ABSTRACT

The fundamental concept of time-lapse seismic monitoring is that changes in physical parameters—such as saturation, pore fluid pressure, temperature, and stress—affect rock and fluid properties, which in turn alter the seismic velocity and density. Increasingly, however, time-lapse seismic monitoring is called upon to quantify subsurface changes due in part to chemical reactions between injected fluids and the host rocks. This study springs from a series of laboratory experiments and high-resolution images assessing the changes in microstructure, transport, and seismic properties of fluid-saturated sandstones and carbonates injected with CO2. Results show that injecting CO2 into a brine-rock system induces chemo-mechanical mechanisms that permanently change the rock frame. Injecting CO2 into brine-saturated-sandstones induces salt precipitation primarily at grain contacts and within small pore throats. In rocks with porosity lower than 10%, salt precipitation reduces permeability and increases P- and S-wave velocities of the dry rock frame. On the other hand, injecting CO2-rich water into micritic carbonates induces dissolution of the microcrystalline matrix, leading to porosity enhancement and chemo-mechanical compaction under pressure. In this situation, the elastic moduli of the dry rock frame decrease. The results in these two scenarios illustrate that the time-lapse seismic response of chemically stimulated systems cannot be modeled as a pure fluid-substitution problem. A first set of empirical relationships links the time-variant effects of injection to the elastic properties of the rock frame using laboratory velocity measurements and advanced imaging.

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