Abstract

Seismic effects of a partially gas-saturated subsurface have been known for many years. For example, patches of nonuniform saturation occur at the gas-oil and gas-water contacts in hydrocarbon reservoirs. Open-pore boundary conditions are applied to the quasi-static Biot equations of poroelasticity to derive an exact analytic expression of the effective bulk modulus for partially saturated media with spherical gas patches larger than the typical pore size. The pore fluid and the rock properties can have different values in the central sphere and in the surrounding region. An analytic solution prevents loss of accuracy from ill-conditioned equations as encountered in the numerical solution for certain input. For a sandstone saturated with gas and water, we found that the P-wave velocity and attenuation in conventional models differ as much as 15% from the exact solution at seismic frequencies. This makes the use of present exact theory necessary to describe patchy saturation, although (more realistic) complex patch shapes and distributions were not considered. We found that, despite earlier corrections, the White conventional model does not yield the correct low-frequency asymptote for the attenuation.

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