Diffraction imaging is recognized as a new approach to image small-scale fractures in shale and carbonate reservoirs. By identifying the areas with increased natural fracture density, reservoir engineers can design an optimal well placement program that targets the sweet spots (areas with increased production), and minimizes the total number of wells used for a prospective area. High-resolution imaging of the small-scale fractures in shale reservoirs such as Eagle Ford, Bakken, Utica, and Woodbine in the US, and Horn River, Montney, and Utica in Canada improves the prospect characterization and predrill assessment of the geologic conditions, improves the production and recovery efficiency, reduces field development cost, and decreases the environmental impact of developing the field by using fewer wells to optimally produce the reservoir. We evaluated several field data examples using a method of obtaining images of diffractors using specularity filtering that could be performed in depth and time migration. Provided that a good migration velocity was available, we used the deviation of ray scattering from Snell’s law to attenuate reflection energy in the migrated image. The resulting diffraction images reveal much of the structural detail that was previously obscured by reflection energy.

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