The Central North Sea contains a large variety of oil and gas fields at different stages of maturity within the life cycle of an asset, at varying depths, in varied geology and at widely differing pressure and temperature conditions. Over the last three years Shell UK Exploration and Production (Shell Expro) has acquired new 3D surveys over many of these fields which, following careful attention to detail in acquisition and processing, have been quantitatively compared to pre-production surveys. Differences between these time-lapse seismic datasets have then been interpreted in terms of changes in reservoir fluid movement and changed pressure/temperature conditions. These interpretations have proven useful for reservoir management by identifying swept versus unswept zones, sealing versus non-sealing faults, efficiency of drive mechanisms and connected volumes to specific wells
Four case studies from the Gannet Development illustrate how these observations have impacted reservoir management and show how application of this relatively new, yet rapidly maturing technology has had a positive impact on the remaining value of these fields. Importantly, the detectability of changes in the reservoir has been seen to be greater than predicted prior to data acquisition. Indeed, 4D seismic data have become an established part of the long-term plans for all of Shell Expro's subsurface assets. With these successes have come fresh challenges and future efforts will focus on reducing costs in proven 4D technology whilst pushing to introduce new techniques for data gathering and for interpretation of large volumes of new information.