ABSTRACT

Seismic and electromagnetic properties generally are anisotropic, depending on the microscale rock fabric and the macroscale stress field. We have assessed the stress-dependent anisotropy of poorly consolidated (porosity of approximately 0.35) sandstones (broadly representative of shallow reservoirs) experimentally, combining ultrasonic (0.6 MHz P-wave velocity, VP, and attenuation 1/QP) and electrical resistivity measurements. We used three cores from an outcrop sandstone sample extracted at 0°, 45°, and 90° angles with respect to the visible geologic bedding plane and subjected them to unloading/loading cycles with variations of the confining (20–35 MPa) and pore (2–17 MPa) pressures. Our results indicate that stress field orientation, loading history, rock fabric, and the measurement scale all affect the elastic and electrical anisotropies. Strong linear correlations (R2>0.9) between VP, 1/QP, and resistivity in the three considered directions suggest that the stress orientation similarly affects the elastic and electrical properties of poorly consolidated, high-porosity (shallow) sandstone reservoirs. However, resistivity is more sensitive to pore-pressure changes (effective stress coefficients n>1), whereas P-wave properties provide simultaneous information about the confining (from VP, with n slightly less than 1) and pore pressure (from 1/QP, with n slightly greater than 1) variations. We found n is also anisotropic for the three measured properties because a more intense and rapid grain rearrangement occurs when the stress field changes result from oblique stress orientations with respect to rock layering. Altogether, our results highlighted the potential of joint elastic-electrical stress-dependent anisotropy assessments to enhance the geomechanical interpretation of reservoirs during production or injection activities.

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