Abstract

In the application of controlled source electromagnetics for reservoir monitoring on land, repeatability errors in the source will mask the time-lapse signal due to hydrocarbon production when recording surface data close to the source. We demonstrate that at larger distances, the airwave will still provide sufficient illumination of the target. The primary airwave diffuses downward into the earth and then is scattered back to the surface. The time-lapse difference of its recorded signal reveals the outline on the surface of the resistivity changes in a hydrocarbon reservoir under production. However, repeatability errors in the primary airwave can destroy the signal-to-noise ratio of the time-lapse data. We present a simple and effective method to remove the primary airwave from the data, which we call partial airwave removal. For a homogeneous half space and a delta-function type of source, the surface expression of the airwave does not depend on frequency. For this reason, the primary airwave can be subtracted from the data using recordings at two frequencies, one low enough with a skin depth of the order of the reservoir depth that is sensitive to the reservoir, the other high enough to only sense the near surface. The method does not affect secondary airwave components created by signals that have propagated through the earth and returned to the surface. We show that the method provides a direct indicator of production-related time-lapse changes in the reservoir. We illustrate this for several models, including a general 3D heterogeneous model and one with strong surface topography, for situations where survey repeatability errors are large.

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