Borehole Geophysics A little bit on rock physics

The aim of logging (including acoustics) is to determine subsurface properties of the rocks/sediments. However, acoustic logs themselves are a poor indicator of lithology itself, if not combined with other logs (density, porosity, resistivity). The reason for this is that most lithologies have a large natural range in acoustic velocities with significant areas of overlap between the dominant types encountered in reservoir rocks (sandstone, carbonate, shale). However, the by far largest effects on acoustic velocity are from the changes in the porefluid filling, i.e. brine, gas, gas hydrates, or oil. The theory that combines elastic properties of the rock matrix and pore fluid filling is known as rock-physics modeling. Since the early 1950ies, with the onset of the increasing hydrocarbon industry, several theories have been brought forward to predict acoustic reservoir velocities and how they change under different in situ conditions. Going through these rock-physics models is beyond the scope of this work, and only a few are explained and introduced.

EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (

Slide S3-1

Borehole Geophysics A short historic overview
The probably most famous model in reservoir rock physics is the Gassmann (1951) equation, which is still used today (or with various types of modifications). Because of the many assumptions involved, the Gassmann theory is effectively a 0-Hz, fully elastic, isotropic theory. It does not predict attenuation or involves any interaction of the pore-fluid with the rock matrix. To overcome this problem in the Gassmann theory, another set of equations was introduced by Biot (1952, 1961). This theory allows for attenuation and wave dispersion, but cannot fully predict the magnitude of field observations. A further development was achieved by the introduction of the squirt-flow (local flow) theory by Mavko and Nur (1975) to accommodate pore-scale flow and compressibility heterogeneities. This theory is able to handle partial pore-fluid filling, especially in the presence of some free gas. The Biot and squirt-flow theory was unified by Dvorkin et al. (1993), known as the BISQ model. Another type of approach is achieved using effective medium modeling (Dvorkin and Nur, 1993). This theory treats rocks as a pack of spheres (i.e. grains) and includes various types of interactions between pore-fluid filling and grains. The effective bulk and shear modulus are then derived as a mixture of the various mineral constituents weighted by their volume fractions. The effective medium theory is especially attractive to rocks that may include cementation effects (e.g. in case of gas hydrates or in carbonates). None of these theories deals with anisotropy, fractures, and the effects of shale (clay)!
EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel ( Slide S3-2

the dry rockframe (Kd). EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.Borehole Geophysics The Gassmann equation … Gassmann (1951) derived an equation to calculate the effective bulk modulus (K*) of a fluidsaturated porous medium using the known bulk moduli of the solid rock matrix (Km). ⎞ ⎛1 − K d ⎜ Km ⎟ ⎠ ⎝ * K = Kd + φ 1−φ Kd + − 2 Kf Km Km 2 (EQ 3-1) The effective shear modulus is not altered by the presence of any pore-fluid. and the pore fluid (Kf). so that it is equal to the dry-frame modulus: G * = Gd (EQ 3-2) The density of a fluid saturated rock is simply (as we saw in the 1st lecture) ρ * = ρd + φ ⋅ ρ f (EQ 3-3) The dry-frame and rock matrix moduli and pore-fluid modulus are simply derived from laboratory measurements or empirical Slide S3-3 .mcgill.

(3) The pores are filled with a frictionless . (2) All pores are interconnected or communicating (c). known as the Backus-average. Slide S3-4 That’s a problem for heavy oil! (b) (c) EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. The same averaging technique was also used to predict anisotropic rock properties of fractured media. saturated. (6) The pore fluid does not interact with the matrix in a way to either soften or harden the frame (c). (4) The rock-fluid system is closed (undrained). (a) To overcome the isotropic limitation. A cement can also effectively seal a reservoir. The effect of a cement on the frame-modulus can be incorporated in the effective medium theory (see gas hydrate examples later). Backus (1962) derived an averaging method for long-wavelength in horizontally finely layered elastic media.Borehole Geophysics The Gassmann equation … The basic assumptions in the Gassmann equation are as follows: (1) The porous medium is macroscopically homogenous and isotropic (a). (5) The relative motion between matrix and fluid is negligible (b). The relative motion between fluid and rock is the basis of the Squirt-flow theory. and partially saturated media.mcgill. The Backus-average was later extended to include attenuation effects.

EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel ( Slide S3-5 .mcgill. and how we can exploit these dependencies in interpretation of acoustic log data.Borehole Geophysics In the following we will learn more about various factors than can change acoustic velocity. Qs) At the end we will have a more closer look into gas hydrates. • • • • • • Lithology: mud-rock line Porosity Pressure Saturation Temperature (oil) Attenuation (Qp.

mcgill. so that velocity logs alone are difficult to use in differentiating lithology. 1985).. i. defining the so-called mud-rock line (Castagna et Slide S3-6 . Hearst et al. However.e. from brine to gas/oil). page 268 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. an important advance in the use of acoustic logs came with the use of cross-plots. It is found that the Vp/Vs ratio is systematically increasing with slowness.g. Source: “Well logging for physical properties”.. mainly plots of Vp versus Vs.Borehole Geophysics Effect of lithology – the mud-rock line Acoustic velocity is NOT a very strong function of lithology.2000. a change in the pore-fluid filling (e. Departures from the linear trend are attributed to effects of saturation.

and S-wave velocity. matrix (Vma) and pore-fluid (Vf) velocity to the effective bulk-rock velocity (Vb) was suggested by Wyllie et al (1956. So.Borehole Geophysics Effect of porosity The last image of P. From simple observations of hand specimens one can see that the igneous rocks Basalt and Granite are much more dense and less porous than the sedimentary rocks Shale and sandstone. 1958): 1 φ 1−φ = + Vb V f Vma This equation is often only called the time-average equation. shale fractions. obtain porosity and then various empirical corrections are applied to the result to account for e.mcgill. Gassmann’s equation is also applied to the result to carry out a fluid-substitution to define the type and amount of pore-fluid saturation.g. A famous equation that relates porosity (φ). (EQ 3-4) Equation (3-4) is the most commonly used equation in acoustic logging to e. rocks such as Basalt or Granite have a much higher velocity (P and S) than shale or sandstone. a reduction in porosity increases P. we already saw that the mud-rock line has a porosityeffect Slide S3-7 . in simple terms.versus S-wave velocity. EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. E.g.

(1980) introduced a modification.. higher porosities). but it uses bulk density rather than porosity.25 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. Therefore Raymer et al.Borehole Geophysics Effect of porosity However.g. This equation is referred to as Gardner-relationship (Gardner et (EQ 3-7) Slide S3-8 . 1980) ρb = 0. or travel time (Δt): Δt = (1-φ)2Δtma + φ Δtf (EQ 3-6) Another type of equation is useful in the analyses of acoustic velocity logs.mcgill. A different approach was carried out by Geertsma (1961) who showed that for small (<30%) porosities it may be better to use the following type of relationship: Vp = A + Bφ (EQ 3-5) Here A and B are chosen empirically and it can also be shown that Wyllie’s equation is incorporated in Geertsma’s approach (with the right choice of A and B). but density and porosity are related in a simple fashion as we already saw before many times. the Raymer-Hunt equation is given in terms of inverse-velocity. For almost the same range in porosities. The main problem with Wyllie’s time-average equation is that it overestimates P-wave velocity for higher porosities. Often these conditions are ignored or modifications are applied to make the theory work again for different conditions (e.23 Vp0. the use of the Wyllie equation is technically restricted to porosities below 35% and fullysaturated sediments.

.ca) Slide S3-9 . high porosity sediments? One approach is to introduce a weighted time-average equation. Although.g. such as Lee et al. Those empirical functions (e. (1996) combining various theories or simply just go with your own empirical function. But what to do if we have unconsolidated.Borehole Geophysics Effect of porosity All the above examples are commonly used in commercial reservoir rocks. They should not be extrapolated too far away from the geological/regional source environment from which the data originally were acquired.mcgill. if desperate – some researchers are still forced to do so … but all you need to do is find an excuse for doing such a thing and state the limitations and expected uncertainties … ☺ Source: Yuan et al. which typically do not have porosities above 35%. like the one on the right) are derived by cross-plotting log and/or core data and thus serve a local range only. 1996 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.

ca) Source: Wyllie et al.. In all scenarios tested. beyond which velocity does not increase with pressure any longer.e. minimum porosity) Source: Schmitt.mcgill.Pp). The driving factor is then the differential pressure between confining pressure (e. 2004 Simplified diagram illustrating effects of confining pressure (Pc) on a rock sample for scenarios involving porepressure Pp=0 (red curve) and various differential pressures (ΔP = Pc . velocity goes up significantly until a saturation level is achieved. 1958 Slide S3-10 . local pore-pressures can alter the effect significantly. (1958) where a dry Berea sandstone is subject to various types of confining pressure. However. The left image shows some data from Wyllie et al.Borehole Geophysics Effect of pressure – compaction and porosity reduction An increase in pressure increases velocity. the weight of the overburden) and pore-pressure. EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.g. The maximum compaction for the matrix is achieved at that level (i.

The change is especially pronounced at higher porosities above 30%. acoustic velocity varies little with lithology. A change from water (brine) as pore-fluid to oil and/or gas drastically reduced the Vp/Vs velocity ratio as shown in the figure on the Slide S3-11 . but changes in pore-fluid filling have pronounced effects and are exploited in the hydrocarbon industry.mcgill. sandstone) to gas/oil results in a characteristic response in logging and seismic imaging (e.g. 1993 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. bright spot).Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/oil/gas As outlined before.. Source: Murphy et al. The replacement of brine in a reservoir rock (e. Those responses are summarized in the term Direct Hydrocarbon Indicator (or DHI).g.

The diagram to the right is a simplification of the trend for various types of oil as function of specific gravity (API units) and mass density.Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/oil The problem with oil is multifold: one has to differentiate the effects of pressure (confining and pore).ca) Slide S3-12 . density and type of the oil in place as well as the local temperature at the reservoir. The higher the API gravity.05 g/cm3).mcgill. 2004 Higher temperatures reduce the velocity of oil.8 g/cm3 for light oil. and can be as low as 0. the lower the density and velocity! Source: Schmitt 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. it also profoundly changes its viscosity by many orders of magnitude! The density of oil can vary from values just above water/brine density for bitumen (1. Source: Schmitt.

ca) Slide S3-13 .mcgill. 1992 DHI EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. Source: Clark.Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/oil The image below shows an example of a DHI (bright spot) on a seismic section due to the presence of oil in a sand formation of Pleistocene age in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of around 4000 ft (1200 m). The small circle on the top axis indicates the location of the test well.

ca) Slide S3-14 . The right-most log is acoustic velocity (in units of μs/ft. the four oil-bearing zones and one water-filled zone are colored in as black areas on the resistivity log (middle panel).Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/oil 180 100 ? ? The image to the left shows the well-logs acquired through the anomalous zone seen on the seismic data as DHI. Note that the velocity reduction is coincident to increases in electrical resistivity especially for the lower-most two oil-bearing zones. but overall the expected reduction in velocity is evident in the oil-rich zones. 1992 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. For reference. Source: Clark.mcgill. The correlation is not perfect all the time. a deflection of the log to the left is equivalent to a reduction in velocity).

Source: Schmitt. even if only 1% of the pore-space is filled with free gas. most of the effect happens for the range of 0-10% of free gas. for higher saturations. except for a slight increase due to the reduction in effective density. 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. The S-wave velocity is unchanged by free gas (gas cannot transmit S-motion!) and the slight increase seen is again the effect of density reduction. Gas reduces velocity drastically.Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/gas The effect of free gas on acoustic velocity is extremely pronounced.mcgill. no further change is seen. Slide S3-15 .

ca) Slide S3-16 . 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. The vertical axis is two-way travel time (TWT) in milliseconds. 1 well. The DHI at 4 s TWT corresponds to a depth of ~12. blue peaks indicate an increase.mcgill.000 ft (~3600 m).Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/gas Seismic line over “King Kong” Field. The formation of interest is a Tertiary sand in the deep-water of the Gulf of Mexico. Source: O’Brien. which ties the Conoco Green Canyon Block 473 No. Yellow/red troughs indicate a decrease in acoustic impedance.

but Vp and density are not reduced in the brinesaturated sand. Compare the response in the gas-rich zone (paysand) with the wet-sand at the top. Note the pronounced reduction in P-wave velocity and density due to the presence of free gas. Accordingly electrical resistivity in Slide S3-17 .mcgill.Borehole Geophysics Effect of saturation – water/gas Example of well-logs acquired through the anomalous zone seen on the seismic section. Source: O’Brien. 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. The lithology indicator log (gamma ray) is reduced in both cases indicating the presence of reservoir sand.

described by either Q (Quality factor) or α – attenuation coefficient.] EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.Borehole Geophysics Attenuation – Q/α Throughout the lecture so far we have mentioned non-elastic behavior of materials.mcgill. Those nonelastic effects can be summarized by a new intrinsic property: attenuation. a low value of α means low attenuation. A different definition of attenuation is given by the loss of energy (ΔE) relative to the total energy (E) per unit wavelength: (EQ 3-10) 2π·Q-1 = ΔE / E [A low value of Q means high attenuation. The amount of energy lost is described by Q or α. The energy that is stored in a seismic waveform is partially lost if the seismic wave travels through a “lossy” medium (also called visco-elastic material).ca) Slide S3-18 . The attenuation coefficient α is related to the seismic velocity (V) and seismic frequency (f) as follows: α=πf/QV (EQ 3-8) where Q (quality-factor) is defined as: (EQ 3-9) Q-1 = 2 α λ with λ as wavelength.

Since attenuation is mainly an effect of losses occurred in the pore-space by differential motion between rock-frame and pore-fluid (squirt-flow). it is simple to understand that attenuation is reduced when porosity is reduced.. Slide S3-19 .Borehole Geophysics Attenuation – Q/α In general attenuation decreases with increasing applied pressure. 2001. et al. One pronounced effect of free gas on seismic data is a complete wash-out. EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.mcgill. Partial saturation (less than 100% of one type of pore-fluid) increases attenuation since there is more “room” for partial motion of the pore-fluid relative to the rock-frame work.

and attenuation (Q). porosity. pressure (P) (confining. Borehole damage Source: Schmitt.Borehole Geophysics Summary matrix of effects of Temperature (T). density. alternatively a red arrow up indicates an increase in the property with an increase in condition. Blue arrows down indicate a reduction of the property with an increase in conditions.mcgill. 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. pore-pressure) and saturation (Sg) on seismic Slide S3-20 .

. as shown on the image below Source: Dai et al. Source: Dai et al. 2004 Observations from various fields show that gas hydrate mainly forms as a supporting matrix-grain (scenario 3). as shown in the image on the left. the effective medium theory can incorporate the effects of cement and grains. In the case of gas Slide S3-21 .Borehole Geophysics Gas hydrates: higher VP and VS with hydrates As described before. 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. The effective seismic velocities vary strongly depending on which formation scenario is used.. the hydrocarbon (=gas hydrate) can form in various ways.mcgill.

and Swave velocities in the hydrate bearing zone at 60 – 100 meter below Slide S3-22 . IODP Site U1326.Borehole Geophysics Gas hydrates: higher VP and VS with hydrates Example of logs acquired from offshore Vancouver Island.mcgill. EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. Resistivity is also increased in these zones. Note the high P.

and Slide S3-23 . B. Note the distinct increase of velocity in the hydrate-bearing zones A. Shown are also density log and calculated reflection coefficient (RC).. EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.mcgill. 2006). the time-depth conversion and synthetic and real seismic data (From Bellefleur et al.Borehole Geophysics Gas hydrates: higher VP and VS with hydrates Example of logs acquired from The Mallik gas hydrate field.

NWT. Mackenzie delta. The example below is from the Mallik well site. Hydrate zones Source: Guerin and Goldberg. 2001 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel ( Slide S3-24 .Borehole Geophysics Attenuation in gas hydrate bearing sediments is higher! Acoustic Well-logs with full waveform show a pronounced decrease of wave amplitude in hydrate-bearing zones.mcgill.

ca) Slide S3-25 . Each time the impedance changes. Acoustic impedance is the product of density and velocity.mcgill. AVO-theory (EPSC-551-Seismic data processing) EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. Vertical incidence: Reflection coefficient is function of impedances only.Borehole Geophysics What else can an acoustic log be used for? Impedance inversion! Seismic data are technically speaking an image of sub-surface impedance contrasts. Oblique incidence: Zoeppritz equations govern reflection coefficients. seismic data get reflected from such an interface and the strength of the reflected wave is a direct function of the impedance contrast.

mcgill. 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps. The inversion first calibrates the regional seismic response (on scales > 10 m) at the well-location before extrapolating away from the borehole.Borehole Geophysics Acoustic logging and Impedance inversion Impedance inversion tries to get a more regional estimate of physical properties that were acquired at one (or more0 well-locations from logging.. Source: Slide S3-26 .

2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel (mriedel@eps.mcgill.Borehole Geophysics Acoustic logging and Impedance inversion Careful calibration is achieved by matching the synthetic seismogram (calculated from density and velocity and wavelet estimate) to the regional seismic data at the Slide S3-27 .. Source: Riedel.

Source: Riedel. which allows extraction of velocity values at all locations of the section/3D cube.mcgill.. 2004 EPS-550 / Winter-2008 – Professor Michael Riedel ( Slide S3-28 .Borehole Geophysics Acoustic logging and Impedance inversion The inversion then calculates a regional impedance response for all seismic traces along a section or 3D cube. It can be used for volume calculations of the hydrocarbon in place (but this still requires equal regional estimates of porosity).

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