Time-lapse seismic data are widely used to monitor reservoir changes. Qualitative comparisons between baseline and monitor data sets or image volumes provide information about fluid and pressure effects within the reservoir during production. However, to perform real quantitative analysis of such reservoir changes, quantitative estimates of the elastic parameters are required as input parameters to rock-physics-based reservoir models. Full-waveform inversion has been proposed as a potential tool for retrieving subsurface properties, such as P- and S-wave velocities and density by fitting simulated waveforms to seismic data. An extension of this method to time-lapse applications seems straightforward, but, in fact, it requires more tailored processes such as double-difference waveform inversion (DDWI). We used realistic 2D synthetic pressure data examples to compare the performance of DDWI with that of two other inversion schemes: one using the same starting model for both inversions and the other starting the monitor inversion with the final baseline inversion model. The data simulation and inversion were based on acoustic theory. Although P-wave velocity changes were reliably recovered by each inversion method, DDWI was found to deliver the best results when perfectly repeated surveys were used. However, differencing the baseline and monitor data sets, as required by DDWI, could be found to be sensitive to the presence of survey nonrepeatability. To investigate the feasibility of using DDWI in practice, the dependence of DDWI on the quality of the baseline models and its robustness to survey nonrepeatability were studied with numerical tests. Various types of nonrepeatability were considered separately in the synthetic tests, including random noise, acquisition geometry mismatch, source wavelet discrepancy, and overburden velocity changes. A study of the correlation between the levels and types of nonrepeatability and the resulting contamination of the inversion results found that, for pressure data, DDWI was capable of inverting reliably for P-wave velocity changes under realistic survey nonrepeatability conditions.

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