Heavy oil reservoirs are important alternative energy resources to conventional oil and gas reservoirs. However, due to the high viscosity, most production methods of heavy oil reservoirs involve thermal production. Heavy oil reservoirs’ properties change dramatically during thermal production because the viscosity drops drastically with increasing temperature. Moreover, the velocity and density also decrease after steam injection, leading to a longer traveltime of seismic velocities and low impedance of the steam chamber zone. These changes of properties can act as indicators of the steam chamber and can be detected through the time-lapse inversion method. We first establish the rock-physics relationship between oil sands’ impedance and temperature on the basis of our previous laboratory work. Then, we perform the forward modeling of the heavy oil reservoir with the steam chamber to demonstrate the influence of steam injection on seismic profiles. Then, we develop a modified-Cauchy prior-distribution-based time-lapse inversion method and perform a 2D model test. The inversion method is then applied on the real field data, and the results are analyzed. By combining the inverted impedance and rock-physics relation between impedance and temperature, the temperature distribution map is obtained, which can work as an indicator of steam chamber. Finally, an empirical relation between impedance and velocity is established, and velocity is derived from the impedance.

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