Quantifying remaining oil saturation using seismic time-lapse amplitude changes at fluid contacts

Erick Alvarez, Colin MacBeth, Jon Brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
632 Downloads (Pure)


Our study shows that time-lapse changes in the amplitude of the seismic reflection at an oil-water contact and/or produced oil-water contact can be used to directly estimate the displacement efficiency of water displacing oil, ED without the need of a rock and fluid physics model. From this value it is possible to determine the remaining oil saturation if required. A preliminary application is performed using several published literature examples, which are re-interpreted to assess the average ED and ensure the theory is consistent with expectations. Next, a North Sea field model with a known ED is used to create fluid flow predictions and the corresponding synthetic time-lapse seismic data. Application to these data again confirms the basic principles of the method and defines the accuracy when applied to 4D seismic data. Finally, an observed 4D seismic dataset from a producing field in the North Sea is analysed. The results suggest a displacement efficiency of between 21 and 65% with an accuracy of 3% due to data non-repeatability (with a NRMS of between 11 and 13%). Given an average irreducible water saturation of 0.32 this calculates remaining oil saturations between 24% and 53% for this field. A pre-requisite for use of the proposed oil-water contact approach is that a discrete contact be interpreted on either the 3D or 4D seismic datasets. Therefore successful application of this technique requires moderate to high quality seismic data and a fairly thick reservoir sequence without significant structural complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-250
Number of pages13
JournalPetroleum Geoscience
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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