Abstract

Faults play a key role in reservoirs by enhancing or restricting fluid flow. A fault zone can be divided into a fault core that accommodates most of the displacement and a surrounding damage zone. Interpretation of seismic data is a key method for studying subsurface features, but the internal structure and properties of fault zones are often at the limit of seismic resolution. We have investigated the seismic response of a vertical fault zone model in sandstone, populated with fault facies based on deformation band distributions. Deformation bands reduce the porosity of the sandstone, and they condition its elastic properties. We generate synthetic seismic cubes of the fault facies model for several wave frequencies and under realistic conditions of reservoir burial and seismic acquisition. Seismic image quality and fault zone definition are highly dependent on wave frequency. At a low wave frequency (e.g., 10 Hz), the fault zone is broader and no information about its fault facies distribution can be extracted. At higher wave frequencies (e.g., 30 and 60 Hz), seismic attributes, such as tensor and envelope, can be used to characterize the fault volume and its internal structure. Based on these attributes, we can subdivide the fault zone into several seismic facies from the core to the damage zone. Statistical analyses indicate a correlation between the seismic attributes and the fault internal structure, although seismic facies, due to their coarser resolution, cannot be matched to individual fault facies. The seismic facies can be used as input for reservoir models as spatial conditioning parameters for fault facies distributions inside the fault zone. However, relying only on the information provided by seismic analyses might not be enough to create high-resolution fault reservoir models.

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