Dual simulations of fluid flow and seismic wave propagation in a fractured network : effects of pore pressure on seismic signature

Vlastos, S.; Liu, E.; Main, I.G.; Schoenberg, M.; Narteau, C.; Li, X.Y.; Maillot, B.. 2006 Dual simulations of fluid flow and seismic wave propagation in a fractured network : effects of pore pressure on seismic signature. Geophysical Journal International, 166 (2). 825-838.

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Fluid flow in the Earth's crust plays an important role in a number of geological processes. In relatively tight rock formations such flow is usually controlled by open macrofractures, with significant implications for ground water flow and hydrocarbon reservoir management. The movement of fluids in the fractured media will result in changes in the pore pressure and consequently will cause changes to the effective stress, traction and elastic properties. The main purpose of this study is to numerically examine the effect of pore pressure changes on seismic wave propagation (i.e. the effects of pore pressures on amplitude, arrival time, frequency content). This is achieved by using dual simulations of fluid flow and seismic propagation in a common 2-D fracture network. Note that the dual simulations are performed separately as the coupled simulations of fluid flow and seismic wave propagations in such fracture network is not possible because the timescales of fluid flow and wave propagation are considerably different (typically, fluid flows in hours, whereas wave propagation in seconds). The flow simulation updates the pore pressure at consecutive time steps, and thus the elastic properties of the rock, for the seismic modelling. In other words, during each time step of the flow simulations, we compute the elastic response corresponding to the pore pressure distribution. The relationship between pore pressure and fractures is linked via an empirical relationship given by Schoenberg and the elastic response of fractures is computed using the equivalent medium theory described by Hudson and Liu. Therefore, we can evaluate the possibility of inferring the changes of fluid properties directly from seismic data. Our results indicate that P waves are not as sensitive to pore pressure changes as S and coda (or scattered) waves. The increase in pore pressure causes a shift of the energy towards lower frequencies, as shown from the spectrum (as a result of scattering attenuation). Another important observation is that the fluid effects on the wavefield vary significantly with the source-receiver direction, that is, the azimuth relative to the fracture orientation. These results have significant implications for the characterization of naturally fractured reservoirs using seismic methods, and may impact on experimental design to infer such attributes in a real reservoir situation, particularly in acquiring time-lapse seismic data.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Seismology and Geomagnetism
ISSN: 0956-540X
Additional Keywords: Seismic waves, Fluid flow, cellular automaton, effective medium theory, finite difference methods, fractures, scattering attenuation, wave propagation
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 31 Aug 2007 14:48 +0 (UTC)

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