Estimation of in situ anisotropy parameters from two perpendicular walkaway VSP lines in South Pars field
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Geophysics and Engineering. 2019, 16 (5), 926-938. 10.1093/jge/gxz056
Vertical phase slowness and polarization angle are the in situ parameters of P-wave propagation that can be derived from walkaway vertical seismic profiling (VSP) data. To use these data for estimating anisotropy parameters, we obtain an explicit equation of vertical slowness as a function of polarization angle for P-wave propagation in transversely isotropic with vertical symmetry axis (VTI) media. We use this equation to estimate anisotropy parameters of a target layer in the South Pars field, Iran. This field is one of the world's largest gas fields. We show that the orthorhombic symmetry is a reasonable assumption for this layer, providing some geological and petrophysical information. Two walkaway VSP lines along the symmetry axes of the presumed orthorhombic layer are used to estimate its parameters. Seven is the maximum number of parameters that can be estimated using P-wave data in this acquisition pattern. Of those estimated parameters are six of the Tsvankin style parameters for orthorhombic media, plus an approximate combination of two others that define vertical S-wave splitting. We show that a previous method, which is based on weak anisotropy approximation, leads to considerable errors, even in models where the magnitude of anisotropy parameters do not exceed 0.1. We design a numerical experiment to study the reliability of the estimated parameters by the exact approach and show the importance of acquisition pattern in this regard. To show applicability, these parameters are used to estimate the in situ fracture properties of the studied layer.