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Low-Frequency Hydrocarbon Micro Tremors: A New Geoscience Technology for the Oil and Gas Industry

Robert M. Habiger
Spectraseis AG, Zurich, Switzerland

A growing number of surveys in different oil and gas provinces throughout the world have established the presence of low frequency micro tremors showing a high degree of correlation with proven hydrocarbon reservoirs. These micro tremors are being used by an increasing number of oil and gas operators to reduce exploration risk in gas, oil, and heavy oil prospecting. In contrast to conventional 2-D and 3-D seismic technologies, these data may be acquired by entirely passive methods and thus do not require artificial seismic excitation sources such as explosives or mechanical vibrators.

Data acquisition, processing, and analysis are presented using examples from data sets acquired by projects from various locations and environments around the world. The data were acquired using sensitive, portable 3-component broadband seismometers set out in a variety of survey designs. When compared with conventional seismic surveys, a Spectraseis’ project requires minimal amount of equipment and resources to cover the same area, leaving almost no environmental impact while demonstrating the effectiveness for covering large areas in a fast, cost effective manner.

The results of surveys over gas and oil fields in different countries, with different geological plays and reservoir characteristics, are presented. The raw data was processed in multiple steps. The first step characterizes the low frequency data according to noise, temporal variation, and other factors followed by workflows for creating a clean, comparable data set. Hydrocarbon-related attributes are then calculated from the clean, comparable data set and used to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential over the survey area.

Recent advances in localizing the source of the hydrocarbon micro tremors will also be presented, along with current theoretical concepts

Presentation GEO India Expo XXI, Noida, New Delhi, India 2008©AAPG Search and Discovery