Are seismic velocity time-lapse changes due to fluid substitution or matrix dissolution? A CO2 sequestration study at Pohokura Field, New Zealand
Abstract:Time-lapse seismic signatures can be used to quantify fluid saturation and pressure changes in a reservoir undergoing CO2 sequestration. However, the injection of CO2 acidifies the water, which may dissolve and/or precipitate minerals. Understanding the impact on the rock frame from field seismic time-lapse changes remains an outstanding challenge. Here, we study the effects of carbonate-CO2-water reactions on the physical and elastic properties of rock samples with variable volumes of carbonate cementation. The effects of fluid substitution alone (brine to CO2) and those due to the combination of fluid substitution and mineral dissolution on time-lapse seismic signatures are studied by combining laboratory data, geophysical well-log data and 1-D seismic modeling.
Nine rocks from Pohokura Field (New Zealand) are reacted with carbonic acid. The elastic properties are measured using a high-density laser-ultrasonic setup. We observe that P-wave velocity changes up to -19% and correlate with sandstone grain size. Coarse-grained sandstones show greater changes in elastic wave velocities due to dissolution than fine-grained sandstones. To put this in perspective, this velocity change is comparable to the effect of fluid substitution from brine to CO2. This can potentially create an ambiguity in the interpretation of the physical processes responsible for time-lapse signatures in a CO2injection scenario.
The laboratory information is applied onto well-log data to model changes in elastic properties of sandstones at the well-log scale. Well-logs and core petrographic analyses are used to find an elastic model that best describes the observed elastic waves velocities in the cemented reservoir sandstones. The Constant-cement rock physics model is found to predict the elastic behaviour of the cemented sandstones. A possible late-time sequestration scenario is that both mineral dissolution and fluid substitution occur in the reservoir. 1-D synthetic seismograms show that seismic amplitudes can change up to 126% in such a scenario. Our work shows that it is important to consider that time-lapse seismic signatures in carbonate-cemented reservoirs can result not only from fluid and pressure changes but also potentially from chemical reaction between CO2-water mixtures and carbonate cemented sandstones.