Constraining the Dynamic Rupture Properties with Moment Tensor Derived Vp/Vs Ratios.
Abstract:The goal of hydraulic fracturing is to increase the permeability of rocks to extract hydrocarbons from “tight” formations. This process stimulates fluid-driven fractures which induce microseismic events. Successfully treating the formations, stimulating large volumes of the reservoir, depends on targeting parts of the formation with more “brittleness”, a property which is frequently characterized from the mechanical properties of the rock. Typically, these properties are constrained using well-logs, vertical seismic profiles and 3-D seismic surveys. Such tools provide a static view of the reservoir on very large or very small scales. While lithology controls the average rock strength within a unit, the content (gas or fluid filled), the shape of the pore space and the concentration of micro-fractures alters the mechanical properties of the reservoir.
Seismic moment tensor inversion of the events generated during these stimulations reveals that they are significantly non-double-couple, and are described by a tensile angle and a Poisson’s ratio (or, equivalently, ratio of shear to compressional velocities, Vp/Vs) of the rock-fracture system. Following Vavryčuk (2011), the mechanical properties of the reservoir (i.e. Vp/Vs ratio) are estimated as the hydraulic fracture progresses from an extensive catalog of microseismic events spanning magnitudes of -1.5 to 0.8 in the Horn-River Basin, Canada.
Studying several fracture stages in the reservoir reveals temporal and spatial variations in the rock strength within a unit as hydraulic fracturing proceeds. Initially, the estimated values of Vp/Vs are quite close to those determined from 3-D seismic surveys. As the stage progresses, previously fractured regions have lower Vp/Vs values. At the onset of maximum treating pressure, regions have anomalously high Vp/Vs values, which could reflect short-term local concentrations of high pore pressures or other interactions of the treatment with the formation. The relationship between source parameters and variations in Vp/Vs are also examined. This technique has the potential to provide a unique and dynamic view of variations in the reservoir both spatially and temporally.