Optimization of production from unconventional reservoirs requires estimates of reservoir properties such as porosity, total organic carbon (TOC) content, clay content, fluid saturation, and fracture intensity. The porosity and TOC content help to determine reservoir quality, and the natural fracture intensity provides information important for the completion strategy. Because shale reservoirs display intrinsic anisotropy due to layering and the partial alignment of clay minerals and kerogen with the bedding plane, the minimum acceptable representation of the anisotropy of naturally fractured shale-gas reservoirs is orthotropy, in which a set of vertical compliant fractures is embedded in a vertical transverse isotropic (VTI) background medium. Full-azimuth seismic data are required to characterize such reservoirs and to invert for the anisotropic elastic properties. Orthotropic inversion uses azimuthally sectored seismic data stacked according to the incident angle. Even for high-fold acquisition, this azimuth/angle grouping can result in low-fold angle stacks. Orthotropic amplitude-variation-with-offset-and-azimuth (AVOAz) inversion requires seismic preconditioning techniques that ensure proper primary amplitude preservation, noise attenuation, and data alignment, and a workflow implemented for the construction of an orthotropic rock-physics model. This model integrates well and core data to estimate reservoir properties using the results of the AVOAz inversion. The seismic inversion results include the P- and S-impedance and parameters quantifying the azimuthal anisotropy. The rock model assumes a VTI kerogen-rich layer, containing aligned vertical fractures, and it uses prestack orthotropic AVOAz inversion results to predict porosity, TOC, and fracture intensity.

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