Evaluation of the seismic reflection method as a monitoring tool during primary and enhanced coalbed methane production

Diane Jael Lespinasse Fung

In this thesis I present an evaluation of the seismic reflection method as a monitoring tool during coalbed methane (CBM) production and enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) production by CO2 injection. This evaluation is based on a workflow previously developed for monitoring CO2 storage in the Big George coalbeds in the Powder River Basin.

I study the changes in seismic and the AVO response associated with coalbeds during primary production using a data set from the Mannville coals, which represent one of the most important CBM resources in the Province of Alberta. Using published data, I perform a single well flow simulation to make an assessment of its production forecast in a 10 year period. The flow simulation provides information on methane saturation and reservoir pressure during production, while the changes in porosity and permeability due to depletion are estimated according to the Palmer and Mansoori permeability model. Using well log data of the Corbett Field and the results of the flow simulation, I complete a Gassmann fluid substitution to replace brine by a mixture of brine and methane in the pore space and estimate the variations in Vp, Vs and density due to changes in fluid saturation. I evaluate offset dependent synthetic seismograms before and after fluid substitution, and I use different coalbed thicknesses to establish resolution limits. To observe significant changes in the character and phase of the wavelet due to the replacement of brine by methane I find that coalbed thickness must be at least 10 m, also in terms of AVO I observe that there is a decrease in amplitude with offset caused by the presence of methane in the pore space.

Using the same methodology and production data from the Fruitland Coals Fairway in the North of the San Juan Basin U.S.A, which is considered the most productive CBM reservoir in the world, I evaluate Elastic Impedance (EI) and Elastic Impedance Coefficient (EC) response during ECBM by CO2 injection. In this case, I determine that EI and EC are not able to discriminate CO2 from methane but they do allow monitoring the movement of the CO2 flood during and after injection. The magnitude of the changes of EI, and EC are small, and it is difficult to predict whether the changes will be appreciated in seismic data.