Compare the merits

Vertical Wave Testing: Part 2

Vertical wave testing is done by deploying seismic receivers downhole and recording the downgoing wavelet generated by each energy source being considered for surface seismic data acquisition across the area local to the receiver well.

The objectives of a vertical wave test are to determine the frequency bandwidth of the downgoing wavelet that illuminates subsurface geology, and to observe how the energy and frequency content of that wavelet diminishes as the wavelet propagates through stratigraphic intervals that need to be imaged with surface-based seismic data.

Vertical wave testing is a rigorous technique that allows geophysicists to decide which seismic source is optimal for imaging specific sub-surface geology.

One limitation is that the data provide information that helps only in selecting the seismic source that will be used across a prospect. The technique does not provide information that helps in designing surface-based receiver arrays. Horizontal wave testing, described in last month’s Geophysical Corner, has to be done to determine appropriate surface-receiver array dimensions.


The source-receiver geometry used for vertical wave testing is identical to that used for vertical seismic profiling. A downhole receiver is positioned at selected depths by wireline, and the surface sources that are to be tested are stationed at selected distances from the wellhead (figure 1).

The downgoing wavelet generated by each source option proposed for use across a prospect should be recorded at depth intervals of 600 to 1,200 feet (200 to 400 meters), starting close to the Earth’s surface and extending to the deepest interval of interest.

A vertical wave test can compare different sources, such as explosives, weight droppers and vibrators, or it can evaluate the relative merits of only one type of source, say a vibrator, when that source is operated under different conditions. In either type of wave test, the objective is to determine what source, operated in what manner, will generate a downgoing illumination wavelet that detects geology with a targeted thickness at a specified depth.

An example of wave-test data comparing vibrator-source wavelets against explosive-source wavelets is illustrated as figure 2.

In this source test, wavelets generated by a 40,000-pound vibrator are compared against wavelets produced by small 10-ounce (280-gram) directional charges buried at a depth of 10 feet (3 meters). At this prospect, both source options create high-frequency wavelets, and either source would provide the desired illumination of the targeted geology.

The small directional-charge source option was selected for acquiring 3-D seismic data across this prospect because a significant part of the survey area was covered by dense timber that made vibrator operations difficult and expensive (due to timber clearing). However, small drill rigs could wend through the trees and drill shallow holes for deploying explosives without the necessity of clearing any timber for vehicle movement, resulting in more affordable data acquisition.


The frequency content of the explosive-source and vibrator-source test data is exhibited as figure 3. The frequency spectrum of the explosive-source wavelet measured at a depth of 2,000 feet (600 meters) extends to 200 Hz – and at a depth of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) there is still appreciable energy at frequencies as high as 180 Hz (figure 3a).

The vibrator sweep of 6 to 160 Hz results in a frequency spectrum that exhibits an abrupt onset of energy near 8 Hz and an abrupt energy decrease at 160 Hz at all receiver depths (figure 3b).

These data supported the decision to use small directional explosives as the seismic source at this prospect. To increase the signal-to-noise ratio of the surface-recorded data, three shot holes, each having a 10-ounce (280-gram) directional charge, were shot simultaneously to increase the amplitude of the downgoing wavelet.


Results from a second vertical wave test at a different prospect are illustrated on figure 4. At this prospect there were numerous buried data communication cables (some of them connected to intercontinental missile silos!).

Because of these buried cables, the option of drilling shot holes for explosive charges could not be allowed; the source had to be vibrators. Consequently, the objective of this wave test was to determine what vibrator sweep parameters would create a robust wavelet at a depth of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) that had frequencies up to – and we hope above – 100 Hz.

As illustrated by the frequency spectra of the recorded vibrator wavelets, a non-linear sweep rate of 3 dB/octave produced a greater amount of energy above 100 Hz than did a linear sweep rate. With these test data, a decision to operate vibrators using a 10 – 120 Hz, 3 dB/octave sweep was made with confidence.

Good quality data were acquired; no buried communication cables were damaged as the production data were recorded; no missiles were launched.


The message: Always execute a vertical wave test if there is any desire to compare the relative merits of seismic sources – and if a well is available for depth deployment of receivers.

Comments (0)

 

Geophysical Corner

The Geophysical Corner is a regular column in the EXPLORER that features geophysical case studies, techniques and application to the petroleum industry.

VIEW COLUMN ARCHIVES

Image Gallery

Part 2 of 2

This month’s column is the second of a two-part series that started in December, dealing with seismic wave tests – vertical wave testing.

See Also: Book

Desktop /Portals/0/images/_site/AAPG-newlogo-vertical-morepadding.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 4459 Book

See Also: Bulletin Article

Analog outcrops are commonly used to develop predictive reservoir models and provide quantitative parameters that describe the architecture and facies distribution of sedimentary deposits at a subseismic scale, all of which aids exploration and production strategies. The focus of this study is to create a detailed geological model that contains realistic reservoir parameters and to apply nonlinear acoustic full-waveform prestack seismic inversion to this model to investigate whether this information can be recovered and to examine which geological features can be resolved by this process.

Outcrop data from the fluviodeltaic sequence of the Book Cliffs (Utah) are used for the geological and petrophysical two-dimensional model. Eight depositional environments are populated with average petrophysical reservoir properties adopted from a North Sea field. These units are termed lithotypes here. Synthetic acoustic prestack seismic data are then generated with the help of an algorithm that includes all internal multiples and transmission effects. A nonlinear acoustic full-waveform inversion is then applied to the synthetic data, and two media parameters, compressibility (inversely related to the square of the compressional wave velocity vP) and bulk density, ρ, are recovered at a resolution higher than the shortest wavelength in the data. This is possible because the inversion exploits the nonlinear nature of the relationship between the recorded data and the medium contrast properties. In conventional linear inversion, these details remain masked by the noise caused by the nonlinear effects in the data. Random noise added to the data is rejected by the nonlinear inversion, contributing to improved spatial resolution. The results show that the eight lithotypes can be successfully recovered at a subseismic scale and with a low degree of processing artifacts. This technique can provide a useful basis for more accurate reservoir modeling and field development planning, allowing targeting of smaller reservoir units such as distributary channels and lower shoreface sands.

Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/acoustic-nonlinear-full-waveform-inversion-book-cliffs-utah.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 3253 Bulletin Article

See Also: CD DVD

Desktop /Portals/0/images/_site/AAPG-newlogo-vertical-morepadding.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 4018 CD-DVD

See Also: Field Seminar

The attendee will gain a working knowledge concerning how faults and fractures develop and their terminology, methodologies utilized in collecting and analyzing fracture data, characteristics of faults and fractures that affect the sedimentary units (including black shales) in the northern Appalachian Basin of New York state, and tectonics that led to the formation of the structures in the northern Appalachian Basin and the adjacent Appalachian Orogen.

Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/fs-northern-appalachian-basin-faults-fractures-and-tectonics-and-their-effects-on-the-utica-geneseo-and-marcellus-black-shales.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 147 Field Seminar

See Also: ICE

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists invite you to join us for the AAPG/SEG International Conference & Exhibition 13-16 September, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. This event is incorporated with PESA’s Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium.

Alternative Resources, Structure, Compressional Systems, Extensional Systems, Fold and Thrust Belts, Geomechanics and Fracture Analysis, Salt Tectonics, Structural Analysis (Other), Tectonics (General), Coalbed Methane, Deep Basin Gas, Diagenetic Traps, Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs, Oil Sands, Oil Shale, Shale Gas, Stratigraphic Traps, Structural Traps, Subsalt Traps, Tight Gas Sands, Business and Economics, Risk Analysis, Resource Estimates, Reserve Estimation, Economics, Development and Operations, Engineering, Conventional Drilling, Coring, Directional Drilling, Infill Drilling, Drive Mechanisms, Production, Depletion Drive, Water Drive, Hydraulic Fracturing, Primary Recovery, Secondary Recovery, Tertiary Recovery, Environmental, Ground Water, Hydrology, Monitoring, Natural Resources, Pollution, Reclamation, Remediation, Remote Sensing, Water Resources, Geochemistry and Basin Modeling, Adsorption, Basin Modeling, Isotopes, Kerogen Typing, Maturation, Migration, Oil and Gas Analysis, Oil Seeps, Petroleum Systems, Source Rock, Thermal History, Geophysics, Direct Hydrocarbon Indicators, Gravity, Magnetic, Seismic, Petrophysics and Well Logs, Carbonates, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, (Carbonate) Shelf Sand Deposits, Carbonate Platforms, Carbonate Reefs, Dolostones, Clastics, Conventional Sandstones, Deep Sea / Deepwater, Deepwater Turbidites, Eolian Sandstones, Estuarine Deposits, Fluvial Deltaic Systems, High Stand Deposits, Incised Valley Deposits, Lacustrine Deposits, Low Stand Deposits, Marine, Regressive Deposits, Sheet Sand Deposits, Shelf Sand Deposits, Slope, Transgressive Deposits, Evaporites, Lacustrine Deposits, Salt, Sebkha, Sequence Stratigraphy, ICE 2015
Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/hero-ICE-2015-melbourne.jpg?width=50&h=50&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=90amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true 5664 ICE