Fluid substitution is an important part of seismic attribute work, because it provides the interpreter with a tool for modeling and quantifying the various fluid scenarios which might give rise to an observed amplitude variation with offset (AVO) or 4D response. The most commonly used technique for doing this involves the application of Gassmann's equations.
Modeling the changes from one fluid type to another requires that the effects of the starting fluid first be removed prior to modeling the new fluid. In practice, the rock is drained of its initial pore fluid, and the moduli (bulk and shear) and bulk density of the porous frame are calculated. Once the porous frame properties are properly determined, the rock is saturated with the new pore fluid, and the new effective bulk modulus and density are calculated.
A direct result of Gassmann's equations is that the shear modulus for an isotropic material is independent of pore fluid, and therefore remains constant during the fluid substitution process. In the case of disconnected or cracklike pores, however, this assumption may be violated. Once the values for the new effective bulk modulus and bulk density are calculated, it is possible to calculate the compressional and shear velocities for the new fluid conditions.
There are other approaches to fluid substitution (empirical and heuristic) which avoid the porous frame calculations but, as described in this tutorial, often do not yield reliable results. This tutorial provides the reader with a recipe for performing fluid substitutions, as well as insight into why and when the approach may fail.