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Zhang, Jie, Dez Chu, Ganglin Chen, Kelly Wrobel, and William L. Soroka,, 2011, Reducing reservoir characterization uncertainties and improving field recovery through four-dimensional seismic technology: An integrated four-dimensional seismic interpretation workflow, in Y. Z. Ma and P. R. La Pointe, eds., Uncertainty analysis and reservoir modeling: AAPG Memoir 96, p. 175190.


Copyright copy2011 by The American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Reducing Reservoir Characterization Uncertainties and Improving Field Recovery through Four-Dimensional Seismic Technology: An Integrated Four-Dimensional Seismic Interpretation Workflow

Jie Zhang,1 Dez Chu,2 Ganglin Chen,3 Kelly Wrobel,4 William L. Soroka5

1ExxonMobil Abu Dhabi Offshore Petroleum Company Limited, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
3ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
4ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
5ExxonMobil Oil Indonesia, Inc., Jakarta, Indonesia


We thank ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) for supporting the research leading to this article and for approving publications. We thank the contributions of Grant Gist and other former members of the Geophysical Reservoir Monitoring Group at ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company. David Johnston, Martin Terrell, and Mike Helgerud provided many constructive comments that led to significant improvement of this article. This work also benefited from numerous discussions with many colleagues at ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company. Some of the laboratory measurements were made by Ludmila Adams (Colorado School of Mines), Japan Oil Development Company (JODCO), and Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).


More than one-half of the world's remaining hydrocarbon reserves are in carbonate rocks. Reservoir complexity and heterogeneity in carbonate reservoirs are commonly the main sources of uncertainty in reservoir models and thereby affect field recovery strategies. Four-dimensional seismic technology, which acquires three-dimensional seismic data over a producing field at different times, can provide valuable information on the reservoir changes induced by hydrocarbon production. This information can then be used to better understand the reservoir's complexity, heterogeneity, dynamic flow parameters, and production performance.

The application of four-dimensional seismic technology in carbonates is still in an early stage because of many challenges such as detectability and repeatability of four-dimensional seismic data. This chapter provides an overview of the workflow, describes more details through an application to a giant carbonate oil field located onshore Abu Dhabi, and emphasizes reduction of reservoir uncertainties.

The workflow consists of the following six steps: (1) rock physics analysis on the effects of fluid and pressure changes on the elastic properties of the reservoir rocks; (2) four-dimensional forward seismic modeling; (3) seismic acquisition geometry analysis, seismic data processing assessment, and postproduction processing data enhancement; (4) qualitative and quantitative four-dimensional seismic data analysis; (5) four-dimensional seismic updating of geologic models; and (6) reservoir simulation feedback using four-dimensional seismic data.

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