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Book Chapter

Chapter 5: Measuring and Monitoring Heavy-oil Reservoir Properties

By
Kevin Wolf
Kevin Wolf
Stanford University, Department of Geophysics, Stanford, California, U.S.A.
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Tiziana Vanorio
Tiziana Vanorio
Stanford University, Department of Geophysics, Stanford, California, U.S.A.
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Gary Mavko
Gary Mavko
Stanford University, Department of Geophysics, Stanford, California, U.S.A.
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Published:
January 01, 2010

Introduction

The level of interest in heavy-oil and bitumen reservoirs has dramatically increased in recent times. Increased production of these reservoir types has stimulated research on the properties of these reservoirs under various conditions to aid in the initial characterization of the reservoir and monitor production strategies in situ utilizing seismic data. Rock physics provides the crucial link between the physical properties of the reservoir and seismic properties that can be remotely measured; however, to this point there is not a robust model that can be used to predict or infer the properties of heavy-oil or bitumen sands from seismic data, nor is there sufficient experimental data to calibrate such models. We present a methodology to characterize and monitor heavy-oil reservoirs by inverting converted-wave seismic data to obtain P-to-S converted-wave elastic impedance (PSEI) estimates as a function of angle. By examining these data in “PSEI space” (crossplots of PSEI values obtained at different angles), we can infer the conditions in the reservoir and possibly relate them to physical properties of the reservoir through a reliable rock physics model. This methodology points out the need for better defined rock physics models that need to be calibrated to a large, robust data set. Experimental measurement of heavy-oil sands is challenging, and to meet these challenges, we have designed an ultrasonic pulse transmission system that has been optimized for use with heavy-oil sand samples. These samples provide several unique challenges in the laboratory that are not typically encountered when measuring traditional hard rocks such as carbonates or sandstones. Although the system has several specialized components, we will focus on the design of the transducers used in the system. The transducers are uniquely designed so that they closely match the impedance of the bitumen sand over a wide temperature range, resulting in sharp first arrivals while maximizing the received amplitude.

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Contents

Geophysical Developments Series

Heavy Oils: Reservoir Characterization and Production Monitoring

Satinder Chopra
Satinder Chopra
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Laurence R. Lines
Laurence R. Lines
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Douglas R. Schmitt
Douglas R. Schmitt
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Michael L. Batzle
Michael L. Batzle
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Volume
13
ISBN electronic:
9781560802235
Publication date:
January 01, 2010

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