Applying full-azimuth depth imaging in the local angle domain to delineate hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reserves
Hard-to-recover hydrocarbon reservoirs lie at great depths, in complex geological conditions. They are characterized by complex structures, low fluid permeability and a low oil and gas recovery ratio. In Russia today, about 60% of the potential oil and gas fields are located in this type of reservoir. These include hydrocarbon deposits in the Paleozoic basement (pre-Jurassic basement) of Western Siberia, subsalt carbonate sediments under salt dome tectonics, and carbonate and terrigenous deposits in the Volga region and Eastern Siberia. The exploration of these reservoirs benefits from a new, full-azimuth angle domain approach to seismic processing and imaging. This new technology can provide a more detailed depth image of the entire structural-tectonic reservoir skeleton, and a more accurate forecast of the main rock properties of the reservoirs. Conventional seismic depth imaging tools, such as ray-based or beam-based Kirchhoff migrations, applied to rich azimuth seismic data, normally generate multi-azimuth offset-domain common image gathers (CIGs). These are further used for anisotropic velocity model determination and for the characterization of reservoir properties, such as fracture systems. In these types of migrations, the input data is first binned into specific surface offset/ azimuth geometrical groups, such as offset vector tiles (OVT), azimuthal sectors or planner spirals, depending on the acquisition pattern. Each set of binned data is then independently migrated, with the final CIGs being simply a collection of individual images. However, in many cases, particularly when studying hydrocarbon reservoirs below complex geological areas and along steep inclined layers, the offset/azimuth CIGs do not provide the required information (in terms of accuracy and resolution, for example) to achieve the above mentioned goals. Unlike subsurface imaged events along the angle domain CIGs, which indicate ‘true’ local reflectivities, the reflection image events along the offset domain CIGs can be only considered a rough approximation of the ‘true’ reflectivities. Obviously, the accuracy and reliability of the offset domain CIGs are strongly compromised when imaging below complex geological areas with complex wave phenomena. One of the main drawbacks of offset domain imaging, especially in complex geological areas, is its inability to deal with the actual multi-pathing waves which are naturally handled within angle domain imaging.