ABSTRACT

This study investigates the seismic velocity anisotropy of two organic-rich shales from the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The tested organic-rich shale samples were from the Upper Jurassic Draupne and Hekkingen formations collected from two wells (16/8-3S and 7125/1-1) drilled in the central North Sea and western Barents Sea, respectively. The two tested shales are different in organic matter richness and thermal maturation, and they have experienced different burial histories. The shale core plugs were tested in a triaxial cell under controlled pore pressure. Seismic velocities (VP and VS) were measured along different orientations with respect to layering to identify the complete tensor of the rock elastic moduli, and to investigate the velocity anisotropy as a function of increasing effective stress. The measured velocity values exhibit strong anisotropy for the two tested organic-rich shales. The anisotropy for both shales is strongest for VS. Seismic velocities follow an increasing trend as the effective stress increases. The anisotropy decreases somewhat with increasing consolidation, probably due to the closing of preexisting fractures and microcracks. The reduction of anisotropy is more evident for the P-wave because it decreases from 0.32 to 0.25 for the Draupne sample and from 0.28 to 0.24 for the Hekkingen sample when the vertical effective stress increases from 26 to 50 MPa. In general, the Hekkingen sample indicates slightly higher velocity values than the Draupne sample due to more compaction and lower porosity. In spite of major differences between the two shale formations in terms of organic matter content, maturity and burial history, they indicate almost the same degree of velocity anisotropy. The outcomes of this study can contribute to better imaging of organic-rich Draupne and Hekkingen shales by constraining the rock-physics properties.

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