PP-wave azimuthal elastic impedance (EI) data inverted from azimuthal prestack seismic reflection data can be theoretically and practically used for fluid- and fracture-property discrimination in naturally porous and fluid-saturated fractured reservoirs within the exploration seismic frequency band. From the perspective of the low-frequency Biot-Gassmann theory, Russell’s fluid indicator can be stably applied to fluid identification in hard-rock fractured reservoirs. Based on the low-frequency anisotropic poroelasticity theory, we first derive an azimuthal PP-wave reflection coefficient and an azimuthal EI equation in terms of Russell’s fluid indicator (a combination of acoustic impedances and dry-rock velocity ratio without the effect of squirt flow in the seismic frequency range) and two fracture indicators (i.e., normal and tangential fracture weaknesses). Using azimuthal differences in EI data, we then develop a three-step inversion method of EI difference versus angle and azimuth. It can be used accurately to estimate the fluid and fracture indicators and characterize the sensitive properties of saturated fractured porous reservoirs. Noisy synthetic data are used to verify the stability and robustness of the proposed hierarchical impedance inversion approach. A real data set acquired over a gas-bearing fractured reservoir is also used to obtain the sensitive indicators of the fluid and fracture properties, which agree well with the well-log data. Thus, our hierarchical inversion approach provides a more straightforward and efficient manner to characterize the porous and fluid-saturated fractured reservoirs.

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