Spatial delineation, fluid-lithology characterization, and petrophysical modeling of deepwater Gulf of Mexico reservoirs through joint AVA deterministic and stochastic inversion of 3D partially-stacked seismic amplitude data and well logs



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This dissertation describes a novel Amplitude-versus-Angle (AVA) inversion methodology to quantitatively integrate pre-stack seismic data, well logs, geologic data, and geostatistical information. Deterministic and stochastic inversion algorithms are used to characterize flow units of deepwater reservoirs located in the central Gulf of Mexico. A detailed fluid/lithology sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the nature of AVA effects in the study area. Standard AVA analysis indicates that the shale/sand interface represented by the top of the hydrocarbon-bearing turbidite deposits generate typical Class III AVA responses. Layer-dependent Biot-Gassmann analysis shows significant sensitivity of the P-wave velocity and density to fluid substitution, indicating that presence of light saturating fluids clearly affects the elastic response of sands. Accordingly, AVA deterministic and stochastic inversions, which combine the advantages of AVA analysis with those of inversion, have provided quantitative information about the lateral continuity of the turbidite reservoirs based on the interpretation of inverted acoustic properties and fluid-sensitive modulus attributes (PImpedance, S-Impedance, density, and LambdaRho, in the case of deterministic inversion; and P-velocity, S-velocity, density, and lithotype (sand-shale) distributions, in the case of stochastic inversion). The quantitative use of rock/fluid information through AVA seismic data, coupled with the implementation of co-simulation via lithotype-dependent multidimensional joint probability distributions of acoustic/petrophysical properties, provides accurate 3D models of petrophysical properties such as porosity, permeability, and water saturation. Pre-stack stochastic inversion provides more realistic and higher-resolution results than those obtained from analogous deterministic techniques. Furthermore, 3D petrophysical models can be more accurately co-simulated from AVA stochastic inversion results. By combining AVA sensitivity analysis techniques with pre-stack stochastic inversion, geologic data, and awareness of inversion pitfalls, it is possible to substantially reduce the risk in exploration and development of conventional and non-conventional reservoirs. From the final integration of deterministic and stochastic inversion results with depositional models and analogous examples, the M-series reservoirs have been interpreted as stacked terminal turbidite lobes within an overall fan complex (the Miocene MCAVLU Submarine Fan System); this interpretation is consistent with previous core data interpretations and regional stratigraphic/depositional studies.