Time-lapse (4D) analysis of seismic data acquired at different stages of hydrocarbon production or gas/fluid injection has been very successful at imaging detailed reservoir changes. Conventional time-domain analysis of 4D data sets usually assumes a linear perturbation about a reference baseline earth model. However, this assumption is violated when production/injection significantly alters the subsurface generating large 4D velocity changes, time shifts, and complicated 4D wavefield coda, necessitating a more robust 4D analysis involving prestack wave-equation depth migration and velocity analysis. We address these situations by extending conventional 3D wave-equation migration velocity analysis (WEMVA) based on one-way wave-equations and single-scattering theory to 4D velocity estimation using a “parallel” inversion approach involving parallel solution of two separate inversion problems. Recognizing that the 4D WEMVA strategy requires precomputed baseline/monitor image-difference volumes, we develop an approximate 4D WEMVA technique that replaces these differences with a single weight function derived from the smooth background time-lapse image difference. We demonstrate the usefulness of the parallel and an approximate 4D WEMVA approach using a synthetic time-lapse CO2 geosequestration experiment that requires inverting for a thin-layer velocity change derived from CO2 injection in an analogue North Sea reservoir. The parallel 4D WEMVA solutions generate an excellent high-resolution velocity estimates, whereas the approximate methods recover lower-resolution estimates with magnitudes that must be rescaled through a post-inversion gradient line-search.

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