A recent advance in single-well reflection imaging is the use of a dipole acoustic system in a borehole to radiate and receive elastic waves to and from a remote geologic reflector in formation. This dipole-acoustic imaging technology is evaluated by numerically simulating the radiation and reflection of the wavefield generated by the borehole dipole source and analyzing the receiving sensitivity of the dipole system to the incoming reflected waves. The analyses show that a borehole dipole source can radiate a compressional wave (P-wave) and two types of shear waves (i.e., SV- and SH-waves) into the formation. The SH-wave has wide radiation coverage and the best receiving sensitivity, and is most suitable for dipole-shear imaging. In an acoustically slow formation, the dipole-generated P-wave has strong receiving sensitivity and can also be used for reflection imaging. An important feature of dipole imaging is its sensitivity to reflector azimuth, which results from the directivity of the dipole source. By using a 4C data acquisition method to record the dipole-generated reflected signal, the reflector azimuth can be determined. The numerical simulation and theoretical analysis results are in good agreement, providing a solid foundation for the dipole acoustic imaging technology.

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