Feasibility of Monitoring Gas-Hydrate Production With Time-Lapse Vertical Seismic Profiling

Kowalsky, Michael B. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) | Nakagawa, Seiji (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) | Moridis, George (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

OnePetro 

Summary

Many studies involving the application of geophysical methods in the field of gas hydrates have focused on determining rock-physics relationships for hydrate-bearing sediments, with the goal being to delineate the boundaries of gas-hydrate accumulations and to estimate the quantities of gas hydrate that such accumulations contain using remote-sensing techniques. However, the potential for using time-lapse geophysical methods to monitor the evolution of hydrate accumulations during production and, thus, to manage production has not been investigated. In this work, we begin to examine the feasibility of using time-lapse seismic methods--specifically, the vertical-seismic-profiling (VSP) method--for monitoring changes in hydrate accumulations that are predicted to occur during production of natural gas. A feasibility study of this nature is made possible through the coupled simulation of large-scale production in hydrate accumulations and time-lapse geophysical (seismic) surveys. We consider a hydrate accumulation in the Gulf of Mexico that may represent a promising target for production. Although the current study focuses on one seismic method (VSP), this approach can be extended easily to other geophysical methods, including other seismic methods (e.g., surface seismic or crosshole measurements) and electromagnetic surveys. In addition to examining the sensitivity of seismic attributes and parameters to the changing conditions in hydrate accumulations, our long-term goals in this work are to determine optimal sampling strategies (e.g., source frequency, time interval for data acquisition) and measurement configurations (e.g., source and receiver spacing for VSP), while taking into account uncertainties in rock-physics relationships. The numerical-modeling strategy demonstrated in this study may be used in the future to help design cost-effective geophysical surveys to track the evolution of hydrate properties. Here, we describe the modeling procedure and present some preliminary results.