Abstract

We relocate 303 microseismic events recorded in 1998 by sensors in a single borehole in the North Sea Valhall oil field. A semiautomated array analysis method repicks the P- and S-wave arrival times and P-wave polarizations, which are needed to locate these events. The relocated sources are confined predominantly to a 50-m-thick zone just above the reservoir, and location uncertainties are half those of previous efforts. Multiplet analysis identifies 40 multiplet groups, which include 208 of the 303 events. The largest group contains 24 events, and five groups contain 10 or more events. Within each multiplet group, we further improve arrival-time picking through crosscorrelation, which enhances the relative accuracy of the relocated events and reveals that more than 99% of the seismic activity lies spatially in three distinct clusters. The spatial distribution of events and wave-form similarities reveal two faultlike structures that match well with north-northwest–south-southeast-trending fault planes interpreted from 3D surface seismic data. Most waveform differences between multiplet groups located on these faults can be attributed to S-wave phase content and polarity or P-to-S amplitude ratio. The range in P-to-S amplitude ratios observed on the faults is explained best in terms of varying source mechanisms. We also find a correlation between multiplet groups and temporal variations in seismic anisotropy, as revealed by S-wave splitting analysis. We explain these findings in the context of a cyclic recharge and dissipation of cap-rock stresses in response to production-driven compaction of the underlying oil reservoir. The cyclic nature of this mechanism drives the short-term variations in seismic anisotropy and the reactivation of microseismic source mechanisms over time.

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