Constraining the Dynamic Rupture Properties with Moment Tensor Derived Vp/Vs Ratios.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Lindsay Smith-Boughner, Adam M Baig, Ted Urbancic and Gisela Fernandes Viegas, Engineering Seismology Group Canada Inc, Kingston, ON, Canada
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.