Abstract

Fractured rocks can exhibit good reservoir properties and provide high-permeability passages for hydrocarbons. Understanding fracture and stress systems is a key element in successful horizontal drilling and fracking for unconventional reservoir exploration. As a result, there is growing interest in methods that can estimate fracture orientation, density, and style. However, fracture detection using surface seismic data is challenging, and the results are usually ambiguous. Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses and responds to fractures and compressional stress in different ways. A major uncertainty in fracture analysis based on azimuthally variant seismic velocities is caused by interference from structural effects, localized small-scale velocity anomalies, and directional stress. They can induce azimuthal variation in velocity, which can mask the influence on traveltimes caused by the fractures. To overcome these challenges, we focused on a fracture and compressional stress detection methodology using 3D scanning of azimuthally dependent residual moveout volumes constrained by fracture-sensitive seismic attributes. Our workflow was successfully applied to wide-azimuth, highfold land seismic data acquired over a fractured formation in the northern part of Saudi Arabia, where we were able to map 3D zones with a high probability of fractures and differentiate them from areas with higher compressional stress.

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