Fractured zones in deeply buried carbonate hills are important because they often have better permeability resulting in prolific production than similar low-porosity rocks. Nevertheless, their detection poses great challenge to conventional seismic inversion methods because they are mostly low in acoustic impedance and bulk modulus, hardly distinguishable from high-porosity zones or mudstones. A proxy parameter of pore structure defined in a rock-physics model, the so-called Sun model, has been used for delineating fractured zones in which the pore structure parameter is relatively high, whereas the porosity is low in general. Simultaneous seismic inversion of the pore structure parameter and porosity proves to be difficult and nontrivial in practice. Although the pore structure parameter is well-defined at locations where density, P-, and S-velocity are known from logs, estimation of P- and S-velocity information, especially density information from prestack seismic data is rather challenging. A three-step iterative inversion method, which uses acoustic, gradient, and elastic impedance from angle-stacked seismic data as input to the rock-physics model for calculating porosity and bulk and shear pore structure parameters simultaneously, is proposed and implemented to solve this problem. The methodology is successfully tested with well logs and seismic data from a deeply buried carbonate hill in the Bohai Bay Basin, China.

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