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Rock Fracture Characterisation Using Seismology

A medium with preferentially aligned fractures or cracks will exhibit seismic anisotropy. Evidence of anisotropy in fractured hydrocarbon reservoirs has the potential to be a powerful interpretation tool for characterizing the intensity and orientation of fractures. The presence of these fractures can dramatically improve production rates, most notably in tight formations. Seismic waveforms are very sensitive to the fracture density and orientation which is valuable information for a drilling program.

Robust Fracture Identification (RFI) An industry funded project that linked geomechanical and seismic modelling. The work is focusses on the Clair Field and was a collaborative project between Heriot-Watt University and the Universities of Leeds and Bristol. (password protected sponsor's site)

Industry Collaboration

  • Shell International Exploration and Production - Rijswijk, Netherlands
  • Total GRC - UK
  • BP - Houston, Texas; Stavenger, Norway.
  • SAIL - A consortium funded industrial project integrating seismic and laboratory observations of anisotropy in sedimentary basins.

Fracture pattern map for the top of a chalk horizon inferred from azimuthal variations in amplitude versus offset patterns in ocean-bottom seismic data. The azimuthal variations are associated with fracture-induced anisotropy. Fault traces inferred from coherency analysis of seismic data are shown for comparison. There is a good correlation between the inferred fracture patterns and the large-scale faulting. (Figure from Steve Hall's PhD thesis).