Proving Seismic in Unconventional Plays

By ION Geophysical, November 10, 2013

specifically bulk density and Young’s modulus. These rock properties are of great value to asset teams because they can be used to quantify both the type and amount of hydrocarbon in place and rock brittleness.

The final step in the workflow is the creation of reservoir models that can be used by drilling, reservoir, and completion engineers to define their development programs. This is accomplished through discrete fracture network modeling that incorporates rock properties, natural fracture intensity, and orientation as well as geomechanical data from wellbores, logs, and other geological data. These models are history-matched to previous production and can be used to plan and refine future drilling programs.

A new and integral component of the reservoir imaging workflow is the use of microseismic technology for fracture monitoring. Fracture monitoring is faced with the challenge of recording very small signals in a high-noise environment. To more accurately locate and characterize microseismic events, the company developed a new solution employing proprietary, ultra high-sensitivity, low-noise SM-64 multicomponent sensors deployed in shallow buried arrays. ION’s first two commercial monitoring projects are under way in the Marcellus and Mississippi Lime plays. By integrating the microseismic data with reservoir imaging 3-D multicomponent seismic data, rock and fracture property data, history-matched fracture models, and time series completion data, the company can provide operators with a detailed picture of their drilling and completion effectiveness.

The company’s seven reservoir imaging programs encompass about 2,590 sq. kilometers (1,000 sq. miles) across the Marcellus, Niobrara, and Mississippi Lime shale plays – a combination of oil, gas, and mixed plays. Through these programs and its microseismic offering, ION is working to prove the value of multicomponent data in addressing the two key uncertainties in unconventional reservoirs: reservoir quality and completions effectiveness. With this insight operators can focus their drilling plans on the most productive acreage and define more cost effective completions designs, essential in today’s oil and gas price environment. 

This article first appeared in the E&P Daily News, published by Hart Energy 

at the 2013 EAGE Conference and Exhibition in London.