. Vargas-Guzman, William L. Weibel, Idam Mustika and Qadria Anbar

The classic integration of seismically-derived attributes into geocellular models by collocated cokriging is revisited, leading to improved geocellular modeling results above the seismic bandwidth between wells. This article shows a practical approach to the challenge of downscaling and the integration of the seismic acoustic impedance (seismic AI) attribute by calibrating it to the heterogeneity defined by the log-derived acoustic impedance (log AI). The approach is a reduction of the downscaling method by full cokriging to a simpler stepwise sequential kriging to estimate the required parameters for stochastic simulation. A downscaled model AI is created by combining the low-frequency seismic attribute with a predicted high-frequency component before it is integrated into the porosity model using log data. The current tools of preference, collocated cokriging and/or collocated co-simulation, assume proportionality between the variogram structures for both the synthetic log AI and the seismic AI. The problem with this assumption is that the modeled attribute may closely resemble the original low-resolution data. If the correlation between attributes is significant, then the resulting “downscaled” realizations by collocated methods look diffuse, so they are unsatisfactory for use in high-resolution geocellular models. The downscaling approach is redefined in this study by performing analytical computations and verifications with real reservoir data. A proper second order downscaling approach for seismic AI must be based on full cokriging and non-collocated co-simulation using both the logs and seismic. A complete integration should also reproduce the higher order geological heterogeneity, which is contained in the high-resolution well logs but not normally shown in the seismic attributes. The numerical complications of cokriging and the lack of robust tools in most existing software have motivated the development of practical collocated solutions that can be implemented with less effort. The contribution of this study is that it provides an alternative non-collocated approach for better representation of the vertical heterogeneity in geocellular models by downscaling the seismic AI prior to integration.

One of the challenges for integrating 3D seismic impedance (seismic AI) datasets into 3D static geocellular models is the

limited vertical resolution of the original seismic data from which the seismic AI is derived. The question of how to amalgamate the different resolutions between the vertically detailed 3D static models, predicted from well logs, and the lower resolution seismic data has been identified as one of the major challenges for integration of seismic data1 into geocellular models. The essence of the problem is that correlations between rock properties are scale dependent2. Estimating patterns of rock bodies and their properties (e.g., porosity and permeability) in the high vertical resolution geocellular models utilized for the reservoir development is in part limited by the vertical resolution of the input seismic data. Note that seismic data is usually imported to the modeling software as voxet thick cells similar to pixels in images, and not nodes. The seismic AI contains the low-frequency components of heterogeneity; however, the high-frequency components are unknown. The physical reasons for the resolution limitations of seismic data, which include the temporal frequency based on the twoway time sample rate, are described in the literature3. To gain information about the high-frequency heterogeneity of the rocks, one has to resort to the synthetic acoustic impedance (log AI) from the wells. The information in the log AI can be considered as the convolution of the low-frequency seismic and the high frequency impedance signal only available from logs. Therefore, it is natural to conclude that the high-frequency AI component at inter-well locations of the geocellular model should be predicted from the well data before any further integration of the seismic data into porosity models using high-resolution logs is performed. The purpose is to gain signal consistency with other logs (i.e., porosity) sampled at high resolution. If a geocellular model is constructed at high resolution (i.e., from 0.5 to 1 ft average thickness), then direct integration of the acoustic impedance seismic volume by collocated cokriging4 may not provide a consistent model because the collocated correlations between the coarse resolution seismic AI and the porosity well data may not be constant, even within a single voxet cell. The reason for this is nonstationarity (i.e., the covariance is a function of spatial location), and it involves the missing high-frequency components. For example, the well data may contain stringers of permeable sandstones surrounded by impermeable shale dominating a voxet cell. Seismic acoustic impedance voxet cells have a typical resolution of

a few milliseconds in the time domain, and depending on the rock propagation velocity, which is equivalent to a thickness that may be 30 times greater than the average cell in a high vertical resolution 3D geocellular reservoir model. The problem can be quite severe due to the stringer sand bodies, with high porosity and high permeability, may be diluted by averaging in thick voxet cells of high acoustic impedance, which may translate to false low porosity. The reverse phenomenon may also be observed, and low porosity rocks (e.g., low permeability barriers) may disappear after blending into the thick voxet cells of low acoustic impedance. The most popular integration approach, as is proposed in the literature, is to predict a detailed resolution rock property using collocated cokriging and associated co-simulation tools5; however, as is argued in this study, collocated cokriging should not be used for downscaling (i.e., predicting the high-frequency AI) at the inter-well locations. Collocated cokriging assumes the variogram structures for seismic and log data are proportional for all lag distances. This is analogous to proposing that the power spectra for seismic AI and well log derived AI in the vertical direction should be proportional for every frequency. The Fourier transform provides the relation between spectra and covariances or variograms, i.e., Bochner’s theorem6. The missing high frequencies truncate the power spectrum of the seismic AI; therefore, the variograms (or covariances) cannot be proportional because the high-frequency component from the log AI spectrum will add to the shape of the seismic AI spectrum in the frequency domain. As a result, the high-frequency component of the seismic, which is correlated to its equivalent high-resolution porosity, needs to be incorporated into the AI before the integration of the seismic data in such a way that missing components are avoided. This convolution of the high-frequency and the low-frequency AI components must be done in the spatial domain with geostatistics to achieve the conditioning to the log AI data in the modeling results. Attempting the integration in the frequency domain will entail an unconditional stochastic simulation of the high frequency components7. In addition, a more detailed or higher resolution AI model requires prior stratigraphic conditioning to the fine resolution, complex spatial geometry of rock bodies in the physical space8. One data integration approach is to downscale the seismic by incorporating the high-frequency component to match the resolution of the well log data in such a way that spurious correlations (due to resolution differences and non-stationary covariances) are avoided. Another approach is direct simulation based on parameters constrained by block kriging9; upscaling of the log data instead of downscaling the seismic attributes could help to match the seismic resolution. The weakness of this latter approach is that it does not allow the construction of the desired high-resolution geocellular models by integrating well log porosity data because the high-frequency log AI information is lost. An additional uncertainty is that the complex geometries of the rocks may represent stringer sands or good

reservoir rock bodies that are strongly anisotropic and so lack uniform lateral continuity. Therefore, the prediction of the model may show a pixel with high porosity at the wellbore while all surrounding cells do not conform to the expected geobody. Some techniques have been devised that use seismic amplitude vs. offset (AVO) analysis to come up with solutions for detecting rock bodies using seismic anisotropy of the velocity field10. Such techniques are destined to fail if the limitations of resolution are severe. A review of the state-of-the-art use of rock physics and geostatistics is available11. It is evident that the high-frequency variations in impedance and other seismic properties cannot be measured in practice; therefore, after revisiting the theory required for a sound downscaling, this study proposes a simple and practical methodology that relaxes the hard assumptions imposed in conventional collocated methods. The theoretical principles for downscaling correlated variables are detailed12. Enhancing the vertical resolution of seismic is not a unique process, as the results are still stochastic predictions; a sound downscaling strives to avoid unrealistic results due to spurious correlations during the integration of the data. A similar scaling situation is the use of prior low-resolution numerical cellular models, of porosity and permeability, which need to be locally updated to higher resolution with more detailed data for single platform flow simulations. Another example is the use of gamma ray or density rock property models downscaled for geosteering operations. In this study, these types of high-resolution models are named sector models and are used to guide the drilling from offshore platforms. The real limitation is not only the limited vertical resolution, but horizontal resolution as well, as both resolutions are not independent of each other. History matching is performed in sector models using boundary flux conditions extracted from the whole reservoir model. Therefore, consistency between a sector model and the prior model is a prerequisite for downscaling. The practical importance of downscaling for nonconventional resources was discussed13 presenting an example from the Athabasca oil

Fig. 1. Clastic reservoir schematic showing stratigraphy and sand-shale facies (above) and porosity and permeability (High=Red) in a faulted sector model (below). MRC well paths are also shown.




sands. A simple approach is to perform a stochastic downscaling that yields results that are conditional to the prior coarse resolution model, assuming second order correlations only, and very abundant local well data. Practical implementation of commercially available tools suggests that proper data integration requires a detailed workflow to avoid the introduction of spurious correlations. A sound integration of the seismic to other higher vertical resolution data (e.g., porosity logs) is critical for improving the drilling and completion practices for maximum reservoir contact (MRC) multilateral wells, Fig. 1, used in field development.

Acoustic impedance in a voxet cell is equivalent to the combination of impedances of higher resolution elements (i.e., logs) - 1 as follows: I = – where vj is the velocity and rj is the density of n each element. Note that “AI” is noted as “I” for simplicity in the mathematical formulations. The averaged computation is - -I = r v + cov(p,v). The covariance cov(p,v) is the second order similarity between the attributes, and r and v are the arithmetic (first order) averages. Therefore, not only the mean values need to be known, but the associated covariance values have to be included for exact upscaling. In statistical terms, the covariance is the entire average of all cross-covariances within the cell. A concept a bit less popular than the classic Pearson correlation coefficient is the cross-correlation coefficient14. Two distinct rock properties can have nonproportional covariance functions, or nonproportional variograms, Fig. 2. This is common to all data integration exercises, and the crosscovariance function is therefore nonproportional to either one of the individual covariance or variogram functions. At least in theory, if the synthetic log is correctly scaled to the seismic volume voxet, the spectra for the same low-frequency components of acoustic impedance data should be proportional. Therefore, a lack of good correlation between a synthetic acoustic impedance log AI and the seismic AI after depth matching is really an issue of resolution. The negative Pearson’s correlation coefficient between porosity(∅) and acoustic impedance I is Eq. 1. If you have numerous realizations of a simulated porosity field ∅(x) and an acoustic impedance field I(x) at high resolu-

tion following the well resolution log AI data resolution, then it is evident that numerous realizations of the simulated field are made of one random variable ∅(xj) at each cell or location (e.g., point node or volume element). The variable xj represents the 3D coordinates x of each cell’s “j” center. The numerous realizations are conditional to the same input data values (i.e., core porosity well data and unique coarse resolution seismic AI). Therefore, the high-resolution model AI has to yield the coarser seismic AI after upscaling (i.e., averaging of smaller cells should yield the coarser cell data). The correlation coefficient for two random variables of porosity at locations xi and xj is abbreviated as r(∅j, ∅k). The correlation for the acoustic impedance at those two locations is r(Ij, Ik ), and the correlation between acoustic impedance and porosity is r(Ij, ∅k). This last term is called the cross-correlation and is usually computed from an extension of Eqn. 1, using the cross-covariance instead of the covariance, and using lag distances to represent pairs of variables separated in different cells. Therefore, strictly speaking, cross-covariance is just covariance between two attribute random variables placed at two separated locations, j and k. The cross correlation is related to the cross-covariance as follows: (1) Since the pair-wise covariance for all pairs of cells cannot be known as a priori, geostatistics uses a functional covariance estimated from stationary assumptions in the data. Such a covariance is directly related to variograms. The variogram for the finer resolution shows the low range of variability, and the variogram for the coarse resolution shows the long range of variability only, Fig. 2. Cross-covariance is also represented by functional forms, and the procedures of this type of modeling are described in the literature14. The cokriging and sequential cokriging approaches utilized for downscaling require analytical models of cross-covariance, which are obtained using an ambi-rotational technique generalized from Min/Max Autocorrelation Factors (A-MAF), which is a spatial extension of the Principal Component Analysis (PCA). A numerical example of this approach is available15, and it is suitable for multivariate models with up to two nested variogram structures.

Cokriging is an essential tool to generate co-simulation parameters, and the approach is described in various publications14, 16. Before the advent of sequential kriging, difficulties in inverting large matrices and handling cumbersome unstable systems of equations, to solve full cokriging systems, pushed geostatisticians to consider a simplification termed collocated cokriging4. The result is that collocated cokriging is currently the most widely used approach for data integration, and it is available in commercial software throughout the industry. A characteristic of collocated cokriging is that the weight numbers used to estimate porosity from acoustic impedance become constant. If the acoustic impedance data is standardized (i.e., centered with mean zero and variance one), the collocated ap-

Fig. 2. Nonproportional variogram components for coarse and fine resolution acoustic impedance.



proach for standardized data can be written as: (2) j where wϕ are the sequential kriging weights to update the porosity estimates with data residuals after the acoustic impedance has been projected to the space of porosity. Note that collocated cokriging is formulated here as a stepwise approach to avoid a simultaneous solution7. The collocation allows the use of the correlation coefficient in the weight, and this correlation can be made spatially variable. In addition, the seismic AI data Iβ is not sparse, and therefore represents constant values within thick voxet cells. The geostatistical theory shows that the model is valid if the functional cross-covariance and the individual covariances are proportional (i.e., intrinsic co-regionalization). Practical applications of collocated methods show that the porosity in the collocation behaves as a projection of the acoustic impedance following a linear regression type of model. The end results show that such projections look “blocky,” or resemble the original coarse resolution data, regardless of the detailed grid utilized for the geocellular modeling. If the correlation coefficient is very high, the collocation gives a projected copy of the coarse seismic AI data, which is called secondary input data in the geostatistical theory of cokriging. This problem was observed during the integration of acoustic impedance in the construction of high-resolution models to determine platform placement for offshore drilling using petrophysical properties. The use of a constant correlation may also lead to spurious local correlations between the primary well AI data and the secondary seismic AI. Oz and Deutsch (2002)1 examined the scale dependent correlation theory that was developed2, and concluded that cross correlations for properties (e.g., seismic and well log data) are not independent of the resolution; therefore, the cross correlation cannot be ignored during the integration of data. The artifacts observed in practice may disappear if the correct nonproportional cross-covariance and covariance are utilized with full cokriging estimation of the co-simulation parameters. In this article, analysis and testing suggests that collocated cokriging should not be used for spatial estimation of properties that are at different resolutions. The main reason is that properties at different resolutions have nonproportional variograms. If the properties have proportional variograms, they respond to “intrinsic co-regionalization” in geostatistics14.

tial cokriging uses one data value at a time, and does not reuse already incorporated samples, (not to be confused with kriging within the sequential Gaussian simulation). For example, assume you have high resolution acoustic impedance at many locations and porosity at fewer locations. If you take a single porosity data point ∅∝ and one acoustic impedance data point Iβ at each step of the estimation process, then, the estimated porosity is: (3) i In the first step, sparse acoustic impedance data Iβ is used to estimate porosity at all locations (without using the porosity data). The weight w I,ϕ is used to convert the acoustic impedance to porosity estimates at sample locations, and the weight, w Ij,ϕ is used to convert acoustic impedance into porosity at non-sample locations. The partial result is an estimated porosj ity that does not honor the log data. The weight wϕ,s is then applied to match the log data using the residual of the porosity α data minus the prior estimate, which is ϕ∝-wI,i Iβ. The weights must come from ratios of conditional cross-covariances and conditional variances17. The approach was derived using Bayesian partitions of data sets, and it has been demonstrated that the approach is as numerically exact as full cokriging. The weights for acoustic impedance in sequential cokriging are not constant, as used in the collocated version, Eqn. 2. The advantage of sequential kriging is that it avoids the inversion of matrices or the cumbersome solutions of large systems of equations that were initially proposed in the matrix form of cokriging16.

The seismic AI contains the low-frequency components of heterogeneity; however, the high-frequency components are unknown. To gain information about the high frequency heterogeneity of the rocks, one has to resort to the log AI at the wells. The information in the log AI is equivalent to the convolution of the low-frequency seismic and the high-frequency log component, which is unknown outside the wellbores. Therefore, the high-frequency component should be predicted from the well data at the inter-well locations to gain modeling consistency before further integration of the seismic data into the porosity models, using the high-resolution logs, is performed. The prediction of the high-frequency component can be made in the spatial domain using the sequential kriging and simulation tools described above. If a point set, extracted from the voxet cell centers, is painted with seismic and well log AI data, the observed Pearson correlation in a standard data cross-plot corresponds to the correlation of voxet cell size (blocks), or averages, and the finer resolution log AI. Estimation of properties (e.g., hydrocarbon in place) with upscaling requires correct block averaging of porosity as provided by block cokriging. This is equivalent to estimating blocks using finer resolution data. Moreover, the downscaling problem requires the corresponding enhancement of local variSAUDI ARAMCO JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY WINTER 2011

The simulation operation requires drawing numbers from a parametric conditional cumulative probability distribution at each location. The simulation process uses a random number generator to draw property values from a Gaussian distribution N(m j,s j) of values. The required parameters are the mean m j, and the standard deviation s j at each location, j. These parameters are usually estimated by kriging. The most efficient approach for cokriging estimation of a rock property (e.g., porosity) is called sequential cokriging. Successive or sequen-


ance to match the short-range variograms and/or high-frequency signals. Such high-frequency signals do not exist in seismic AI; therefore, any attempt to predict finer resolution properties will be unrealistic without the addition of the highfrequency component derived from other data. It is well known that block cokriging methods can be used to estimate finer resolution from coarser blocks (voxet cells) of data; however, one has to keep in mind that the original seismic signal information represents “intensity” properties, which belong to a continuous low-frequency signal (not blocky square waves). Therefore, blocking caused by painting seismic into a voxet and the geocellular model is not a strictly continuous representation of the original seismic signals. For instance, if you have seismic data and one single well to construct a porosity model, then a cokriging estimate of points using a continuously sampled signal will look geologically more realistic than the blocky data. Since the point set from seismic does not physically represent blocks or voxet cells, the sampled points of the seismic AI should be treated as a point support low-frequency “component” of the more finely sampled, variable log AI. Additional points from the well log AI locations, where the voxet cell center is not collocated within a reasonable tolerance, should not be taken directly from the seismic AI as data, and they should match the original low-frequency vertical seismic signal. We call this vertical match between the low-frequency seismic at the well locations and in the geocellular model “equalization.” The physical collocation of seismic and log AI generated using collocated cokriging methods will be correct only when the primary and secondary variables have proportional covariance functions. This is equivalent to having proportional spectra in the frequency domain. Proportional spectra can be achieved by signal equalization matching the phase and wavelengths observed in the vertically more detailed synthetic data. The seismic AI only provides realistic information about the low frequencies, as the higher frequencies are aliasing by the low vertical resolution. Therefore, one could sample points that represent the low-frequency signal from the centers of the voxet cells. The assumption made here is that the voxet cell center node contains the average values for each voxet cell. Theoretically, the equalization can be done in the frequency domain by simulating an unconditional high-frequency component. The model AI has to be conditional to the well data; therefore, the high-frequency component is estimated and simulated with geostatistics. The methodology for geostatistical simulation of components is explained in Vargas-Guzm˜ n (2003)7. For practical a purposes, an exhaustive sampling of all centers of the voxet cells in depth or time domains may be enough to merge with the well data. If sequential kriging is utilized, then the higher frequency data is composed of residuals in the well log AI. The simplified workflow for downscaling, Fig. 3, is as follows: Sample A is made-up of all voxet cell center sparse points with seismic AI values and is assumed to be the mean of a ran64

Fig. 3. Seismic acoustic impedance (High=Blue; Low=Red) and the geocellular model (left) and the schematic workflow (right) for the carbonate reservoir example .

dom variable that can be simulated “within” each voxet cell. Sample B is made-up of synthetic wireline acoustic log AI (Ia) data, which is assumed to carry the point support heterogeneity with second order covariance and/or higher order information. Sample A is equalized to sample B by comparing depths, means and vertical variograms. The sample B data should be able to match sample A’s low frequencies and first order parameters. The residual data that corresponds to the high-frequency bandwidth is then filtered out to construct a model for the residuals. The simulation of residuals must be done in such a way that the combination of all the frequencies gives back the probability distributions observed in the log AI from the wells. A practical approach is to use the cross-plots to shift the means and decide on a realistic regionalization based on stratigraphy, facies and rock type regions. Sample B has histograms with mean and variance that are the target of the downscaling process for each rock region, strata and/or rock type. Sample A no longer represents the voxet cells. Instead, it represents a sample set of sparse nodes or points, Iβ , which is one point taken at the center of each seismic AI voxet cell. The assumption here is that the center of mass of each voxet carries, in reality, a data point that coincides with the block average. The successive mathematical formulation to predict the impedance, including the seismic AI and well log AI at each node j, from surrounding data is: (4) α where wIβ is the sequential cokriging weight used to estimate the acoustic impedance from sparse samples (nodes) of seismic j AI, and wIβ is the weight used to estimate the posterior highfrequency residual from log AI (using one data point at a time). The end result is a model of AI that is equalized to the log AI from the wells, and so is better related to any other high-resolution data in the frequency domain. This means that any new wells drilled should provide log AI data that, first, at least on average matches the AI and, second, possibly resembles the higher order heterogeneity predicted from numerous realizations of the model AI. The model AI merges the seismic AI to the high-frequency component extracted from the log AI at surrounding wells utilized for conditioning.

A second order downscaling is performed with stepwise sequential cokriging of the seismic and log AI and simulation using covariances; however, a more advanced approach has been introduced18 that uses cumulants to add the higher order statistical information. Downscaling in practice requires additional information in the geocellular model to guide the spatial estimations and stochastic simulations. The downscaling approach should also consider nonstationary stratigraphic models of rock types and regions constructed using a priori lowfrequency seismic, analogs and/or categorical data. The final result of combining the low- and high-frequency seismic and well AI is a downscaled model AI that can be transformed to the frequency domain. It contains all the frequencies and spectra in the synthetic log AI, and it should yield the coarse resolution voxet after back vertical upscaling. The downscaled acoustic impedance is unique only at the centers of each voxet cell and at the wells. The rest of the domain is simulated, but looks strongly constrained to the seismic because it is using as many samples (centers of voxet cells) as there are in the seismic volume’s zone of interest. Most software packages contain univariate simulation tools to perform modeling by using data sets A and B stepwise without major complications. In addition, the proposed approach considers that adding posterior data on top of the smooth prior can still honor the statistics of the posterior conditioning to the data, Eqn. 3. A word of caution: You cannot assume a priori the independence between the seismic AI and the highfrequency residual from the log AI. If some amount of correlation remains, you may have to remove the redundancy before constructing the high-frequency component.

The integration of downscaled acoustic impedance to porosity logs is straightforward, provided that correlations are consistent. Such consistency is achieved by spatial downscaling and integration. The collocated approach may not produce strong artifacts when both variables (e.g., porosity and acoustic impedance) are at the same high resolution and the specified correlations are locally valid; however, local departures due to nonstationary covariance can cause problems and instability. Therefore, the practical recommendation is to resort to co-simulation with sequential cokriging if non-stationary covariance becomes a problem. Note that Eqns. 2 and 3 provide the difference or information lost by not using sequential cokriging to evaluate the probability distribution parameters for simulation of porosity conditional to the downscaled model AI.

1. The seismic AI is sampled at the centers of the voxet cells as a point set. The seismic AI power spectrum in the vertical direction is compared to a set of validated wells to make sure the low-frequency components are properly equalized to the voxet size, upscaled synthetic well log AI. 2. The low-frequency component (seismic AI) is estimated at all high-resolution cells in the geocellular model following the stratigraphic system of coordinates. Due to the large amount of data in the point set, stochastic simulation was not necessary to generate this low-frequency component. 3. The high-frequency data is constructed at the wells by subtracting the seismic AI model (step 2) from the synthetic log AI. The residuals are treated as conditional components7. The high-frequency component is simulated in the geocellular grid constrained to stratigraphy and rock regions. 4. The high and low AI models are combined and the results are quality controlled. 5. The integration step can be handled in various ways: a. If the variograms of porosity and the model AI are nonproportional, cokriging should be used, which requires the cross-covariance. b. A faster approach is to use the cross-correlation between the model AI and the well porosity data. The model AI is projected in porosity space with the collocated correlation for each rock type and stratigraphic zone, and the residual between the actual well porosity data and the projected porosity component is simulated using a conditional covariance function created from a conditional spectrum. c. If the downscaled seismic AI is highly correlated to the porosity, using collocated co-simulation works well for data at the same resolution. d. In the examples that follow, the authors decided to avoid the use of collocated methods and cross-covariance structures; this allowed a full range of automated vendor software to be used. The model AI (which contains the highfrequency simulated component) was re-sampled following the initial seismic AI point set, and then projected to the porosity space using a linear model. The resulting data was merged with the well log porosity, and a simple stochastic simulation, honoring the statistics of the porosity log conditional to the merged data, was applied using the statistical parameters of the log porosity as the cell size support. The clastic reservoir example includes prior knowledge of the permeability from the coarse resolution flow simulation models.
Carbonate Reservoir Example

Workflow Followed in the Studies

The steps used in the downscaling and integration workflow are summarized:

This carbonate case study is from the middle Jurassic Lower Fadhili formation. The target reservoir is strongly affected by diagenesis on one of the flanks of a structural anticline. This reservoir heterogeneity is critical for the optimal placement of water injector wells, used to maintain the reservoir pressure. In addition, the reservoir rocks follow a complex progradation depositional sequence. The rocks are permeable grainstones,


Fig. 4. Coarse initial (left) and higher resolution (right) acoustic impedance models for the carbonate reservoir (High=Blue; Low=Red).

Fig. 6. Coarse (left) and downscaled (center) acoustic impedance models (High=Blue; Low=Red) and a porosity model (right) for the carbonate reservoir (High=Reddish/Yellow).

passing to wakestones and mudstones towards the south. The overall trends of the rocks can be seen in the seismic attributes. The reservoir coarsens upwards to the north and becomes fine textured towards the south. Dolomitization and other diagenetic effects have caused the reservoir to become less permeable on the flanks. The formation facies vary from peloidal skeletal mudstones to packstones. Variography was performed and the direction of anisotropy (i.e., trend) of the carbonate platform bodies was identified following a general 120° azimuth. The extensive variability of the reservoir rocks and the diagenetic effects required a careful nonstationary model. The seismic AI data was incorporated to handle this otherwise unpredictable heterogeneity. A seismic AI volume is of fairly low resolution, Fig. 3. The objective of the study was to improve the high-resolution spatial model distribution of porosity by integrating the negatively correlated seismic AI. Downscaling and integration were applied after the sampled point set (as previously explained) was combined with the synthetic log AI from the wells. Figure 4 shows the downscaled acoustic impedance. The initial porosity model without the seismic acoustic impedance data is too continuous laterally, and could not represent the diagenesis effect. The downscaling prior to integration methodology allowed for a more realistic porosity model to be generated. A secondary trend is extracted at the crest of the anticline from the acoustic impedance. This trend cannot be explained by carbonate deposition, but may be due to deterioration of the rock quality at the flanks of the anticline due to diagenesis, Fig. 5. Figure 6 shows examples of the coarse and fine resolution acoustic impedance followed by the porosity model from the integration of data. The results were checked to ensure the data was properly matching the spatial location and first and second order parameters. In addition, history matching was performed (not shown here) in which the contribution of the integration of data was absolutely necessary.

Clastic Reservoir Example

In the second example, an offshore clastic reservoir model was initially constructed conditional to hundreds of wells. The rocks consist of a thicker main sand zone overlain by sandstone stringers intercalated with shales. Intermediate rock qualities are shaley sands and sandy shales, which are part of fining upward sequences in tidal and distributary channels. The main sand is made up of staked fining upward sands. Some coarsening upward features appear as isolated sand bars. The challenge in this reservoir is to develop production in the upper stringer sands, which are less likely to be intercepted by vertical wells. The development strategy is therefore to drill deviated wells to intersect the sand stringers, then plug back and drill a horizontal production section along the stringers, with completion at MRC. Additional production drilling required the placement of platforms selected from the global reservoir model. The initial areal resolution of cells was 125 x 125 m2, and the vertical resolution was approximately 2 ft on average. The goal was to construct a detailed reservoir model with a 50 x 50 m2 cell size. The model should contain the same heterogeneities as in the prior coarser well only model, including faults and stratigraphy. The initial efforts showed that downscaling using collocated techniques was disappointing; the final model showed blocky artifacts (i.e., too similar properties in neighboring cells) conforming to the coarse voxet and ignoring the new higher resolution grid. One of the reasons for the artifacts was that the correlation between the prior and the posterior models had to be kept significant (as shown in the data) to assure that the flux boundary conditions from the coarser resolution model, to be applied during dynamic forecast, would still be valid for the downscaled versions of the model. After the construction of high-resolution grids, the rock properties were downscaled from the original coarse resolution

Fig. 5. Coarse (left) and downscaled (center) acoustic impedance models, and a high resolution (right) porosity models (High=Reddish) for the carbonate reservoir.



model with additional new wells already existing at the platform. The end results for the sector static models, including the new, successfully completed wells, are shown in Fig. 1. The statistics of the variability (i.e., moments) of heterogeneity show valid results, which are consistent with the second order expectances. These models are being used to place new wells after the flow simulations provided a positive match and the expected flow rates without water encroachment.

correlation Between Multiple Variables,” Natural Resources Research, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2002, pp. 1-18. 2. Vargas-Guzmán, J.A., Warrick, A.W. and Myers, D.E.: “Multivariate Correlation in the Framework of Support and Spatial Scales of Variability,” Mathematical Geology, Vol. 31, No. 1, January 1999, pp. 85-103. 3. Wang, J. and Dou, Q.: “Integration of 3D Seismic Attributes into Stochastic Reservoir Models Using Iterative Vertical Resolution Modeling Methodology,” SPE paper 132654, presented at the SPE Western Regional Meeting, Anaheim, California, May 27-29, 2010. 4. Xu, W., Tran, T.T., Srivastava, R.M. and Journel, A.G.: “Integrating Seismic Data in Reservoir Modeling: The Collocated Cokriging Alternative,” SPE paper 24742, presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Washington, D.C., October 4-7, 1992. 5. Dubrule, O.: Geostatistics for Seismic Data Integration in Earth Models, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Society of Exploration Geophysicist, 2003. 6. Chiles, J.P. and Delfiner, P.: Geostatistics: Modeling Spatial Uncertainty, New York: Wiley and Sons Inter-science, 1999. 7. Vargas-Guzmán, J.A., 2003. Conditional Component Random Fields, Stochastic Hydrology and Hydraulics, Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, Vol. 17, 2003, pp. 260-271. 8. González, E.F., Mukerji, T. and Mavko, G.: “Seismic Inversion Combining Rock Physics and Multiple Point Geostatistics,” Geophysics, Vol. 73, No. 1, JanuaryFebruary 2008, pp. 11-21. 9. Tran, T., Deutsch, C.V. and Xie, Y.: “Direct Geostatistical Simulation with Multiscale Well, Seismic and Production Data,” SPE paper 71323, presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, September 30 - October 3, 2001. 10. Close, D., Stirling, S., Cho, D. and Horn, F.: “Tight Gas Geophysics: AVO Inversion for Reservoir Characterization,” CSEG Recorder, May 2010, pp. 29-35. 11. Bosch, M., Mukerji, T. and Gonzalez, E.F.: “Seismic Inversion for Reservoir Properties Combining Statistical Rock Physics and Geostatistics: A Review,” Geophysics, Vol. 75, No. 5, September - October 2010, pp. 165-176. 12. Vargas-Guzmán, J.A., Myers, D.E. and Warrick, A.W.: “Derivatives of Spatial Variances of Growing Windows and the Variogram,” Mathematical Geology, Vol. 32, No. 7, 2000, pp. 851-871. 13. Ren, W., Mclennan, J.A., Cunha, L.B. and Deutsch, C.V.: “An Exact Downscaling Methodology in Presence of Heterogeneity: Application to the Athabasca Oil Sands,” SPE paper 97874, presented at the SPE International Thermal Operations and Heavy Oil Symposium. Calgary, Alberta, Canada, November 1-3, 2005.

The methodology for the integration of seismic AI data into porosity models has been revisited with a proposal to generate a model AI that combines the low-frequency seismic AI with a predicted high-frequency well AI. Since seismic AI contains only the low-frequency components (i.e., within the seismic bandwidth), the high-frequency components have been extracted from the synthetic well log AI as residuals, or the difference between the seismic AI and the log AI, after careful depth matching. The log AI predicted at inter-well locations is equivalent to the convolution of the seismic AI and the high frequency unknown geologic component. Predictions of the higher frequency AI may not have significant correlations with the seismic in practice, but they were performed incorporating the known stratigraphy, facies and/or rock regions to create a nonstationary model AI. The search for a different integration method is motivated by some of the current drawbacks in traditional downscaling with collocated cokriging, mainly the spurious correlations that may occur between collocated seismic AI and log AI. The correlations may be spurious in areas where the seismic AI values are less representative of the true geology due to a low signal-to-noise ratio. Non-stationarity issues also encouraged searching for better ways to downscale seismic AI. Downscaling with signal equalization is implemented in the frequency domain, and conditioning to the wells leads to geostatistical estimates of the high-frequency component in the final spatial model. An advantage of using the approach outlined here is that it does not require solving systems of equations and resolving the stability complications found in full cokriging. Therefore, the proposed parameter estimation via sequential cokriging for stochastic simulation is a practical tool for downscaling and integration of seismic attributes into geocellular models.

The thoughtful review of Saudi Aramco and SPE colleagues is deeply appreciated. The authors would like to thank Saudi Aramco management for granting permission to publish this article. This article was presented at the SPE Reservoir Characterization and Simulation Conference and Exhibition, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., October 9-11, 2011.

1. Oz, B. and Deutsch, C.V.: “Size Scaling of Cross-


14. Wackernagel, H.: Multivariate Geostatistics, New York, Springer, 2003, p. 387. 15. Vargas-Guzmán, J.A.: “Fast Modeling of Crosscovariances in the LMC: A Tool for Data Integration,” Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, Vol. 18, No. 2, April 2004, pp. 91-99. 16. Myers, D.E.: “Matrix Formulation of Cokriging,” Mathematical Geology, Vol. 14, No. 3, 1982, pp. 249-257. 17. Vargas-Guzmán, J.A. and Yeh J.: “Sequential Kriging and Cokriging: Two Powerful Approaches,” Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, Vol. 13, Issue 6, 1999, pp. 416-435. 18. Vargas-Guzmán, J.A.: “Higher-order Spatial Estimation and Stochastic Simulation of Continuous Properties with Cumulants and Higher-order non-Gaussian Distributions,” Geostats 2008, VIII International Geostatistics Congress, Santiago, Chile, December 1-5, 2008.

William L. (Bill) Weibel is a Geophysicist with more than 30 years of oil industry experience, the last 10 years being with the Reservoir Characterization Department (RCD) of Saudi Aramco’s Exploration organization. Since joining Saudi Aramco in 2000, he has contributed seismic interpretations that have defined the structure and provided reservoir quality estimation of several fields, including Berri, Qatif, Abu Sa’fah, Dammam, Khursaniyah, Hawtah, Manifa and Shaybah. He has authored and coauthored two technical papers for conferences held by the European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE) and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). In 1981, Bill received his M.S. degree from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Idam Mustika joined Saudi Aramco in 2008 as a Geologist Geomodeler in the Reservoir Characterization Department, Geological Modeling Division, and has been a geological modeler at the Event Solution also. He has modeled numerous gigantic reservoirs and worked in various seismic integration projects, improving models for history matching. Before joining Saudi Aramco, Idam worked for Schlumberger, YPF, Maxus, Repsol CNOOC SES and Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd as a Geomodeler and Development Geologist, residing in various countries. In 2000, Idam received his B.S. degree in Geology from Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia. Qadria Al-Anbar is a Geological Consultant working with the Geological Modeling Division. Since joining Saudi Aramco in June 1980, she has worked in several different divisions, including the Exploration Division, Reservoir Geology Division, Hydrology Division, Biostratigraphy Division and Northern Reservoir Geology Division. Qadria is the second female Geologist in Saudi Aramco and the first one to work in building 3D geological models. Her work has had a big impact on development plans for oil fields and the increase of natural reserves. In 2002, Qadria received the 1st Annual Technical Achievement Award as a member of the Geological Modeling Group for her major role in facilitating the considerable reserves increase. She received her B.S. degree in Geology from Damascus University, Damascus, Syria.

Dr. Jose Antonio Vargas-Guzmán joined Saudi Aramco in 2002 and works as a Consultant with the Reservoir Characterization Department, Geological Modeling Division. During his career, he has been involved in mathematical applications to 3D geological modeling and evaluation, and he is the senior author of many journal papers, book reviews and book chapters; he and has received numerous literature citations. The International Association for Mathematical Geology (IAMG) conferred on him the Best Paper Award from the Mathematical Geology journal for his peer-reviewed paper on successive estimation of spatial conditional distributions in 2003. The IAMG also bestowed on him the Best Reviewer Award from the Journal of Mathematical Geosciences in 2007. Jose Antonio is a former Fulbright and DAAD Scholar. In 1998, he received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, where he has also served as a research associate, instructor and full time faculty member. He was granted a graduate scholarship and a post-doctoral fellowship with funding provided by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE), respectively. Also, he was a research fellow in advanced geostatistics at the University of Queensland, Australia. In the 1980s, he served as a Chief Geologist for Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). Jose Antonio’s most outstanding inventions are 3D geological modeling algorithms, such as sequential-kriging, stochastic simulation by successive residuals, conditional decompositions, transitive modeling of facies, spatial up-scaling of the lognormal distribution, downscaling methods for seismic data with derivatives of the variogram, scale effect of principal component analysis, power random fields, and cumulants for higher-order spatial statistics of complex rock systems and heavy tailed distributions of permeability fields.



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