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Seismic reflection amplitude data are increasingly used in reservoir modeling to provide information on changes in earth properties away from well locations. In geostatistical reservoir modeling, the most common application is to use seismic data as background data in some form of comodeling. Seismic data image reflectors and not earth layer properties. Therefore, prior to use in comodeling, seismic data must first be transformed into an earth layer property. Typically, the transform is to acoustic impedance using an appropriate seismic inversion method.

Seismic inversion methods generate results that are generally band limited in nature, resulting in limits to vertical resolution. The vertical resolution achieved can be an order of magnitude below the vertical model resolution required from geostatistical reservoir modeling, which is in the order of well-log resolution. Hence, in using seismic data, geostatistical modelers encounter a problem of downscaling, not the more commonly encountered upscaling problem. This difference in scale introduces scatter between the primary data with well-log order resolution and the secondary seismically derived rock property data used in the comodeling. As a result, to preserve vertical heterogeneity, only limited use of the secondary data can be made in comodeling procedures. This results in models that only partially fit the seismic data, i.e., only limited use is made of the seismic information. If the secondary data are more strongly imposed, the fit to the seismic data improves, but the required vertical heterogeneity is not preserved. The inability to overcome this difference in scale issue, therefore, limits the value of the application of comodeling methods to integrate seismic data into reservoir models.

One class of geostatistical methods that overcomes this limitation relies on iterative geostatistical modeling. In these methods, referred to as geostatistical seismic inversion, the iterative modeling process is conditioned such that the final models generated closely match the seismic data while maintaining the required vertical heterogeneity. The application of these methods is computationally expensive relative to comodeling methods but is now practical for large models on today's desktop hardware. Relative to comodeling, geostatistical seismic inversion methods make full use of the information carried in the seismic data, resulting in a significant reduction in model uncertainty away from well control.

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